Introducing Poetry to Kids
We know that it is beneficial to read poetry with our children, but how can we instill a love of poetry in them from a young age? Children love to play, so the trick is to make poetry a game too. Here are some great ideas to get your child interested in poetry. They would also work really well in the elementary school classroom!
3 Poetry games for kids
Why not play some fun poetry games to get your kids interested in words?
- Sixty Seconds
Who can list the most rhymes in 60 seconds?
- Form teams and give each group some paper and a pencil.
- Choose a prompt word that has a few simple rhymes, like mat or tie for younger children, or rattle and ride for older children. Tell the teams the word and give them 60 seconds to list as many words that rhyme with the prompt word as they can.
- At the end of the round, award one point for each UNIQUE word the teams have (i.e. if both teams have the same rhymes, they don’t get a point).
- The team with the most points at the end of several rounds wins!
- Poem or prank?
Can you work out which of the titles are real poems and which are pranks?
- Make a list of strange poem titles like The Ballad of the Turkey and Today the Teacher Farted. There are some great titles you could use in our Funny Poem section. Add about the same number of strange sentences that are not poem titles, like "I have no spaghetti" and "Ode to my Dad’s stripy socks".
- Read the “titles” and have your children guess which ones are poems and which are pranks.
- Award a point for each correct guess of "Poem or Prank?" The participant with the most points wins, and gets to choose a poem from the list to read!
Who can speak only in rhyme for the longest amount of time? Kids love being silly. Play Rhyme-time when you are shopping or driving.
In this game, everyone has to speak only in rhyming couplets, which means in pairs of rhyming lines. For example:
Can you go get the milk, please?
And while you’re there, we need cream cheese.
Anyone who forgets to rhyme, or who can’t think of a rhyme, has to pay a penalty like singing a silly song or standing on one leg.
Read fun poems
There are lots of really funny children’s poets that you can read with your child to get them interested in poetry, like Shel Silverstein and A. A. Milne.
To make reading even more fun, pause at the end of rhyming lines and see if your child can guess the next rhyme. For example, look at this section of If I Were King by A. A. Milne. After the rhyming scheme is established in the first couplet, words are left out and you can get your child to guess what might be missing:
I often wish I were a King,
And then I could do anything.
If only I were King of Spain,
I'd take my hat off in the ______
If only I were King of France,
To find more fun poems and poetry ideas to get your child interested in poetry, look at our funny children's poems.