Famous Children Poems

Famous Children Poems

Poems for Children by Famous Poets

Poetry offers up a wealth of benefits for children. It fosters a love for language, thereby building literacy. It helps children understand themselves and others, allowing them to cultivate valuable qualities like compassion and empathy. It is also a healthy way for children to express their emotions and deal with emotionally challenging situations. Fortunately, there are many famous poems for children. Poets like A. A. Milne and William Blake wrote many poems for children that can inspire them to find their voice and representation through poetry, even from an early age.

49 Poems for Kids

  1. 1. Sick

    When children don’t want to do something, they come up with every excuse they can think of to get out of it. There are many kinds of sicknesses children try to convince their parents they have been afflicted with in order to get out of going to school. The character in this poem seems to have come down with every possible illness, but what happens when she realizes it’s not a school day? Shel Silverstein crafts a poem that will resonate with children and adults alike.

    “I cannot go to school today,"
    Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
    “I have the measles and the mumps,
    A gash, a rash and purple bumps.

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    I routinely skipped school for some reasons that even I couldn't understand at the time. In a thorough medical checkup after 10th grade, my parents realized that I couldn't see well. I...

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  3. 2. Life Doesn't Frighten Me

    Maya Angelou, an inspirational American poet, crafted a poem from a child’s perspective about all the frightening things in her world. Although this poem showcases many things that frighten a child, the greater theme in this poem is that no matter the obstacles we face in life, we can overcome them. The repetition of “life doesn’t frighten me at all” reinforces that theme.

    Shadows on the wall
    Noises down the hall
    Life doesn't frighten me at all

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    I think this is a really good poem because it teaches kids not to give up and hide in the shadows and actually express themselves.

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  5. 3. Underface

    Children, teenagers, and adults as well, can all identify with the message of this poem for children from Shel Silverstein published in his book, "Every Thing On It." Sometimes we all feel like no one really truly knows us, as if we are wearing a mask and our true self is hidden from all underneath our face.

    Underneath my outside face
    There's a face that none can see.
    A little less smiley,
    A little less sure,

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    Underface By Shel Silverstein

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    What a perfect poem! At times we could basically tell how people were feeling despite their facial expressions. It was in their eyes the tell- tale signs that led us to see at least the...

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  6. 4. Being Brave At Night

    During the day children are busy and don't have time to waste worrying about silly monsters, but children lying in bed at night waiting to fall asleep have lots of time to worry about invading giants, ghosts or elephants. To a child's mind, sticking close to an all powerful parent is actually a really sensible survival strategy.
    Being Brave At Night is published in the book Rhymes Of Childhood (1924), a collection of poems by Edgar A. Guest about home, childhood and family.

    The other night 'bout two o'clock, or maybe it was three,
    An elephant with shining tusks came chasing after me.
    His trunk was wavin' in the air an' spoutin' jets of steam
    An' he was out to eat me up, but still I didn't scream

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    This is truly a great poem describing the vivid imagination of children, and it does seem that children have an even deeper imagination when it comes to bedtime! I think this is a great poem...

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  7. 5. Listen To The MUSTN'TS

    Although Shel Silverstein (1930-1999) wrote poetry for young children, adults can glean many lessons from his pieces. This poem is filled with lessons on dreaming and persevering. Don’t allow others to get you down, because in the end, anything is possible.

    Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child,
    Listen to the DON'TS
    Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
    The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT'S

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    I love this poem because I have been writing love letters to my two teenagers and eight year old for fifteen years reminding them of what they shouldn't.

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  8. 6. Story Telling

    Children love to be told bedtime stories. The more the storyteller acts out, the more captivating the tale. This is an enjoyable poem about a father telling his children stories before bed. While the mother doesn’t fully understand why he makes such a scene, the children can’t get enough of their father’s made-up stories.

    Most every night when they're in bed,
    And both their little prayers have said,
    They shout for me to come upstairs
    And tell them tales of gypsies bold,

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    Grandpa sat with cigar at his side (rarely in his mouth), his bushy gray eyebrows and mustache crouched in intense concentration, a chess piece or book in hand in most of my memories. But...

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  9. 7. The Good Little Boy

    In this charming poem by Edgar Guest (1881-1959), the speaker shares about a young boy who never did anything wrong. Edgar Guest had a way of writing uplifting poems, and he wrote prolifically, publishing one poem a day for 30 years. The dialect in this poem contributes to its laid-back nature.

    Once there was a boy who never
    Tore his clothes, or hardly ever,
    Never made his sister mad,
    Never whipped fer bein' bad,

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  10. 8. The Oak And The Rose

    An oak tree and a rosebush grew,
    Young and green together,
    Talking the talk of growing things-
    Wind and water and weather.

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  11. 9. Snowball

    Shel Silverstein's (1930-1999) comedic genius is demonstrated in this short, funny poem that is sure to bring a smile to children of all ages and adults as well.

    Bonus pleasure points: If you're sharing this poem with a child be sure to catch the look on their face as they figure out why snowballs don't make good pets!

    I made myself a snowball
    As perfect as could be.
    I thought I'd keep it as a pet
    And let it sleep with me.

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    I love the humor, innocence and whimsy of this poem. But there's more here than meets the eye. If you look a bit deeper, you can see how we sometimes don't properly interpret our experiences,...

