April is National Poetry Month! Teaching poetry to toddlers can be hard, especially when it’s not your favorite writing style or particularly easy to understand! Rhyming schemes, however, can provide a fun introduction to early literacy skills and can get kids up and moving if paired with movement. Keep your kids engaged with four fun ways to teach poetry at home:
1. Flower Poetry
Celebrate the season by teaching poetry with flowers! Simply draw an outline of different types of flowers with enough room on each petal for children to write words and an original poem in the center. Give different instructions for each flower and let kids’ creativity do the rest!
Ideas for flower petals:
- alliteration (“soft as blankets” or “sweet as candy”)
- spring simile (“dancing daffodil” or “buzzing bees”)
- adjectives (“fragrant flowers” or “beautiful blossoms”)
The results will leave you with inspiring flowers to hang on your walls at home!
Extra: Read Grandpa’s Garden for an adorable story to go along with your poetry activity!
2. Seasonal Poetry
Kids already love to write poetry, even if they don’t know it yet! The best way to get them more involved is by including artwork as part of their poetry project. This allows a visual representation of language exploration. Spring is one of the most inspiring seasons as it offers bright colors, lovely weather, and the appearance of all types of flowers and animals. Sit your children down and brainstorm a list of words they associate with spring. Place the list somewhere visible in the room so children can refer to it as they write. Here are three poetry forms that are easy to teach and fun to personalize:
Sunny weather to play in
Purple flowers galore
Raindrops watering the flowers
I get to play outside
Nests of baby birds
Gardens feed my tummy
Ode (A poem to honor someone or something):
We have missed you.
The rainbow of colors
you sprout from the ground.
The sprinkle of showers
giving us puddles for splashing.
Planting our gardens,
we can’t wait for vegetables to come!”
Haiku (five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables):
Growing up for us to see
For even more inspiration for sounds of the seasons to incorporate in children’s poetry, check out the board book Listen, Listen.
3. Color Poetry
Do you have the Dr. Seuss book My Many Colored Days? It is a great book for inspiring color poetry! The master of rhymes, Dr. Seuss, already sets the stage for falling in love with poetry with words like:
“Oh bright red days,
how good it feels
to be a horse
and kick my heels!”
Start by asking your child about things that are color specific before they start writing. Use questions like:
- What is Orange?
- What does Red remind you of?
- How do you feel when you see yellow?
Then list each color with the following format:
Children can then complete each sentence with a phrase they associate with the color. The result will be quite the colorful poem!
4. Reading Poetry to Promote Early Literacy
Just by listening as you read different poems, children develop word recognition. This is a fun way for children to appreciate poetry as a storytelling form and learn the sounds of letters as they listen to rhymes and word play. It will also provide plenty of examples should they venture into writing their own!
Here are a few places you can find free poetry to read to your toddlers:
If you’re looking for poetry books to buy that also provide beautiful illustrations to accompany each poem, then you may want to check out the following titles:
How do you teach poetry at home? Share with us by commenting below!