Children love playing with language. Reading or chanting poetry together is a way to reinforce concepts such as rhyme and rhythm while spending quality time together. Take advantage of the remaining days of national poetry month by doing some or all of these activities
1. Visit the library and check out some children’s poetry books. Skim the titles in the poetry section of the children’s department for new titles, but also try to find a poem you enjoyed as a child. Ask your child to pick out a few books and you do the same.
2. Play a rhyming game. Say a one-syllable word like “trail” and take turns listing words that rhyme with the stated word
3. Pop some popcorn and enjoy popcorn and poetry. Make it a family affair and encourage all the readers in the home to read at least one poem (from one of those books you checked out above). My sister, who teaches elementary school has made “Popcorn and Poetry” an annual tradition at her school and the kids enjoy it. (They’re fascinated by watching her hot air popper as well since most of them never knew you could make popcorn anywhere besides the microwave.)
4. Put a poem in your child’s pocket. Concrete poems (shape poems) are good for this because even though your preschooler may not be able to read, she’ll be able to extract some of the meaning from the shape.
5. Write a limerick about your child/children (one for each). Use the poem as a way to highlight one of the child’s special talents or a memorable event from the past. Your child will feel special being the subject of a poem. Review limericks by Edward Lear if you’ve forgotten how the rhyme and meter of this form goes.
6. Teach your child a new nursery rhyme or finger play. Use something with words and actions, if possible, and turn it into a game. I’ve recently learned this finger play, which both of my boys think is a lot of fun:
(Hold up a fist)
Here is a beehive
Where are the bees?
Hidden away where nobody sees
Watch as they come out of the hive
(Put up one finger at a time as you count)
One, two, three, four, five
(Buzz fingers all around)
Oh no, they’re alive!
How do you or would you like to enjoy poetry with your kids?
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