Poetry can make kids cringe and run in the other direction.
You know it’s true.
But you can make it a lot less painful for them and even fun with a few simple tweaks to your curriculum.
Take it outside. Give them something to look forward to. Choose the right poems. Done.
Okay, not done. Let me tell you how to create a poetry experience they won’t dash away from.
An outdoor poetry tea time
Poetry Tea Time is a popular way to give your kids something to look forward to when it comes to reading poetry, but it’s summer and we want to amp up our game.
There are tons of great nature poems, both classic and written for kids. Holding a Tea Time outdoors while reading about the sights around you is a sure way to entice kids to enjoy poetry.
But it’s not just a great way to get kids reading poetry. It’s also a chance to slow down, have rambling discussions, concentrate on the rich beauty of language, and spend an hour or two just enjoying your kids.
I mean, how could you not want to score that?
With just a few simple ideas, you’ll be enjoying poetry and tea with your kids in the environment best suited to children–outdoors.Poetry Tea Time is even more fun outdoors!Click To Tweet
Set the table
This is not a Mad Tea Party. This is a more serious affair that calls for a beautiful table that will make your kids feel like grownups. Try a few of these suggestions:
- Pick an outdoor spot where your kids will be surrounded by nature
- Find a pretty cloth table cover to set the mood (even if you’re just putting it on the ground picnic-style)
- Use a real tea set to serve drinks, complete with teacups and a fancy teapot
- Make a flavored tea or other special drink that they’ll look forward to
- Set out special snacks for them to munch on
Grab my ebook, Poetry Tea Time Recipes, to get some ideas.
Pick the poetry
You want to choose poetry that your kids will really enjoy, especially if it’s your first Tea Time. And it will truly help if they are nature poems that your kids can relate to their surroundings.
Some of the classic poems about nature are easy to read and understand, but you might want to start with poetry that’s actually aimed at kids. If Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky aren’t your cup of tea (see what I did there?), Christina Rosetti, Robert Louis Stevenson, and A.A. Milne are more serious poets that write for children.
After reading some poems written for children, you can move on to Shelly, Keats, Tennyson, or Frost.
Some books I recommend:
Or grab this free printable of popular children’s poems.
Take it slow
Don’t try to hurry through this thing and drill some poetry into your kids’ heads. Read the poem. Have your kids take turns reading it. Discuss what you think it means.
Look around. Are any of the things mentioned in the poem nearby?
Discuss the language. Are there words in the poem your kids don’t know? Can they think of synonyms for some for some of the adjectives or verbs? This is a great time to sneak in a language lesson while they’re relaxed and having fun. But don’t push too hard. Make sure they’re enjoying it.
Make it fun
Because that’s the point. It’s summer, and kids don’t want to feel like they’re being taught lessons. Include some of the following to keep it light:
- Play dress up. Let them don their fanciest clothes or costumes to wear to the tea.
- Add in some silly. Yeah, I’m talking about Prelutsky and Silverstein.
- Tell riddles. Many riddles are set to rhymes, and your kids might be stunned to realize that’s poetry.
- Allow them to roam. Read a poem then see who can find objects from it in their surroundings.
- Have a theme. Table decorations, costumes, and snacks can all be part of the theme. If you want to be very cool, pick a children’s book for the theme, like Harry Potter, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or The Hobbit.
Poetry doesn’t have to be scary and it doesn’t have to cause your kids to groan. Make it kind of a big deal, throw in some fun, and watch them actually get excited about it.
Which totally rocks.