Put on a Poetry Party!

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Print materials
  • Pencils, colored pencils, markers or watercolors
  • Clear contact paper
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Decorations
  • Refreshments
  • Instruments such as a piano, a guitar, or bongo drums (optional)
  • Lamp (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Have your child help decorate the room like a café. Set up little tables and chairs, or floor cushions around ottomans. Cover surfaces with bright tablecloths. Add bouquets of flowers in glass jars. Set aside an area for poetry performers by draping a sheet or curtains on the wall as a backdrop. You can even create a stage with a couple of shipping pallets covered in fabric.
  2. Set up a table for a poetry workshop. Arrange boxes of magazines, picture cut-outs, words, alphabet stamps, stickers, and other materials to inspire creativity. Provide glue sticks and thick plain paper.
  3. At the poetry workshop, your child's party guests can write poetry using cut-out materials, their own words, or combinations thereof. They can decorate their poems with pictures or just use the pictures for inspiration! Remind them that while some poems rhyme, not all of them have to.
  4. Have the poets title and sign each of their poems. 
  5. Cut two pieces of clear contact paper for each poem, and make sure that the contact paper pieces are just a little bit larger than the paper the poem is written on. Use the contact paper to laminate each poem.
  6. Let children take turns reciting their poems from the stage area. You can add to the café effect by supplying bongo drums and guitars for impromptu jam sessions. Use a bright desk lamp as a spotlight and ask someone who knows how to play piano or violin to provide a musical interlude between poems.
  7. Add some previously published poetry to the mix. People can read rhymes, recite chants, sing songs, perform haiku, or share the lines of hand-clapping games, nursery rhymes, or jump-rope rhymes. Try snapping instead of clapping after each performer!
  8. Ask the children to place their laminated poems on tables for use as placemats for refreshments. Serve café-style confections, such as lemonade with sliced strawberries and miniature cupcakes.

To up the learning at this creative party, discuss poetic devices such as imagery, hyperbole, rhyme, and rhythm over refreshments. Which techniques made the poems more exciting? Which made them more mysterious? Then, let each poet take their laminated piece home as a party favor!

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