I grew up absolutely adoring poetry. Some of my fondest memories include browsing through Caroline Kennedy’s A Family of Poems late into the night till my head began to nod and my eyes drooped.
As a kid there was just something about short children’s poems about peculiar adults and their peculiar problems or a little wagon overlooking a serene hillside that tickled my imagination in a way prose couldn’t.
Perhaps poetry spoke so intimately to me as a kid because of the way the spirit of poetry reflects the spirit of a child. Just as kids’ minds aren’t yet aware of the wearisome conventions that govern society, neither is poetry governed by a strict set of syntactical conventions. It can be playful, romping and roaming through our minds, flitting from one image to another, like how a child would on a playground.
Here are 10 of some of the most memorable short children’s poems from my childhood that you can share with your family. Some teach invaluable lessons. Many may elicit a laugh or two. All capture the spirit of a child. Enjoy! And don’t forget to let me know in the comments which ones you enjoyed the most or which ones you’d like to see on this list. 🙂
1. Daddy Fell Into the Pond by Alfred Noyes
A short silly kid’s poem that teaches us to cherish those unexpected and funny moments in a life, especially on a ‘dismal day”.
2. Maggie And Milly And Molly And May by E.E. Cummings
A poem about four girls’ time at the beach that contains a deeper message about the self.
3. Today is Very Boring by Jack Prelutsky
A highly entertaining poem that tells a bizarre story through the eyes of one very hard to impress kid guaranteed to draw out the giggles from your little ones and more than a few chuckles from yourself.
4. The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson
Hands down, this has got to be one of my top favorite poems even as a college student. The language, imagery, and tone work together to produce that feeling of ecstasy you’d get as a child soaring through the air, legs kicking, voice flying into the wind. Utterly priceless.
5. The Crocodile by Lewis Carrol
A short but nonetheless memorable children’s poem that made its debut in Lewis Carrol’s famous Alice in Wonderland that cautions against deceptive figures.
6. Good Hotdogs by Sandra Cisneros
A poem that illustrates a child’s ability to delight in as simple a joy as a warm hotdog on a school day.
7. This Is The Key by Anonymous
As a child, I’ve spent long moments puzzling over the meaning of this poem. Consequentially, I’ve always approached it as a sort of riddle to be solved–what is the key? Why is is structured “inside-out”?
8. Sick by Shel Silverstein
Whenever I read this funny kid’s poem, I can’t help but beam like a lunatic. It’s an incredibly adorable tale that gives a glimpse into children’s imaginative and sometimes hilarious mentality.
9. Story Telling by Edgar Guest
It’s no secret that children love bedtime stories. This poem encapsulates the extent to which some parents would go to bring those stories to life for their kids and sometimes–if they’re willing to admit it–for themselves.
10. The Spider And The Fly by Mary Howitt
A short children’s poem that, similar to Carrol’s Crocodile one, warns against deceptive figures, especially those that comes to you with sweet but poisonous words.
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