Prep: 15 Minutes / Activity Time: 10-15 Minutes

Listening to and creating poems is a natural way for children to play with words and enjoy language. In this activity, your child will take a familiar poem and add illustrations to it. The artwork might even become part of a poetry book created by your child.

  • copy paper
  • pen or pencil
  • crayons or markers
  • folder or binder (optional)

Before beginning this activity, you might check out the book Gathering the Sun from the library. In this book, simple poems in English and Spanish, one for each letter of the Spanish alphabet, describe the wonders of fruits and vegetables and farm life. It’s a great introduction to the world of poetry.

Step 1: Write several poems in large type onto copy paper, leaving room for illustrations. You can use familiar poems like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or make up your own poems. If you make up your own poems, be sure to include your child in the writing. Ask your child what she would like the poem to be about. For example:

My little dog Kate has lots of spots,
She loves to run all day.
She chases the ball again and again,
We always love to play.

Step 2: After you have read the poems to your child several times, ask your child to select her favorite poem. Then ask her to illustrate it.

Step 3: If your child is comfortable, see if she will read the poem to another family member or friend.

Step 4: You might consider placing the illustrated poems in a folder or notebook so that your child can reread them from time to time.

To make it easier, provide your child with extra support. For example, if your child is illustrating the poem Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, you might say:

What would you like to draw on your paper about the poem, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star? Where do you want to draw them? What color are you planning to use?

Ask your child to think of her own poem. Write it down as she recites it to you. Let her illustrate.