How to Write a Poem With Your Kids
You can’t go on holiday this spring or Easter. The kids are stuck indoors. And it’s your responsibility to keep them engaged and educated. Here’s an idea. How about writing a poem together? A poem about a city. It could be your local city, any city in the world, or a city from another world. How to write a poem with kids? Just read out loud the instructions in my poem at the end of this post…
How to get your kids writing poetry
I live in the place where Wordsworth wrote his poems. Well, not the actual place Wordsworth wrote his poems – I don’t live in Dove Cottage! As a Lakeland resident I follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth. Well, not actually in his footsteps – my feet aren’t THAT big!
Wordsworth was a great poet. But he wrote about simple pleasures like walks and daffodils and clouds. You don’t have to be a poet to write a great poem. And you don’t have to write about wifty wafty, poetic things, whether you are a parent or a kid.
This spring keep their heads in the clouds
Anyone can write a poem. Kids writing poetry often crack it instinctively. In the heads of people who like to make stuff up, daffodils often dance rumbas and clouds go wandering all over the shop. It’s actually pretty hard to pin a cloud down in my head. Check out this video of me dressing up as a cloud and wandering lonely on the hills looking for poetic inspiration…
How to fill time at home with the family
Right now your kids have a lot of time on their hands. And you don’t have a lot of time on yours. So why not sit down and figure out how to write a children’s poem and then help them on their own creative journey. They really can travel the whole world from their bedrooms. A pack of sparkly pens really helps. And you might want to promise them gummy bears at the end. (You may have to test some of those gummy bears while they are gone!)
As the Lonely Planet Kids Poet in Residence a while back, I wrote a lot of poems about cities. And part of my mission was to encourage children to do the same. I knew from experience that the hardest thing about poetry is getting started. So I’ve wrote my poem on getting started. And I also know that a poem is all about a good idea. So this poem is totally geared around the idea. If you are a kid just follow the steps in my poem. Don’t do what you’ve been taught at school. Forget about moody metaphors and silly similes. Don’t spend all your precious time on rhyme. Just create a place that’s unique and exciting and the words will flow and shape themselves.
If you are a parent try reading the poem below aloud to your child. And then sort out a blank sheet of paper and those nice sparkly pens…
Ready to learn how to write a kids’ poem with kids?
Just follow the instructions below..
How to write a poem about a city
Start off by imagining yourself in a space.
If you’re stuck maybe choose a familiar place.
Consider the weather, the hour of the day.
Will the colours be golden, or will they be grey?
A landmark, a grand park, a street filled with people?
Squashed in a church pew, or perched on a steeple?
Think big and think teeny, go dreamy or real.
Try figuring out how this space makes you feel.
Now run through your senses. Smell, touch, and hear.
If others are present then are they too near?
Poke one. Is it friendly? Family or stranger?
Are you feeling ok or do you sense danger?
This fantasy creation or city you know
imagine it shrinking and then make it grow.
Shoot it to Jupiter, spin it around,
could it thrive underwater or under the ground?
Turn down the volume, or set it to loud.
Make it deserted, then add a big crowd.
Flush it with colour, pump up the light
until day is ended. Now switch on the night.
Gunk it and junk it, try making it freeze.
This your city so do as you please.
Inflate it. Invade it. Bury or burn it.
If it isn’t your favourite, why not return it?
When you’ve tossed it and turned it inside out
and you know this place and what it’s about,
where it’s been, what it’s seen, well only then,
I invite you to write it. Pick up your pen…
Next steps in getting your kids writing poetry
Now you should know exactly how to write a poem with kids. And your kids should have an idea. Or loads to pick from. Or even a few to mash up. It’s pretty simple from now on. Their work is almost done. Here are three tips for next steps getting your kids writing poetry:
- Tell them to write it down. In lines. On a page.
- Share out the gummy bears. (What do you mean there’s none left?)
- Share it below in the comments if you fancy.
Well, what are you waiting for? The kids are looking for something to do! And when they’ve finished their poem, give them a copy of Harry Potter to reread for some Hogwarts philosophy about life, the world and everything.
And when winter comes get them writing a Christmas poem. Check out my Christmas elf poem as inspiration.