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Celebrate National Poetry Month At-Home With Playful Activities

You’re a Poet, Don’t You Know It!

National Poetry Month At Home Play Tips

Staying safe at home is a perfect setting for celebrating April as National Poetry Month!

Reading and writing poetry can promote children’s social-emotional development, and listening to rhymes can contribute to their literacy skills! Poetry is also a way to unify people, and helpful in defining and expressing your feelings and identity.

Here are some ways you can bring poetry into your life this month:

1. Compose Together! One Word at a Time Have you ever played with refrigerator magnet words? Even if you don’t have them at home, this site lets you create as many refrigerator magnet poems as you want! Reading and writing poetry is a great tool for young learners, and helps them become strong readers! Free from the stricter rules of prose writing, poetry allows children to utilize their imaginations and creatively express their emotions. Share your creations with us!

2. Find Your Inspiration! Take a Closer Look at the Poets: Behind the Words. Many poets used their art as a way to address things that were important to them. How would you like to try it? Hear about some of our favorite poets and their styles, then try your hand at composing a poem of your own! We hope you will then share your creation with us!

Highlighted poets:

· Emily Dickinson

· Edgar Allan Poe

· Walt Whitman

· Robert Frost

3. Join a Port Discovery Friend for a Fun Poetry Reading Watch an old friend reading their favorite poem! Activity suggestion: make your own puppet out of an old sock, paper bag, or other materials you have around your home. Then record your puppet reading your favorite poem (or even better, one that you composed yourself) and share it with us!  (Hatter) reading Lewis Carroll’s, The Walrus and the Carpenter poem (public domain) — (point person and performer: Derek)

4. Read Together! Child-friendly Poetry Books There are many poetry books out there that you can read with your child, and we have compiled a list of some to help get you started!

Activity ideas:

  • After reading a poem, draw a picture of how it made you feel
  • Choose a poem you really like and read it to the rhythm of a slow hand clap

List of books:

  • A Child’s Calendar – John Updike
  • A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing, and Shout—Paul B. Janeczko
  • A Light in the Attic - Shel Silverstein
  • Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics—Margarita Engle (biographical poems)
  • Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night – Rick Allen
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems—J. Patrick Lewis (for 6-9 years old)
  • Every Thing On It - Shel Silverstein
  • Falling Up - Shel Silverstein
  • Father Goose: His Book – L. Frank Baum 
  • Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems—Paul B. Janeczko (for 5-9 years old)
  • Haiku Baby—Betsy E. Snyder (for birth to age 2)
  • Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat—Nikki Giovanni (this book is in the museum’s collection; book includes a CD of the poems being performed by celebrities)
  • I Think, I Feel, I Am: A Book of Children’s Poems—Elaine Blum
  • If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries—Judith Viorst (author of “Alexander & The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”)
  • Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems—Francisco X. Alarcon (award winning poet. This was his first book and it won several awards. Bilingual; for 6-12)
  • Little Poems for Tiny Ears—Lin Oliver (for birth to age 3)
  • My Village: Rhymes from Around the World—collected by Danielle Wright (English translation, poem in original language and country of origin)
  • Now We Are Six – A. A. Milne
  • Poetry for Kids: William Shakespeare—edited by Dr. Marguerite Tassi (illustrated book with Shakespeare’s verses, sonnets, and speeches)
  • Poetry for Young People: African American Poetry—edited by Arnold Rampersad & Marcellus Blount (collection of poems from Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Baldwin, Lucille Clifton, etc. For kids 8 and up)
  • Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors – Joyce Sidman
  • Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems – Joyce Sidman
  • The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury—selected by Jack Prelutsky (211 poems from 137 poets of the 1900’s)
  • The Neighborhood Mother Goose—Nina Crews (this book is in the museum’s collection, Mother Goose rhymes combined with photos of city neighborhoods—modern format)
  • The Swing—Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Julie Morstad (for 1-3 years old)This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World—selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • When We Were Very Young – A. A. Milne
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein



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