Tissue paper covered jars.
Painted pinch pots.
Do any of these items sound familiar?
Yep, they are the delightful handmade gifts our kids give us and we treasure each and every one.
And yet, when kids get a little older, they may not be bringing these gifts home for you any more. Perhaps because they used to make them at school, or maybe your child just really isn't into crafts.
Many children will still have an idea about what they want to give to mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa, or the other special people in their lives. But some children don't. So what can you say when your child asks,
What do you want for Christmas/Mother's Day/Birthday?
I've been answering this question same way for several years. And not just for Christmas or the holidays. This special gift has become my favorite birthday present as well.
If your child is in elementary school, they still may bringing you a craft from school for Christmas and Mother's Day or Father's Day. This gift your child can give you is just the thing for birthdays!
It is also the PERFECT gift for a child to give their grandparents!
So what is it?
I ask my children to memorize and recite a poem for me!
Just this month, my son recited the humorous poem "If Little Red Riding Hood..." by Jeff Moss for my birthday. Last year he gave me the gift of reciting the poem "The Tyger" by William Blake.
Why Poetry is the Perfect Gift
It is not just a present for you. Poetry is a unique gift that your child will remember forever. We remember the poems and songs we learned as children far longer and easier than those we memorized as adults.
Your child is giving you a memory to cherish. And if you video record them reciting a poem, you can watch it again and again.
TIP: If you have long distance grandparents, record your child reciting the poem and send them the video. They will 100% LOVE IT.
It is totally free.
It doesn't require wrapping and is 100% convenient.
They can give the gift of poetry every year and it never gets boring. 100% NEVER.
The experience of learning how to memorize is good for your child's brain. If your child needs help with choosing and memorizing a poetry gift, your spouse/partner/other adult can share meaningful time with your child in the process. Here are some tips on how to memorize poems with children.
This gift shows your children you value spending quality time with them over material objects.
Memorizing a poem gives children a sense of accomplishment.
What Poems Can Children Give as Gifts?
Any poem! Is this their first time? They can start out small. However, you will be surprised at how adept children are at memorizing poetry. Can they sing a song from memory? Then they can memorize a poem! I've listed some of my favorites below.
Note: all of these poems are easily available with a little Google search.
For elementary-aged kids:
- "The Crocodile" by Lewis Carroll
- "Who Has Seen the Wind" by Christina Rossetti
- "My Shadow" by Robert Louis Stevenson
- "Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face" by Jack Prelutsky
- "Dream Variations" by Langston Hughes
- "Catch a Little Rhyme" by Eve Merriam
- "Eletelephony" by Laura Elizabeth Richards
For middle school aged kids:
- "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll
- "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear
- "The Tyger" by William Blake
- "The Tale of Custard the Dragon" by Ogden Nash
- "Harriet Tubman" by Eloise Greenfield
- "Mother Doesn’t Want a Dog" by Judith Viorst
- "Disobedience" by A.A. Milne
For high school aged kids:
- "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe
- "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
- "Caged Bird" by Maya Angelou
Alternatively, creative children may choose to write and recite their own poem to give to you as a gift!
Want a poetry book to inspire your children every day? This is my favorite, and I consider it a must-own book!
Poems to Learn by Heart ed. by Caroline Kennedy (affiliate link)
So, will you do it? Will you ask your child to memorize a poem for you as a special gift? It will bring a big old goofy smile to your face and a warm and brilliant sparkle to your heart.
More poetry goodness:
And if you need non-stuff gift ideas for the whole family, try these gift ideas for families who have too much stuff.