Poetry for Kids

Be Silly in the Summer with Poetry Games for Kids

By: Yael Calhoun and Elizabeth Finlinson, authors of School Volunteer Handbook: A Simple Guide for K-6 Teachers and Parents

What makes children of all ages howl with laughter, explore their dreams, and jump with joy?  Why, poetry, of course.  Poetry is enriching and fun, and it easily can be a part of people’s lives.  Here are some engaging ways to enjoy poetry with kids.  It’s simple, it’sinteractive, and everyone has fun.

Materials: Poetry books with silly poems.

  • Go to the library and ask the librarian for suggestions.
  • Choose those that will make the kids laugh, books with “Laugh” or “Silly” in the titles.

The Activity

  •  Be organized.   Have the pages marked so there is no lag time.      
  • Start with  “I Was Walking in a Circle …” by Jack Pelutsky (It’s in The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury.  You can find it on-line.  It is a perfect poem with which to start.  Ask the children to let you know when the poem ends.  It’s written in a circle, so it never ends!  When they finally realize this, you will have their interest.
  • Share more poems.  Share the rest of your poems.

Keep It Going!

Three minutes of “Acting Up”. Act out “Can You Dance a Question Mark…?” by Carl Sandburg in Song and Dance by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Keep it moving!  Celebrate poetry with a beat.
Hip Hop Speaks to Children, edited by Nikki Giovanni, includes a beautifully illustrated book and CD with poems being read to a beat with a wonderful selection of artists from Mos Def to Langston Hughes.  Best of all, you can move to the poems.

A poem about me. Write a silly poem by writing the child’s first name down the left hand side of the paper.  Each letter begins something silly they like to do.  Illustrate the poems!

Memorize a silly poem.

Reciting silly poems are a great way to ease transitions in the day or to just get the day back on track.  Some easy and fun poems are:

“Click Clacker Inspector” in The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury

“Regurgitate” in Antarctic Antics by Judy Sierra (before lunch!)

“Late One Night in Kalamazoo” in Ride a Purple Pelican by Jack Pelutsky (available on-line for under $2.00)

 Adapted from the book: School Volunteer Handbook: A Simple Guide for K-6 Teachers and Parents.  Visit the website for free downloads.


About the Authors:

Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RYT, is an author and educator with over 30 years of experience. Currently, she is a cofounder and the Executive Director of GreenTREE Yoga (www.greentreeyoga.org), a 501c3 nonprofit committed to bringing the benefits of yoga to diverse populations and to those who work with these populations.   

Elizabeth Q. Finlinson, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  She has worked as a school therapist, volunteer coordinator, and as a private practitioner specializing in children and families.


1 ping

  1. Celebrating Poetry In the Classroom - Ideas & Resources | RoomMomSpot

    […] are some engaging ways to enjoy poetry with kids -simple, interactive, and fun. Check out Poetry Games for Kids from authors Yael Calhoun and Elizabeth […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>