Getting kids stoked about poetry can be hard. The language is often elusive, the meanings not immediately clear–the whole enterprise is enough to cause groans and eyerolls heard ’round the world.
What’s a homeschooling mama to do?
Read poetry during the summer with poetry walks. Get them outside and active and relate the poems to what they’re doing. Create an atmosphere of fun around the reading of poetry.
And maybe, just maybe, the groans will turn into gasps of excitement.
Classic Poetry Walks
Grown-up poetry walks often consist of walking for a while and then reading or writing a line or two of poetry. Think the Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge. Which may well be the one thing that could get me to visit New York.
Attendees walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset after reading poems about New York by Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes, and others, then close at the other end with Whitman’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. That’s pretty cool.
At Drexel University, Harriet Levin takes her poetry student on a 20-minute walk from campus to a park and has them stop at the end of each block to write a line of poetry.
You can certainly read poetry together and then take a walk, or take your journals and get inspired to write as you walk, but you want your kids completely engaged in this thing, so I have a better idea.
Create an outdoor poetry walk for kids
There’s nothing my boys love better than a scavenger hunt. This isn’t that, but it’s close. You have to do some prep for this kind of poetry walk, but I’ve got a free printable that’s going to help you out.
Creating an outdoor poetry walk for kids is pretty easy. The key here is to find a place to walk that showcases some of the things mentioned in the poem. If the poem includes a pond, try to include a pond in your walk. If it’s about a forest, visit a forestry or a local park with woods. That way, your kids are seeing, smelling, and touching the things they’re reading about. Involving all of their senses in the process will engage them even more.
What you need:
- Printouts of the poem(s) you want to include on your walk–one line per half page
- Laminator (optional)
- Clothespins to hang the poetry cards with (optional)
- A path to walk
What you do:
- Print out Lit Mama’s Poetry Walk Poems
- Laminate each sheet if you want (it will protect them from weather. If you don’t have a laminator, you could also use self-sealing laminating pouches)
- Cut out each card so each line of the poem is on a different page
- Place the cards along the path in order; use clothespins to hang them from branches if you’d like
- As you walk with your children on the Poetry Path, have them find the cards
- Let your children take turns reading the lines
- When you get to the last line of the poem, read the entire poem aloud
- Discuss the poem–what did you see, smell, or feel that came straight from the poem? What is the poem about? What feelings do the poem evoke?
- Consider adding a drawing taken from the poem to your nature journal or letting your kids write their own poem about the outdoors (if you’re wondering what kinds of poetry to encourage, choose from one of these.)
Seriously, if you’re looking to get your kids interested in poetry this summer, and outdoor poetry walk is the most painless way to do it. You could even include a picnic to make it even more fun.
Grab the free printableThese Poetry Walk Poem Cards will get your kids excited about poetryClick To Tweet
If you’re struggling with poetry interpretation, read How to Read Poetry with Your Kids before you go (and practice).
Poetry rocks, and you want your kids to know that. So get outside and have fun.
Looking for more homeschool tips? Check out the 10 Days of Tips for Homeschool Moms series and get great advice from me and 20 other bloggers!
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