Writing poetry with kids is a delightful exercise. Use these poetry writing prompts for kids and poetry starters to inspire young poets.
Why Kids Should Write Poetry
In our fast-paced world, many kids–and even their parents and teachers–may think poetry is a relic of a simpler time. They relegate it to an era that didn’t include Tik Tok, SnapChat, or Twitter (though perhaps some may consider the tweet itself a form of modern poetry).
In doing so, however, they miss out on a whole world of beauty and insight that we’re able to glimpse through poetry. No matter the form, style, age, or tone of the poetry we read, it has the ability to transport us to other times and places, to other ways of thinking, living, and viewing the world.
Don’t we all need a little more of that these days?
Through poetry–both the reading and writing of it–we promote literacy and expand children’s ideas about how language works. When we sit with a child and explain the use of syllables, rhymes, apostrophes, capital letters, punctuation, and word choice and order that we find in poems, it opens up new doors into language which may otherwise have remained shut.
As they read and write poems, their vocabulary expands, their reading fluency increases, their spelling improves, and they learn new ways of phrasing ideas.
Emotionally, kids experience growth through poetry when they read the experiences and insights of others and realize that they are not alone. They also learn to understand and express their own feelings in ways that feel safe to them.
And on top of all that, poetry is just plain fun. Coming up with rhyming phrases and new ways to describe everyday things can just be a real hoot, especially when you give kids some time and space to play with their ideas.
April is National Poetry Month. Why not use that as a time to introduce or expand poetry appreciation and writing activities in your home, homeschool, or classroom?
Types of Poems Kids Will Enjoy Writing
While kids enjoy reading poetry of many types (as long as it’s well-written), there are a few key forms that will be easiest for them to practice their own poetry writing skills on.
Many kids will think their poems have to rhyme, and that’s not true at all. Many wonderful poems don’t rhyme or don’t know have an easily recognizable rhyme scheme. In fact, if kids feel their poems need to rhyme to be any good, they may get overwhelmed by that challenge.
On the other hand, challenging oneself to come up with good rhymes can help a young writer overcome writer’s block as they try to make their pentameter and rhyme scheme work.
Here are some popular rhyme schemes to introduce to children:
A haiku is a three-line poem that describes something in nature. It typically has five syllables in the first and third lines and seven syllables in the middle line. However, if you like nerding out over stuff like this, check out this article to find out why the 5-7-5 rule for haikus is actually a myth.
Example of a haiku:
Acrostic poems are extremely fun for kids to write. Have them choose a title for their poem that is also the subject. For example, Bear or Christmas.
Have them write the word vertically down the margin of their page with each letter on one line.
Each line of the poem then must begin with the letter written on that line.
Example of an acrostic poem:
Writing limericks with kids can be a hilarious undertaking, but you’ll probably have to write several together before they get the hang of it. My kids and I have had hours of fun over the years coming up with limericks.
A limerick is a witty, five-line poem with an AABBA rhyme scheme. It usually has a da-DUM da-da DUM da-da DUM rhythm.
Example of a limerick:
Free verse poetry is a form that not use strict rhyme and meter. It’s perfect for younger kids because it gives them the freedom to write whatever they feel like without worrying about rhyme schemes or syllables.
Example of a free verse poem:
How to Use Poetry Writing Prompts to Help Kids Write Poetry
The poetry prompts in this post are broken up into two sections. The first section are prompts, or ideas for poem topics. There are fifty of these prompts, separated into five categories.
The following section offers fifty poetry starters, or first lines for poems. You can use these in combination with the topics, if you like.
For example, you might have kids choose a topic AND a first line and combine them.
Start by having kids pick out a poem topic that inspires them or choose one at random. Then have them pick a first line, or again, draw one at random.
For an extra fun activity, you could have kids pick three cards:
- Type of poem
- Poem topic
- First line of a poem
Then have them combine these three elements to create their new poem. If they are writing a type of poem with a specific type of opening line, you’ll want to make sure to only offer them options that match their selection of poem type.
Prompts are just that: prompts. They’re here to spark ideas, not to be an end unto themselves. If they help children come up with their own poem topics and first lines, they’ve done their job.
50 Topics to Write Poems About
Here are fifty poem topics to write about.
Poetry Prompts about Special Events
Write a poem about…
- How you met your best friend
- The day you got your pet
- A birthday party
- First day at a new school
- Last day at an old school
- A recital or other performance
- An important sporting event
- The birth of your sibling
- Your favorite Christmas memory
- A field trip to a place you love
Poetry Prompts about Everyday Things
Write a poem about…
- The sound of your alarm clock in the morning
- A mishap at the breakfast table
- Taking a wrong turn and getting lost
- Having a sneezing fit in the middle of a test
- Your favorite lunch
- Taking care of a pet or a sibling
- How you feel about homework
- A strange dream
- A game (your favorite game or a made-up one)
- A present
Nature Poetry Prompts
Write a poem about…
21. The first snowfall
22. An enchanted forest
23. A beautiful sunrise
25. A spider
26. Your favorite animal
27. A river
30. The sun, moon, stars, or planets
Write a Poem from An Unusual Perspective
Write a poem from the perspective of a…
31. A pet
32. An article of clothing
33. A chair
34. A tree
35. The earth
36. A bird
37. A basketball
38. A spoon
39. A book
40. A cell phone
Poetry Prompts about People
Write a poem about…
41. A grandparent
42. A parent
43. An aunt or uncle
44. A teacher
45. Your favorite author
46. Your favorite musician
47. A friend you miss
48. An important historical figure
49. Someone you look up to
50 Poetry Starters for Kids
For some kids, seeing a list of topics to write poems about will be enough inspiration. Others might need a bit more encouragement.
