A Poem a Day Activities for Kids

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For National Poetry Month or any time of the year, read a poem a day to your kids. It doesn’t have to be poetry specifically written for kids either. It can be any level of poetry about nature, people, or animals. Anything goes!

A Poem a Day Activities for Kids

To be honest, my kids weren’t excited about the whole poem-a-day idea of mine. At first.

So I started with short poems about topics they liked and made sure the poems were ones that they would understand.

But even that was harder than I thought.

Here’s what worked to get my kids engaged in poetry. (I have one daughter who now loves writing her own poetry!)

Poem a Day Activity Ideas for Children

1. Read Poetry Books with Kids

I checked out a LOT of poetry books from my library’s poetry section to find poems my kids would enjoy. (Note: I recommend using books vs. the internet because there are fewer poems on the internet due to copyright issues.)

You can do this, too. Start with a subject or topic of interest such as animals or sports. Choose funny poems or poems whose language creates vivid images in your mind. Find your own favorites and share those, too.

It’s fun to sit with your kids and a stack of books. Have them skim or read the books and find what resonates with them.

NOTE: When you’re picking out poetry anthologies, look to be sure the poets include females. There are tons of outdated anthologies with poems written by only old white men. While they are all fine poets, there are many more amazing female poets that get neglected and shouldn’t.

See all my poetry book recommendations. Here are a few favorites:

Firefly July edited by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
GORGEOUS illustrations and compelling poems — these poems are beautiful and SHORT.

My First Book of Haiku Poems: A Picture, a Poem and a Dream by Japanese Haiku Masters, translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, illustrated by Tracy Gallup 
I love everything about this book: the stunning haikus about nature, the luminous illustrations, and the deep-thinking food-for-thought notes. Are you a fan of haiku yet? These are poems from the masters — I’m talking about Basho and Shiki and more. Run out to buy this — it’s an essential addition to your home and classroom libraries. It’s SO impressive!
Just being alive,
the poppy flower
and I.

Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright: An Animal Poem for Each Day of the Year by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
This is a hefty and impressive poetry book of kid-friendly poetry with earthy illustrations and poems for each day of the year!

A Whale of a Time: A Funny Poem for Each Day of the Year selected by Lou Peacock, illustrated by Matt Hunt
Kudos to the illustrator, Matt Hunt, for the incredible design and illustrations that make this gigantic (and very heavy) poetry book fun to look at. And congratulations to Lou Peacock, who accomplished the task of finding 365 funny poems! I didn’t read them all, but what I did read was spot on — with silly poems from so many amazing poets, including Jack Prelutky, Eloise Greenfield, Linda Sue Park, Nikki Grimes, and Jane Yolen.

2. Encourage Kids to Memorize Favorite Poems or Phrases

After you’ve read to find poems that your kids really love, copy down the entire poem on a notecard or small piece of paper.

Poetry Daily for Kids

If the poem is particularly long, copy it down with a favorite phrase. This worked MUCH better for my kids to start.

Then, try to memorize your poem or phrase line by line– out loud.

Poetry Daily for Kids

Learn specific advice and for getting kids to memorize poems.

It’s a blast to randomly talk about your frabjous day or how so much depends on a red wheelbarrow…

3. Tear Out Poems From the Poem in Your Pocket Book

We’re all enjoying the Poem In Your Pocket For Young Poets book edited by Bruno Navasky.

The poems include selections from both male and female poets, many of whom I hadn’t read before. Because the poems are rich in sensory images, they’re ripe for illustration which is a fantastic way to get kids to think deeply about the meaning of the poem.

Tear out a poem for your kids to read each day. This is HARD stuff so check out how making illustrations can unlock the meaning of the poem. See my post on unlocking poetry with art.

Poetry Daily for Kids

Get more poem in your pocket book ideas on Pragmatic Mom.

4. A Poem a Day in Action

We’re using a small bucket for our poems of the day.

Every day, I pick a poem for the kids to pull out of the bucket and read. Then, I let them keep it for the day. If they don’t like it, they return it to the bucket and get another choice.

Would this work for your family?

Try reading a poem a day for a month like we are!

April is a great time to do this because, as you know, it’s National Poetry Month.

Poetry Daily for Kids

5. Write Your Own Poems a Day

Here are three easy ways to create your own poems.

1. Found Poetry
Cut out cool words from magazines.

Pile them for children to view, sort, collect, and use.

Encourage children to use the found words and arrange and rearrange them to create a poem that makes sense.

2. List Poems
Go out in nature. Write a list of all the nouns you see. Then next to the nouns, write the action the noun is doing.

3. Riddle Poems
Use your five senses and write clues about your topic. See if your classmates or friends can guess!

6. PoeTree

Hang favorite poems on a potted plant or tree. These poems can be published by others or written by the child poet.

a poem a day daily activities for kids during Poetry Month or any month

You Might Also Like:

Poetry Books

Word Play Picture Books

3 Word Games for Kids

5 Games to Teach Poetry

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  1. so many wonderful ideas! as a new homeschooler (pandemic homeschooler?) planning morning time, I plan to implement many of your ideas. i ordered the poem a day book too. thanks so much for the inspiration!

  2. So many great ideas! I never really connect to poems as much as prose and I think it was because I didn’t read poetry as a child. My kids love the Shel Silverstein book of poems, “Where The Sidewalk Ends”.