Summer Fun: Petite Poetry

Grand Canyon

We recently returned from a 12-day trip that took us through seven National Parks. One of our favorite activities was writing poetry about some of the places we visited.

Originally I planned to use a technique called “poem sketching” by poet Steve Kowit to help keep the kids entertained. I thought it would be fun to include their poems in a family photo book about our trip. Here’s how it works:

  • Someone looks outside and brainstorms four words, for example, canyon, sunset, vulture, joy. Typically three should be objects, the last an emotion or something that gives the word group a twist or sets it in motion.
  • Using these words, everyone writes a poem of no more than four lines. It’s doesn’t have to rhyme. Just think of it as a long sentence.

The National Park Service beat me to the punch however. My kids love earning their Junior Ranger badges by completing workbooks about each park they visit. Sure enough, the Grand Canyon book included instructions for writing a cinquain.

IMG_0169

That’s Finley’s cinquain. He’s 7.

This activity prompted Cooper (age 9) to write a few haiku and even an acrostic poem.

Forest (Rocky Mountain National Park)

By Cooper

Fun
Old
Red
Exploration
Super beautiful
Too much to visit in one day

I think the kids would have rebelled against Mom’s poetry workshop, but when the National Park Service requires it, who can argue?