Poetry starters are a great way to get the creative juices flowing. They offer a suggested first line for a poem so kids can jump right in.
Remember, the point isn’t to stick to a rigorous set of rules, but to inspire kids to develop an interest in poetry. So, if your kids pick a prompt and then decide to go in another direction, embrace that!
Note: some of the starters contain blank spaces. This is to allow for maximum flexibility in allowing the child to make the starter truly their own. If they can’t come up with anything, feel free to make some suggestions.
Haiku Poem Starters
Write a haiku using one of these first lines…
51. Bees buzz about flowers
52. Today, my heart leaps
53. What is ______? I asked
54. Snow slips down softly
55. Silvery sweet sound
56. Jump! And again: jump!
57. Through the trees, I go
58. Listen, hear her speak
59. Larger than a whale
60. Smaller than a mouse
Limerick Poem Starters
Write a limerick using one of these first lines…
61. I woke up one morning with joy
62. It was quite a big day for me
63. It was the most embarrassing story
64. There once was a wise man who told me
65. If there’s one thing I can’t understand
66. What is that strange sound? I inquired
67. Most people forget I’m around
68. Did anyone ask what I thought?
69. The woman leaned down and said, “Here,
70. Let me tell you a story ‘bout how
Funny Poem Starters
Write a silly poem using one of these first lines…
71. What is a ____(noun) to do?
When ____(pronoun) head is stuck in a shoe?
72. Oh, it might not have been quite so bad,
If it weren’t for my ____(adjective) dad.
73. Have you ever stuck your finger
too far up your nose?
74. Consider, I implore you,
what it’s like to be me
75. When spying, one must
Tiptoe with great care
76. Whatever you’re doing, drop it right now
Listen closely, I’ll make you say, “Wow!”
77. I met a funny little man
As I walked along one day
78. It’s not my favorite thing to do
I’d rather eat broccoli or step in glue
79. What do you do when you haven’t got a clue?
Where do you go when you see a crow?
80. If I found a hundred dollars, here’s what I would do
I’d grab my _____(noun), and my _____(noun), and my _____(noun) too.
Rhyming Couplet Poetry Starters
Write a poem with A/B rhyme scheme using one of these first lines…
81. What do you see when you climb a tree?
Is there anywhere greater in the world to be?
82. Softly she sleeps, in midday sun.
Her afternoon nap, no time for fun
83. This story is strange, as soon you will see,
the weirdest thing, ever happened to me
84. In the spring, a flower grows.
One day it may become a rose.
85. As she pushed me on the tire swing,
my mother told me the most interesting thing.
86. Raise my binoculars up to my eyes,
zoom in on a figure, oh! What a surprise!
87. Whenever I sing a silly song,
whenever I daydream for too long,
88. I have this thing you have to see,
the latest, greatest technology.
89. Within the wrapping paper, brown,
the smallest gift I’ve ever found.
90. Creeping along the ground so slow,
onward, upward, off he goes.
Free Verse Poetry Starters
Go in whatever direction you want with these free verse poem starters…
91. If I could do anything, here’s what I’d do…
92. Come see what I found, look real close…
93. Three things in this world, I can’t live without…
94. When winter snow begins to fade…
96. Look at the stars and name them all…
96. I found a ____ (noun) I thought I’d lost…
97. Whisper, whisper, tell me your story…
98. I dreamed a dream the other night…
99. At night, past my window, a tall ship sailed…
100. The greatest treasure you can find…
I hope you enjoy these poetry writing prompts for kids.
If you’d like an easy way to use them in your homeschool or classroom, enter your email below to receive a set of printable cards.
And don’t forget to check out all our other writing prompts and resources.
I hope that these ideas have inspired you to write some poetry with your children or students.
Leave a comment below and let me know which poetry writing prompts for kids you enjoyed the most (or share a poem!) and don’t forget to save this post to Facebook or Pinterest so you can find it later.
Sophie Agbonkhese is a writer, veteran homeschooling mother of four, and a recovering overachiever (who occasionally relapses). She is the founder of My Cup Runs Over, a site dedicated to helping busy women simplify and enrich their lives, homes, and homeschools. When she’s not writing or debugging websites, Sophie spends her time reading with her kids, gardening, listening to audiobooks, and striving fruitlessly to have a clean house for at least five minutes. She lives in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, Ben, and their children.