Get Jumping! Making Playground Poetry Using Jump-Rope Rhymes
Did you know that kids have been skipping rope—or playing some type of very similar game—for hundreds of years? In the United States, skipping rope was a common way for city kids to play in the streets together from the early 1900s through the 1940s. A special version of jumping rope, called Double Dutch because it uses two jump ropes at the same time, was introduced to the children of New York City by Dutch families who had immigrated to America. Double Dutch later became a competitive sport worldwide.
Kids today still enjoy chanting or singing rhyming poems while they skip rope. Jump-rope rhymes allow you to combine the fun of poetry with the physical activity of skipping rope—a great way to stay physically fit while entertaining your brain!
Some of the jump-rope rhymes that you’ve heard on the playground or at the park are probably the same ones that your parents or grandparents used to recite when they were kids. Maybe you know this one:
When it comes to poetry recitals, it’s not unusual to feel a bit nervous; why not lighten the mood by turning the event into a game?
Whether your group are studying a particular poem, poet or topic – or whether you’ve been writing your own poems – you can bring some excitement to the event by creating a ‘lucky-dip’. A ‘lucky-dip’ is a British game, where small prizes are concealed inside a large container, and players have to reach inside and grab one without being able to see what it is. In this recital game, the prizes are the poetry!
First, decide what you will be reciting. The text will need to be printed onto slips of paper. If you have been looking at one particular poem, each slip could have one line or phrase; if you have been studying a poet, or a theme, the slips could have short extracts of relevant poems; if your group have written their own poems, each one could be printed on an individual slip… Make sure you have enough printed slips for everybody in the group to receive one!
Beginning in 1996, April has been declared National Poetry Month in the US. This tradition was started by the Academy of American Poets to celebrate poets and the wonderful things that poetry can bring to our lives.
There are plenty of ways for kids to celebrate National Poetry Month. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 TIME for Kids Poetry Contest! I had so much fun reading all the entries and selecting the winners, plus a few “honorable mentions.”
The grand-prize winning poem this year was by 9-year-old Shannon Lipp. Her poem “Cleaning My Room” was so much fun to read that I just had to select it as the best submission of the contest.
In addition to Shannon’s wonderful poem, the runner-up winners were “Devilish Angel” by 10-year-old Austin Valencia, “What Happened at the Zoo” by 10-year-old Emily Klag, and “Eating” by 12-year-old Christy Koh.
A big congratulations to all of the winners and honorable mentions, and to all of the kids who took the time to write a poem and submit it. If I could have, I would have picked a hundred winners. There were at least that many poems that were true winners in my eyes.
Exploring riddles allows you to be a detective and a spy, following clues, and writing in code. Follow this lesson plan to take your creative thinking skills to the next level using riddle poetry!
What Is A Riddle?
A riddle is a statement or a question with a hidden meaning that forms a puzzle to be solved. A “riddle rhyme” is a riddle that is written in the form of a poem. Riddles are often set out in short verse, and have been found across the world throughout history; in Old English poetry, Norse mythology, Ancient Greek literature, and the Old Testament of the Bible!
One of the most famous examples is the riddle of the Sphinx (a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human being). According to the story, if you could answer the riddle you were free to pass, but if you failed, the monster would eat you! Can you solve it?
April 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. Why? Because it’s April Fool’s Day!
April Fool’s Day is a time to get creative and play fun pranks on friends, teachers, siblings and parents. There’s also the anticipation of the prank’s success, and the thrill of wondering if someone is going to play a prank on you. The most important thing to remember about this silly holiday is to keep a good attitude. Sportsmanship is key. Make sure your pranks are not designed to hurt anyone physically or emotionally. Also, don’t get angry if someone puts a whoopee cushion on your seat. It’s funny… so laugh along.
In the following poem, kids play all kinds of April Fool’s Day pranks on their teacher… only to discover that their shenanigans land them in a not-so-funny situation!
One of the most famous American poets, Robert Frost, was born on March 26, 1874. If he were still alive today, he would be 139 years old!
Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California, but he lived much of his life in New England starting at the age of 11. His family life was very sad because his father and his mother both died when Frost was young.
He first got interested in writing poetry when he was in high school, and he published his first professional poem in a newspaper when he was 20 years old. Frost had many different jobs after high school. At different times he was a farmer, a newspaper editor, a teacher, a factory worker, and even a cobbler (someone who repairs shoes). Frost became friends with another famous poet, Ezra Pound, during a brief period of time when they both lived in England.
Words are everywhere. They are on our toothpaste tube when we rub the sand out of our eyes and brush the scum off our teeth in the wee hours of the morning. Words are on our cereal box, our t-shirt, and the signs that mark our neighborhood streets. Words are even in our heads, as we internally tag each object around us with its corresponding name.
So if words are all over the place, why is it that we can often sit down to attempt writing- a poem or a story or an essay- and we can’t find the words? Well, it’s not that the words aren’t there. It’s just that for whatever reason… maybe we had a bad day, or we’re distracted by that upcoming test, or we’re excited about a birthday party… sometimes we aren’t feeling inspired.
An epitaph is a poem that mourns someone’s death, usually intended to appear on that person’s tombstone. Although epitaphs are usually serious, it’s also possible for a rhyming epitaph to tell a funny story in a very short way. Often a funny epitaph is only four lines long.
Here’s an example of a funny epitaph poem that I wrote:
Rest in Peas
Here lies the body of Izzy Dunn-Eaton.
It’s hard to believe what he tried.
He tasted the school cafeteria food
and Izzy Dunn-Eaton done died.
This poem is funny because we know that icky cafeteria food can’t actually kill you. The story in this poem exaggerates how awful the cafeteria food tastes. Did you notice that the character’s name adds to the humor of the poem? Try reading “Izzy Dunn-Eaton” out loud to hear what it sounds like. The title makes it funnier, too, using “peas” instead of “peace.”
Sometimes a funny epitaph poem can teach a lesson about unhealthy habits. Here’s an example in which a vegetable-hating kid learns that too many sweets can be very bad for you:
March 21st is World Poetry Day, so don’t miss out on your chance to celebrate all things poetic with the rest of the planet!
In 1999, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – or UNESCO for short – decided to establish an event that would recognize the impact poetry has had on the arts and cultural life throughout human history, and so, in 2000, the first World Poetry Day took place!
It’s a time to support poets, who often work very hard with very little recognition, but is also a time to appreciate poetry from around the world.
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