Looking for a simple yet unique writing activity for your child on Valentine’s Day? Why not have her try her hand at writing poetry in the form of a valentine haiku? Haiku, dating back to 17th century Japan, are brief, 3-line poems that follow a strict syllabic pattern.
Haiku poets often focus on simple subjects, but choose their words very carefully. With so few syllables, each word in the poem is meaningful. Challenge your child to consider her word choices carefully, and think about how each word adds to the meaning of the poem.
What You Do:
- Begin this activity by having your child brainstorm a list of things that pop into her mind when she thinks about Valentine’s Day (hearts, cards, love, candy, etc.).
- After completing this brainstorming activity, review with her the haiku format. Haiku has three lines, one right after the other. Each line has a certain number of syllables: the first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and the third has five. Inform your child that there are no firm rules regarding capitalization and punctuation in English haiku, and that her haiku lines don't have to be in complete sentences.
- Before she begins writing her poem, you may want to review some simple syllable counting with her to ensure that she is confident in this skill.
- Next, have her select a few items from her brainstorming list that she would like to include in her poem.
- Assist her in counting the syllables to reach the total needed in each line. If it would help, you may want to write a haiku together before she writes her own independently. Here is one about candy:
Fills my heart with joy and love
It's so yummy too!
Writing haiku is fun for all ages. Work together writing as a family and see who can write the best or the silliest haiku. Before you know it your little one will be a poetry master.
Victoria Hoffman, MA Teaching and Leadership, is an elementary school teacher, writer and mother from Leonardtown, Maryland. She has taught grades K-5 in both regular and special education classrooms.