Ingredients: Paper and pens / or a computer and printer, one talkative child

The Big Sell:  Write me the silliest nonsense poem you can think of…

Strategy:        At a certain age children love to practice rhyming sounds (for eldest son it was between 3 and 5 years). He would idly recite nonsense rhyming words to himself whilst playing. I tapped into this and told him I would touch-type EXACTLY what he chose to put in a poem (note, I think it’s important not to make any of your own suggestions unless the child asks for it. If it is theirs word for word, they can sample the early delight of complete editorial control!)

The Verdict: The resulting poem was typed, printed and displayed proudly on the wall. When (adult) friends came round they would notice it and recite it aloud much to eldest son’s delight who felt it had become a famous work of art. If your child is slightly older it can also help with teaching them phonics by showing how to spell out the sounds they have chosen. In our home we will always have a special place in our heart for “Snow Monster, plo monster, elemeny toe monster” and the following 5 verses!

Catchphrase: “Read me my poem again, Mummy!”

Left wanting more?

  • An obvious reference is to read your child some Spike Milligan to show them how fantastic surreal poetry can be
  • Other good poetry books for young children are ‘The Booktime Book of Fantastic First Poems’, edited by June Crebbin, published by Puffin, and the rhyming story ‘Never use a knife and fork’ by Neil Goddard, published by Macmillan books (loved equally by our 2 and 6 year old because it actually recommends you are naughty with your food!).
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