April is National Poetry Month, and writing poems can be a fun activity for your children to participate in this spring. Anyone regardless of age can be a poet as long as they have ideas, feelings and a pen and paper or computer handy. Encourage your kids to take part in National Poetry Writing Month, also known as NaPoWriMo. Your kids can join the ranks of thousands of other people who will attempt to write a poem a day for each day of the month. Parents are welcome to join too!
30 poems might seem a lot to a kid, but children shouldn’t be discouraged by this task. A poem doesn’t have to be long and complicated. Two styles of poetry that are good poems for kids to start with are haikus and limericks. A haiku is a Japanese poem that has 3 lines: the first has 5 syllables, the second has 7 syllables, and the third has 5 syllables again. Writing 30 short 3 line poems doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Haikus also don’t have to rhyme, so that makes it a little easier. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, try writing 30 limericks. The limerick is a 5 line poem with an AABBA rhyme scheme. Limericks are popular because they are usually humorous and witty, and they have a song-like quality to them popular with children. Limericks are common in works by Roald Dahl, who has written many poems for kids, so your children might already be familiar with them.
If your children are exceptionally gifted in writing, then maybe you will want to encourage them to go beyond standardized poem types and to write whatever they feel. The great thing about poetry is that it doesn’t have the confines that regular prose does. Or if your kids need a jumpstart in inspiration, you can find plenty of free poems for kids online. There are also great collections of poems for kids that have been published, such as Joyful Noise, which is a book of poems designed to be read by multiple readers. You and your kids can take turns reading and perhaps come up with some new poem ideas collaboratively.
But remember, no pressure! Poems are about fun and expressing yourself. There’s no such thing as a “wrong” poem. NaPoWriMo isn’t about writing 30 award-winning poems you can later publish. It’s about letting go and running with your ideas and seeing what you can achieve. And it’ll be neat to look back and see what the month of April was like for you in terms of poetry. National Poetry Month is a great time for you and your kids to have fun together and to explore a new domain of creativity.