Poetry Challenge for Kids

When I shared my list of culturally diverse poetry books earlier this week I issued a casual challenge for National Poetry Month (April). Today I’m issuing a more formal poetry challenge for kids to encourage you to share the joy of reading poems as a family.

Join the weekly poetry challenge for kids and parents. Perfect way to participate in National Poetry Month.

Don’t worry, though, I’m still keeping things simple (as is my usual M.O.). If you want to make sure you don’t miss each week’s poem, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

How the Poetry Challenge Works:

Every Friday I will share a different, classic poem. (See below for today’s selection.) Read this poem with your kids at least once a day during the week. You can read it at breakfast, at bedtime, on the bus, or whatever works with your schedule and family life. That’s it! Are you old hats at poetry? Check out the extension activity selections below.

FAQ: (Just kidding, since this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned the poetry challenge so none of these questions have been asked, yet, much less “frequently”)

What if I don’t like the poem? Choose a different poem. There is no rule that says you have to choose the poem I supply. After all, I am only choosing poems in the public domain, so I don’t get in copyright hot water. I’m also choosing short poems so no one feels overwhelmed and even poetry newbies can play along. Do you have a favorite poetry collection at home? By all means, pick a poem from that book each day.

Why do I have to read the same poem every day? I hope you won’t balk at reading the same poem 7 times in a row. You are probably aware that kids like to hear the same material repetitively. That’s because it’s good for their brains! Just think of all those Thomas the Train books you’ve read a gazillion times, and these poems are a million times better! (Not to mention shorter.) Listening to the same material over and over allows your kids (and you) to find new meanings.

How old do my kids have to be? At least one day old.

All I’m doing is reading a poem? Isn’t that a little, well… basic? I don’t think there’s anything basic about repetitive reading of poetry at all. Repetition unlocks understanding. However,  if you want to do more with the poem, by all means do so. Speaking of which…

Poetry Challenge Extension Activities

If you want to add a bit more meat to the challenge try out these ideas.

  • Memorize the poem
  • Read a bit about the poet (online or get a book from the library)
  • Discuss the structure, grammar and punctuation of the poem
  • Write a poem on the same topic
  • Read more of the poet’s work (since these are all public domain poets, you will find poems just with a little Google search)
  • Start a conversation about the poem’s topic
  • Build a spine poem on the same theme

This week’s poem

I’m starting off with a poem I loved when I was a kid because it described perfectly the happenings inside my brain. It’s by Robert Louis Stevenson, whose classic collection, A Child’s Garden of Verses (affiliate link) belongs on everyone’s shelf.

A Child's Thought poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Join the poetry challenge.

If you’d like to print this out, I have a printer friendly copy here –> A Child’s Thought poem

I hope you follow along with the challenge. If you don’t already follow us on Facebook, I’d love for you to join our community over there. We will be checking in during National Poetry Month with more great poem selections.

Alternatively, for more poetry ideas follow my poetry Pinterest board.
Follow Erica • What Do We Do All Day?’s board Poetry and Rhyme Books for Kids on Pinterest.

Let me help you find books for your kids and keep them (almost) effortlessly entertained. Receive a printable bookplate when you sign up for our Weekly-ish Newsletter.


  1. What a good idea! I can always use with some good poems to read, and to introduce to my 5 year old! :)

  2. Printed it out and put it on the fridge – I will read it to all 3 kiddos this week! GREAT challenge!

  3. Love this challenge!

  4. My boys (6 and 8) enjoyed this poem. I look forward to next week’s. (On a side note, I picked up several of your poetry recommendations for the library and the concrete poems in “A poke in the I” touched their funny bones with its bits of irony.)

    • Erica MomandKiddo says:

      Comments like yours, make my day! Thank you for telling me that. I hope you continue to enjoy the poem each day until next week!

  5. What fun! I just printed it- thank you for making it so convenient!

  6. Just want to say thank you for this idea, along with all of your other great posts. You have enriched my family’s life in many ways.

  7. What a great idea. I hate poetry and I don’t want that getting passed onto my kids. Thanks!

    • Erica MomandKiddo says:

      It’s funny, because I’ve never been really into poetry either (despite loving literature and theater) but decided to make a greater effort when it comes to my kids. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m getting there!

  8. I drove myself crazy trying to find this in A Child’s Garden of Verses (the only book in which I indulged by buying multiple copies, all with different illustrators), only to realize you never said it was actually in there!! Nonetheless, it has several similar poems with the same theme. Needless to say, I love them all.

    • Erica MomandKiddo says:

      Oh my goodness, I’m sorry! I found it in a general anthology that includes poems by different poets. “Poems and Rhymes” published by Anness. I don’t like the illustrations in this one, but I found it at the library.

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