If you want to develop your child’s appreciation of poetry, there are a lot of great places to start.

First of all, you may want to think about a few factors, such as:

  • The kind of poems the child has shown interest in;
  • Whether any specific poets or poems are in your child’s English curriculum at school, such as Kenn Nesbitt;
  • Whether your child enjoys poems about particular topics; or
  • Whether your child would like to read short or funny poems, acrostic poems, or rhyming poems.

Once you have a good idea of the kinds of poems that would best interest your child and help develop their understanding of poetry, both written and spoken, then you can find a selection of easy to read poems that will entertain them for hours.

Note that even branching out to other areas associated with poetry, just like nursery rhymes, can also be a great starting point when thinking about the kind of works that your child will enjoy on their literary journey.

Below is a selection of poems based on what your child may like to read, including short poems, funny poems, and famous poems that your child may have already read in school.

A yellow cube that stands out among a number of dark blue cubes in the background. Selecting the right poems for children can be tough
Choosing poems for children to read can be difficult. (Image: CC0 1.0, qimono, Pixabay)

Funny Poems For Kids

Kids love funny poems, and why not! Children love humour (who doesn’t) so funny poems are a great way to get a child excited about reading poetry and can be extra satisfying to read aloud.

Although there are plenty of compilation books out there that you can buy online or rent from your local library, there are more than just compilation books out there. For example, there are also collections of funny poems and plenty of individual poems that will provide your child with a good laugh and giggle.

Even if your child has shown a preference for a haiku or two, nursery rhymes, or rhyming words, there are lots of poems available to inspire them.

For instance, there is the poem I’ve Got Your Nose by Shel Silverstein. Shel Silverstein was a hugely successful American author who was well-known, among many other things, for his poems and prose for young readers.

Other funny poems include works such as:

  • The Dentist and the Crocodile by Roald Dahl;
  • Mitchell’s Underwear by Dennis Lee; and
  • Daddy Fell Into the Pond by Alfred Noyes.

Funny poems are always a great way to engage a young audience, and your child is sure to be enthralled and animated by at least one of the above poems.

Short Poems For Kids

Short poems can also be a wonderful way to introduce your child to the world of poetry or to deepen their appreciation of it.

This is because short poems are, by their very nature, quite quick to read. This means that children don’t have to commit much time to read such poems, which is perfect for kids that don’t have very long attention spans or haven’t shown much interest in reading. Their short length also means they are easy to recite.

With that in mind, some good short poems to introduce your children to include:

  • How to Paint a Donkey by Naomi Shihab Nye;
  • Valentine by Donald Hall;
  • Happy Thought by Robert Louis Stevenson; and
  • The Violet by Jane Taylor

If your child is particularly excited by short poems and poetry books and is at the stage where they’re able to practice their writing skills, then it can be a great idea to ask your child to re-write these short poems or try to come up with their own.

Learning to write is a crucial skill, and poetry writing can be a fun way to teach your child the importance and role of rhythm in words, as well as grammatical concepts such as syllables and verse.

If you need any help coming up with writing exercises or want your child to start writing poetry then you can also turn to an English tutor for some great tips on how to develop your children’s English language skills. There are many tutors out there that have experience in teaching English to young children who can provide personalised help.

A post-it note with a smiley face against a grey background. Happy Thought is one poem you could read to your children.
Happy Thought is a famous poem for children by Robert Louis Stevenson. (Image: CC BY-SA 2.0, EricaJoy, Flickr)

Other Famous Poems For Kids

Aside from funny or short poems, there are also a select number of poems that are famous in their own right and have inspired children and adults alike for a number of years, if not decades.

Below are just a few famous poems that your child may enjoy.

Macavity, the Mystery Cat, by T.S. Eliot

This poem, as the title suggests, is about Macavity the cat – a master criminal who consistently evades capture. This poem is just one of many that can be found within Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, although this poem has risen to be one of the most famous of the book’s poems and seems to have been written with younger readers in mind.

A picture of a kitten outside. Macavity, the Mystery Cat is a famous poem for children by T.S. Eliot
Macavity, the Mystery Cat is a very famous poem for kids. (Image: CC0 1.0, drazewski, Pixabay)

Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll

Known as one of the most famous nonsense poems ever written in English, Jabberwocky describes the killing of the Jabberwock. Although the poem itself features within Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the poem has risen to its own level of prominence and fame and is known as a great poem for kids.

This poem would be great to introduce to any child that has read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, or any child that would appreciate a good nonsense poem.

The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear

Another nonsense poem that has enchanted children for generations, the poem was written during the 1870s and was actually written with young children in mind.

Featuring a cat, owl, pig, and turkey, the famous first line describes how the owl and pussycat go to sea “in a beautiful pea green boat.”

Now We Are Six, by A.A. Milne

A great poem to read to children that discusses the difficulty of growing up, perhaps with an underlying desire to not age, this short and sweet poem is another classic from A.A. Milne of Winnie-the-Pooh fame.

Find The Best Poems For Your Child

Of course, while your child may have already read some of the above poems, or is scheduled to learn them at school over the next few years, there are so many poems out there, it’s just a case of experimenting to see which poetry styles your child enjoys and making sure they get exposure to such works as much as possible.

Kids poetry is a large field and captures a wide range of works and writing styles, from limericks to haikus, sonnets and beyond. What's more, poetry taps into emotions as wide as happiness and love to grief and loss, so poems for kids can be a powerful learning tool while also stirring up a number of feelings in children.

This means that your child's poetry journey can be as long or short as your child and yourself would like. If your child has a particular love of poetry, then the good news is that there are so many poets and poet laureates to keep them entertained for years to come.

It can also be very helpful to have children write poems in their favourite style, whether that means the poem uses a lot of alliteration or takes the form of a limerick. Writing is a great way of developing core English skills and writing poems can really help to engage a child’s creative side.

If you do find yourself struggling to teach your child more about poetry, you could try singing the poems as songs or if you would like some extra tips on which new poems would be good to read, then you could always turn to a tutor for some additional help.

An English tutor can help identify which works of poetry are likely to engage your child and they can also set them tasks to help develop their writing skills. Naturally, English tutors do not just specialise in poetry, so they can also help your child with any aspects of the wider English curriculum as well, including things such as:

  • Sentence structure and tenses;
  • The definitions of terms such as pronouns, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs; and
  • Wider reading, whether that’s works of fiction or non-fiction.

If you’d like to find an English tutor for your child, then you can use sites such as Superprof to find an English tutor close to you. Equally, if you’d prefer for poetry lessons to be conducted online, then there are a number of tutors that are also happy to provide tuition remotely. This means that you have the flexibility to decide whether one to one or remote learning would be the best way for your child to learn.

So take a look today and see whether tutoring could work for you!

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