April is National Poetry Month! Poetry definitely has a stigma of being difficult to understand or a “grown up” thing to study, but don’t be daunted by the idea of introducing the concepts, literacy tools, and fun of poetry to children as young as toddler and preschool age! There are so many ways to engage your child in the enjoyment and creation of poetry.
Nursery Rhymes are absolutely considered poetry! You’re probably already introducing poetry to your kids just by singing simple, rhyming songs to them. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and other familiar and well-loved nursery rhymes are great examples of poetry in their rhyming, storytelling structure.
Little talkers will absolutely love rhyming games! Have your preschooler choose a word and then take turns coming up with as many rhyming words as possible. This will also increase your child’s vocabulary when you know words that they don’t!
Poetry is all about rhyming and rhythm. Chant the lyrics to a favorite song in the rhythm and clap along. Write them down and, with your preschooler, draw dots under each syllable and count them. How many syllables are in the whole poem? Which word has the most syllables?
A simple way to define what a poem is to a preschool-age child is “Something that looks interesting on the page and sounds interesting to the ears.” Poems can be very artistic on a page, so show your preschooler simple and fun types of poetry such as haiku, acrostics, and even this color poem idea.
Make them Laugh!
If nothing else, have fun with silly rhyming poetry from Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and Jack Prelutsky. These classics will keep your children giggling and inspire interest in poetry without them even realizing it!
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