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  12. 10. Homework Stew

    Making homework stew is not quite what the teacher had in mind. This funny children’s poem shows what can happen when we mishear something. Famous poet Kenn Nesbitt writes humorous poetry for children, and he served as the Children’s Poet Laureate from 2013-2015.

    I cooked my math book in a broth
    and stirred it to a steaming froth.
    I threw in papers—pencils, too—
    to make a pot of homework stew.

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  13. 11. Teddy Bear

    "Teddy Bear" was first published in When We Were Very Young, a book of poetry by A. A. Milne.
    The teddy bear in this poem would later become the famous Winnie-the-Pooh from A. A. Milne's famous book series.

    A bear, however hard he tries,
    Grows tubby without exercise.
    Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
    Which is not to be wondered at;

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    When I was 3 or 4, I recited this poem to the Bayridge Business and Professional Women's bridge club. My aunt and godmother, Margaret Desmond, was hosting them at my grandparents' house in...

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  14. 12. Puppy And I

    Looking for the perfect friend always ready to play? A puppy is the perfect playmate always ready to have fun!
    This poem by A.A. Milne, author of Winnie-the-Pooh, praises the qualities of the playful puppy.

    I met a Man as I went walking:
    We got talking,
    Man and I.
    "Where are you going to, Man?" I said

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  15. 13. Now We Are Six

    A.A. Milne was an English author who lived from 1882-1956. He is best known for his stories about Winnie the Pooh, which were inspired by his son, Christopher Robin Milne's, stuffed animals. In this poem, a young child recounts the previous five years and how life was just beginning. But six, oh, six is the best year.

    When I was One,
    I had just begun.
    When I was Two,
    I was nearly new.

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    I was entered into a competition where I had to say a short poem so picked this and kept reading it until I knew it by heart. The day came, I recited it without stumbling, when I had finished...

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  16. 14. The Fisherman

    Abbie Farwell Brown was an American author who lived from 1871-1927. She lived in the same house her entire life, experiencing many traditions in her New England community. Brown describes the life of a fisherman in this poem, showing how one's profession becomes such a large part of a person's life. The Rhyme Scheme is ABCB.

    The fisherman goes out at dawn
    When every one's abed,
    And from the bottom of the sea
    Draws up his daily bread.

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    The way the poet described the life of a fisherman, his continuous effort and sacrifice to stand independent, and the powerful simile used, makes the poem a classic one.

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  17. 15. The Mountain And The Squirrel

    Ralph Waldo Emerson was a licensed minister who resigned from the clergy when his first wife passed away a couple years into their marriage. In this poem, a squirrel and a mountain have a quarrel because the mountain feels as though it is more important. Each person has his or her own individual talents, and everyone/everything has its purpose in this world, none greater or less than another.

    The mountain and the squirrel
    Had a quarrel,
    And the former called the latter
    "Little prig."

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    I read this poem in 1965 when I carried a paperback book of poems in my backpack when an infantry soldier in Vietnam. We, the infantry group in which I served, were such a collection of...

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  18. 16. Wind On The Hill

    The wind is a unique phenomenon. While we are unable to see it, we can see the result of it blowing. “Wind on the Hill” shows a child grappling with this understanding. A.A. Milne wrote books and poems for children. His most famous creation was Winnie the Pooh.

    No one can tell me,
    Nobody knows,
    Where the wind comes from,
    Where the wind goes.

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    What a great poem! Life's a mystery and where the wind goes as indicated "Who knows?" And what changes are in store for our lives? Change comes to us from all directions in our lives like the...

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  19. 17. Vespers

    "Vespers" was the first poem published by Alan Alexander Milne. Christopher Robin Milne, A.A. Milne’s son, was the inspiration for this poem, and it showcases him saying his prayers before going to bed.

    Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
    Droops on the little hands little gold head.
    Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares!
    Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.

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    I am a 68-year-old great grandmother. As I was reciting this favorite bedtime poem to my 14th grandchild, Jeremiah, I thought to google it for fun. My mom used to recite this and several...

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  20. 18. Sneezles

    This humorous poem by A.A. Milne shows parents taking care of a child with a cold, but they are worrying about the symptoms turning into something worse. Christopher Robin, mentioned in this poem, was A.A. Milne’s son. Milne was the creator of Winnie the Pooh.

    Christopher Robin
    Had wheezles
    And sneezles,
    They bundled him

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    I am an 80-year-old woman who has just moved into a seniors' residence. Shortly after I arrived, COVID-19 did too! For over a month now, we have been kept in isolation from the rest of the...

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  21. 19. I Can't Wait For Summer

    Children eagerly anticipate summer vacation. There are so many fun things to fill their time during those months. Waiting for summer can be difficult, especially when the school year has just begun. Poems written by former Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt have been used in hundreds of school textbooks around the world.

    I can’t wait for summer, when school days are done,
    to spend the days playing outside in the sun.
    I won’t have to study. No homework, no tests.
    Just afternoons spent on adventures and quests.

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  22. 20. Dirty Face

    Shel Silverstein, who died in 1999, was a singer, song writer, poet and author of many children's books. "Dirty Face" is a fun poem to read for both children and adults. Silverstein reminisces fondly about the carefree childhood existence.

    Where did you get such a dirty face,
    My darling dirty-faced child?
    I got it from crawling along in the dirt
    And biting two buttons off Jeremy's shirt.

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    So cute!! Like the spaghetti, chocolate, ice-cream. It's the kids that get the dirtiest, that have the most fun. It's a lifetime of adventure and silliness that they will remember forever....

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