Did you listen to music today while showering and on your way to work? Did your favorite advertisement’s catchy jingle play on the TV today? Did you find many motivational quotes hanging on the walls of your workspace or school? Did you open a book and, on the first page, end up finding a little sonnet that the author had dedicated to a loved one?
We are surrounded by poetry. Everywhere we look, everything we listen to, from the spoken and often sung out rhymes that keep little babies engaged and entertained to the written word by Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, and other greats, we so willingly seek out and almost feverishly read during our teenage and adult years, poetry is an integral part of our life.
To better understand poetry, which unknowingly becomes an inseparable part of our hearts and shapes our world, this blog enlists several activities that can be undertaken with kindergarten children.
Interactive activities for the budding poets
Summarized below is a list of games and activities that can help engage the poetic senses of little learners.
1. Poetry Tag
For this activity, the educator will have to find a poem that is suitable for their class. It should be something that uses simple words so that it’s easily understandable and is rhythmic and catchy, like the itsy bitsy spider or the wheels on the bus.
The educator will then ask the children to take a day and learn the entire poem. The activity will begin the next day when the educator will randomly picks a student to recite the first two lines of the poem. This student, after finishing their lines, will randomly tag a student who has to pick the poem up from where the last student left. This game of tag will go on until the poem is finished.
This game will help make the process of learning a poem an exciting, collective activity and will encourage everyone to learn.
2. Poetic Alphabets
This activity can be done without any former preparation or materials. It requires the class to sit together and go around saying the alphabet like they normally would.
Instead of A for Apple and B for Ball, here the students would be required to give the name of their favorite poem or poet starting from the letter that lands on them. This could also include the game of tag where the student who just shared their favorite poem or poet randomly selected which of their classmates will go next. The names could also be picked out of a bowl, with the chance of any letter landing on any student.
This activity will help build an engagement with poetry, where the students will actively try to learn the names of poems and poets starting from different alphabets. Different students’ sharing will also help increase each student’s knowledge about the same.
3. Let’s talk about my jam.
This activity will require a speaker set that is connected to the internet. A screen that can also display the lyrics or the video of the song is preferable but not necessary.
Since songs are also essentially a form of poetry, a way to connect students with poems could be by having them share their favorite songs. Every day one student can share their beloved song with the class that can be played for everyone. After the song is finished, the student can also share why this song is special for them.
Following this, the class can go into a discussion, decrypting the various rhyming words, what they think the song meant, etc. This activity will help take poetry out of textbooks and make it more lively and exciting.
4. Make a story
For this activity, the educator will have to put in quite some time and effort either drawing or finding and printing pictures associated with various scenes in the poem. These picture cards will also have the associated verse written underneath them.
Two sets of picture cards will be made, which will then be jumbled up. The class will be divided into two teams, and their job will be to arrange the poem cards in a way that tells the intended story. The first team to correctly arrange the cards will win
This game will not only help students understand the meaning behind the poem by associating it with pictures but will also incentivize teamwork and make the process of learning a new poem interesting by introducing a competitive component to it. Furthermore, just like how sequencing books help kids with sequencing, this activity too will do the same.
5. I can’t hear you
For this activity, the educator will need to find poem books or display poems on a screen that are appropriate for their class. They will also have to prepare a bowl or chits with various emotions written on different chits like afraid, ecstatic, sad, etc.
Each student will get a chance to go and pick a chit and then read the verse of the poem while denoting the emotion they received on their chit. They will have to adapt their voice, body language, tone, and actions based on the emotion they are supposed to act out.
The rest of the class can guess and discuss both what their emotion was and what the meaning of the verse or stanza they just read was. This will help students not only increase their knowledge of interpreting poems but also enhance their understanding of the importance of reading the poem with the correct tone, voice, affect, and emotions.
6. Once upon a time
Poems often tell stories and are much more likely to be listened to, read, understood, and remembered if they are about something the individual has experienced.
So for this activity, the educator can either write a poem about an experience the class had, like going to the zoo together and meeting various animals. There are also several poem books available that discuss various common events in preschoolers’ lives. The key is to choose one that everyone can relate to.
After listening to the poem, each student will be given a sheet where they will be free to draw any picture that for them sums up the experience the poem talked about. If the poem was about the zoo, the students might draw pictures of different animals, the ones they found to be the friendliest, having food at the zoo with their classmates and friends, etc. This activity will help make the poem more relatable and will ensure that students understand and might even remember it.
7. Introduce yourself
For this activity, the educators will need to inform the students one day in advance. It could be used as homework for a poetry class where they are asked to go home and prepare an introduction for themselves using rhyming words.
The activity can also include talking about their favorite thing like books, shows, fruits, etc., but the description they give has to include simple rhyming words. The next day, each student will take a chance to come up in front of the class and present what they have prepared.
This activity will help engage the parents and siblings in the learning process. It will also ensure that students not only understand poems and rhyming but know how to use them and personally relate to them.
8. Pair me up
For this activity, the educator will have to make a bowl full of chits with various simple and small 3 and 4-letter rhyming words.
The class will then be divided into two teams, and one member from each team will come up one by one, pick a chit and place it in a pile it rhymes with. For example, the word ball will be placed in the same pile as the word doll. If the word doesn’t rhyme with any existing piles, the student would be required to start a new pile. For every correct placement, the team will get the point. At the end of all the chits, the team with the most points will win.
This game will help students in better understand rhyming, and the competition component will help make it fun for everyone.
9. Build me up
For this activity, the educator will require at least 5 block sets. At the bottom of each block, the educator will paste a line from a poem that was already discussed in class. All the sets will contain all the lines from the poem.
The class will then be divided into 5 teams with an equal number of students in each. The task of the team will be to use the blocks to build a building in such a way that the poem is in the correct order. The first team to accurately put together the poem on the blocks will win.
This game, while also combining the fun of competition with learning, will facilitate and incentivize the learning of poems.
10. Different acrostics for different days
The acrostic is a type of poem where the student writes a word or a sentence corresponding to every letter of the word. For example, an acrostic for Mom would read something like,
M= Most gracious and,
For different days of the week, different words can be selected for which the selected student for the day has to build an acrostic and write it on the board. The words could either be something new every day that helps build the vocabulary of the students or simply the name of the day itself.
The incentive of getting to write on the board and share their work with everyone will encourage students to work on their poetry skills.
Poetry is undoubtedly the song of life, an inseparable part without which the world would lack a certain grace, vibrance, and color. To better understand this important part of our lives from a young age itself, little learners in kindergarten can be engaged in several activities like poetry tag, poetry alphabets, let’s talk about my jam, make a story, I can’t hear you, once upon a time, introduce yourself, pair me up, build me up and different acrostics for different days. This will help enhance these learners’ understanding of the art that is poetry, and they will be able to better recognize and appreciate it in their daily lives. Furthermore, just like a few games enhancing fluency, these activities can also be beneficial in making the kids fluent readers.