Learning about Poetry for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! Poetry is a piece of writing that describes someone’s feelings or ideas with words in a creative way. Poetry can be written in many ways with made-up imagery, rhyming, formatting, and metaphors, just to name a few! The following activities will play with using different formats to write poetry.  

Three Poetry Activities

Activity 1: Acrostic

An acrostic uses the letters from a single word to create a poem that describes the word. Let’s do an example together. Let’s start with ‘flower’

First, start by writing down ‘flower’ vertically. Take a look at my example below:

An acrostic of flower as an example of poetry

Next, write about a flower next to each letter in ‘flower. Use the first letter to start each sentence. For example, I use the letter ‘F’ to write the word ‘free’. Now go ahead and give it a try! Just remember that you will have different ideas about what to write, so have fun and be creative!

an acrostic of flower and each letter has a words written next to it.

Take some time to play around with an acrostic style to see what kind of poem you come up with!

Activity 2: Paper Bag Poetry

For our next activity, we will do Paper Bag Poetry!

Sometimes, coming up with words is hard. With the Paper Bag Poetry activity, we will use descriptive words to write our poem based on what we feel in the bag.  

Here are the steps:

First, have an adult fill a paper bag with sensory items. Make sure the paper bag has 4-6 items of varying textures. Then, close your eyes and reach into the bag.  For an example, here are some items gathered for the Paper Bag activity that have different textures.

Next, have an adult hold the bag and ask you questions about what you feel inside the bag. This part is really important because what you say will become your poem! Here is what I wrote for the example bag:

The Paper Bag Poetry activity is a great introduction to writing poetry in an easy way. Give this activity a try to discover a new fun way to express yourself!

Activity 3: Haiku

Traditionally, a haiku started as a Japanese poetic format written in three lines, starting with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third line. Even though the haiku expresses many different ideas today, it began with a focus on nature. Our haiku example below focuses on music.

But Wait! What is a syllable? Well friend, I am glad you asked:

A syllable is an unbroken vowel sound within a word. For example, music gets broken up in the haiku. This happens because the ‘u’ can be heard first with the ‘oo’ sound to start with m-‘oo’, looks like a cow got in here, and ends on the ‘i’ sound in ‘sic’.

Now that we have some knowledge about the haiku and syllables, let’s check out this haiku about music and then give it a try on your own!

A haiku about music as an example of poetry

Seeing that the syllables are not visible, let’s break down this haiku so we can better understand where they land. We’re going to do a little math, but we got this!:

We separated ‘music’ to see that it breaks into two syllables, like we saw in the definition. In this case, we hear two vowel sounds with ‘MU’ and ‘SIC.’ Then, we count the single syllables the rest of the words present in each line.

Now try to write your own haiku and make sure to follow the 5-7-5 rule for syllables!

Try some of these activities to help you start your first poem! Do you have any other cool activities to share? Share your poems or ideas with us @ican.radio on Instagram. While you’re here, do you want to learn more about poetry? Take a look at this blog about learning how to write a poem.