World Poetry Day: 6 Ways to Introduce Poetry to Young Children

Did you know on the 29th March it is World Poetry Day? I thought this would be great opportunity to give you some ideas to introduce and share poetry with your little ones. Poetry is often an overlooked art and yet one that children of all ages often enjoy immensly.

Unlike traditional stories, poetry seems to break the rules and even the littlest poets can create something great with a bit of help. Poetry doesn’t need to be intellectual and complicated. Some of my favourites are silly little verses or familiar nursery rhymes.

Here are 6 ways to enjoy poetry together

1) Read stories with rhyme, rhythm and repetition.

Julia Donaldson books are great for this. By regularly hearing this wordplay, children will begin to identify how words rhyme and be able to find rhyming pairs in all sorts of writing. Familiar stories such as The Three Little Pigs also allow children to join in with anticipated key phrases such as ‘little pig, little pig, let me come in’

2) Make up Alliterative Jingles.

Alliteration is the technique of putting words together that have the same initial sound such as Jumping Jessica or Excited Emily. See if you can create some for family and friends names.

Poetry4Kids

3) Explore Poetry online.

If you don’t have any poetry books at home there are loads of poems online either to read or have read to you. I’ve recently discovered the site Poetry4Kids which had masses of short funny, silly and seasonal poems to keep little ones giggling.

4) Listen on the Go.

Why not try a nursery rhyme CD for the car or download a poetry podcast for your next trip as another way to give poems a little airtime. The Poetry4Kids site above has a podcast you could try.

5) Performance Poetry.

Have a go at putting on a little poetry show. All poems are written to be said aloud. A great poem that I think is fab for performing is The Sound Collector by Roger McGough. You can listen to it here. Using musical instruments or just your hands and voice, try making sounds to match what’s described in the poem.

Click the button above to print your own template

6) Write a Shape Poem Together.

Print out my seasons’ shape poem template and just write over the images to create a simple poem. Remember, it doesn’t need to rhyme. Just collect together any words or feeling you get from each season and create a picture.

What they need to know:

As part of the Early Years Curriculum, children are encouraged to “enjoy rhythmic patterns in rhymes and stories”. By adding a little poetry to their early experiences, they’ll be ready to explore poetry further at school.

Here are 10 of my Favourite Poems

  • Dog in the playground – Allan Ahlberg
  • Rumble in the Jungle – Giles Andreae
  • Dirty Face – Shel Silverstein
  • Shhhhh – Julia Donaldson
  • Questions – Wes Magee
  • The Sea – Iain Critchton Smith
  • The Dragon Who Ate Our School – Nick Toczek
  • Jabberwocky – Lewis Carroll
  • Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf – Roald Dahl
  • Chocolate Cake – Michael Rosen

What’s your favourite poem?

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It's nearly world poetry day so here are 6 ideas to help introduce poetry to little ones. What is your favourite poem?
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