Poetry – and all its related forms like song – is a wonderful and unique way to challenge a child’s grasp of English or French language skills. There are few other activities you could engage them in that will be just this much fun. They must consider rhythm/meter, rhyme, and sentence construction (making linguistic sense), and their creativity is put to work thinking of a topic, too!
Let’s get started… by picking a style that your kid loves.
A great exercise for older kids and more complex vocabularies and subjects. Slam poetry isn’t just poetry – it’s also competitive performance art. Slam poetry challenges kids to think and write poetry, but also to deliver it. The sky is the limit on subject matter, and there’s only a handful of rules.
But remember: it’s not about the points. It’s about the poetry!
Teachers: Scholastic has some great resources for teaching Slam Poetry in the classroom itself.
Parody Songs (Satire)
Writing parody songs is a wonderful means of expression for a child who loves humour, and the odds are likely that your child is already familiar with parodies. If they’re unsure, be sure to pull up Weird Al. He is still considered one of the masters!
Parodies are very beginner-friendly for middle-schoolers and even some younger, as children can use the lyrics of the original song to help guide them as they write. Difficulty scales easily with the degree of originality. And Kid’s Bop is always a great go-to if you need the background song.
Inspiration for song subject can come from current events (for example, one child wrote a class for a school project about Joe Biden’s election – Joe Biden Could – to the classic tune Johnny B Goode), misheard lyrics (arguably Weird Al’s favourite inspiration), or even a simple twist on the old one, as this dad did.
Rap / Hip Hop
If you never thought about associating rap with poetry, think again! Like Slam Poetry, rap is also considered a performance art, although with stricter rules about “being a poseur.” Authenticity is of the utmost importance in rap. And the second most important thing? A great beat. There are many great beats to be found online, or kids can be challenged to make their own. Once they find a beat that they can groove to, start writing!
With its origin story in the birth of Hip Hop, it’s an art and music form that has a rich cultural significance. Here’s a great video on the subject of bringing rap to the classroom.
Looking for something more basic? Don’t worry, regular poem and song writing still counts, too. Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss are classic kids’ poets that might help get creative juices flowing.
We hope you have a blast – and be sure to share some of your creations with us! Happy writing!
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