Inspire a love for the written word by creating an illustrated nature poetry book with your kid. Poetry excites the imagination, taking us on journeys to other times and places. Let your child's imagination take her away by encouraging her to write poetry inspired by nature in her own backyard.
Writing poems is a great way to learn about the art of poetry and practice handwriting skills. Use this time to talk to your child about rhyme, verse, and the conventions of the English language as she writes for a valuable language arts lesson.
What You Do:
- Start by choosing a season for the book. It's easiest to do the current season, but you can choose any season you want.
- Weather permitting, take a trip outdoors with a few sheets of construction paper and a pencil and encourage your child to compose a few simple poems inspired by the landscape and natural scene around her. Talk to her about rhyme while she writes; poems don't have to rhyme, but word choice is always important.
- Once she finishes writing the poems, invite her to create simple illustrations next to them with the colored pencils and watercolors. Encourage her to base her illustrations on nature, drawing the landscape, a tree, or a moss-covered rock.
- Now create a cover for the book using the card stock. Help your child think of a title for her book of poetry and have her write it on one of the sheets of card stock.
- Invite her to create an illustration on the cover with the color pencils and watercolors.
- Have her stack the sheets of poems together in the order she wants them and place the cover on top and the second sheet of card stock on the bottom. Punch two holes in the left side of the stack, about 2 inches down from the top and bottom edges.
- Cut two short pieces of ribbon and have her thread one through each hole in the stack to bind it into a book. Tie the ribbons in bows.
- At the end, decorate the book by gluing found natural objects such as leaves or flowers to the cover or inside pages.
Try this activity in a different season and create a whole library of nature-inspired poetry books.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.