How to make poetry fun for kids- 3rd grade poetry worksheets

How to Make Poetry Fun for Kids | Free 3rd Grade Poetry Worksheets

Poetry is an important component of any solid elementary language arts curriculum. But how can we make teaching it fun and engaging for young minds?

As a homeschooling mom with over eight years of teaching experience, I’ve found poetry to be an excellent tool for enhancing vocabulary, encouraging creative writing, and introducing literary devices in an accessible way. Our focus today is on making poetry a tangible and enjoyable part of your curriculum. 

This article will guide you through using our elementary 3rd grade poetry worksheets – which include a variety of poems, worksheets, and poetry activities designed for young learners – while also offering you practical advice, tips, and examples on how to make the best out of your poetry teaching.

From acrostic poems to free verse, we’ll cover effective strategies to teach poetry while keeping it all fun and enjoyable. And hopefully these will also encourage your young learners to write their own poetry and practice finding those perfect words.

And if you have older students, I recommend these poetry activities for high school to make poetry learning fun for them, too!

Make poetry fun for kids 3rd grade poetry worksheets

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The unexpected power of teaching poetry to young minds

As educators, we’re tasked with laying strong foundations for our students’ future success. From reading comprehension to emotional intelligence, the skills we impart during these formative years will shape who they become.

And you know what wildly underrated tool packs an incredible punch for childhood development? Poetry. Yes, those delightfully zany verses about rambunctious rabbits and dancing daffodils.

On the surface, poetry might seem like a cute-but-frivolous pursuit compared to pulling out the big guns of math and science. But let’s dig deeper to see how poetry can help kids all around.

For starters, poetry is an art form that awakens the senses to the nuances of language in a way that dry prose simply can’t rival. The rhymes and rhythms aren’t just pleasing to the ear – they’re actually imprinting linguistic patterns and an enriched vocabulary into malleable young minds.

But the linguistic powers of poetry extend far beyond the concrete. By grappling with imagery, symbolism and layered meanings, even first-graders start flexing those higher-order analysis muscles. X-raying text for similes is essentially code for building crucial comprehension and abstract reasoning skills.

3rd grade poetry worksheets and activities

Were you expecting this? Good! There’s more.

Poetry also opens a window to the world’s cultures. Exploring diverse voices across centuries sparks cultural curiosity and empathy. When children’s eyes and hearts are touched by someone else’s experience artfully rendered, it plants seeds of compassion.

Perhaps most magnetic is how poetry electrifies creativity and self-expression. By boosting students’ poetry skills, and encouraging them to write their own lines of verse, kids gain confidence in giving voice to their unique perspectives. Those seemingly simple rhymes become a powerful channel for even the most introverted student to loosen their inner poet.

And the best part?

This dive into imagery, wordsmithing, and questions of human nature is all inherently, wondrously fun for young minds! The musical rhythms, silly wordplay, and endless metaphorical possibilities awaken a vibrant sense of joyful learning.

So don’t sell poetry short as elementary amusement – those lighthearted rhymes deliver a surprisingly mighty wallop. Embracing poetry provides a low-risk launchpad for cultivating literacy skills, enrich their vocabulary words, their cultural awareness, imagination, emotional intelligence… and most critically, the sheer love of learning itself.

Honestly, what teacher wouldn’t want a vowel-blending, pun-appreciating force like that on their side?

Exploring the world of poems- and free third grade poetry worksheets

Poetry allows young minds to explore language, imagery, and self-expression in fun and creative ways. That’s why I created a first guide to poetry that can be used all throughout elementary, starting with 3rd grade. In this guide, we’ll take a peek at different types of poems kids can enjoy while building valuable literacy skills.

My full printable Poetry Worksheets: Exploring 9 Types of Poems and Literary Devices – For Elementary contains a diverse collection of 9 poem forms, from the structured rhyme schemes of limericks to the free-flowing lines of free verse.

3rd grade poetry worksheets, tups, and helpers

You’ll get quick fact sheets defining each of the 9 poem types, with examples, characteristics, and even useful video links for deeper dives. From the acrostic poem-writing worksheet to eight more different poetry forms, you will get everything you need to make sure kids understand the ins and outs of these types of poems.

Here’s a sneak preview of what’s included in the full version, over 50 pages of information around poetry that you can use in your home or classroom:

  • Acrostic Poems: These clever vertically-spelled-out verses are a great entry point for capturing kids’ interests and getting creative juices flowing. The simple acrostic template I included ensures kids can invent their own acrostic poems on any topic the choose. Just print it as many times as you need.
  • Haikus: The crisp simplicity of these Japanese nature poems makes them perfect for younger students practicing syllable counting and descriptive writing. The haiku worksheet has picture prompts from nature, helping kids imagine and describe the subjects better while focusing on the specific traits of haiku poetry.
  • Limericks: With their bouncy rhythms and silly narrative twists, limericks unlock the entertainer in every little poet. I also included funny picture prompts to get kids started in the limerick worksheet. Once they start, it ill be difficult to stop them from creating these funny poems.
  • Cinquains: Cinquiains might not be as fun as shape poems, but I made sure to include visuals and helpful tips for kids so they are able to write their own rhyming word pairs in the cinquain worksheet.
Quatrain worksheets for elementary

And that’s just the start! You’ll also find hands-on activities exploring concrete poems, diamante poems, quatrains, odes, and free verse options too.

Besides, you get a poster of a poetry anatomy where I’ll briefly guide you and your students through the core poetic devices like rhyme, rhythm, parts of a poem, and another poster around the nine most common figurative language used in poetry suitable for elementary-aged kids.

As a bonus, you get a poetry journal pdf printable that you can personalize any way you want and a types of poetry flipbook as well.

But most importantly, this printable is packed with engaging prompts and blank templates that transform your students from poetry readers to poetry writers. With creative exercises like nature hunts for haiku inspirations and invitations to speak from the perspective of an object, your kids will be crafting lines bursting with personality and clever wordplay. And I included tips and tricks that would hopefully help you get ideas on how to implement poetry learning at home.

Whether you want to meet standards with literary analysis or simply spark a lifelong love of creative expression, my 3rd grade poetry worksheets offer an ideal blend of approachable lessons and imaginative fun.

Your child’s poetry skills (and confidence!) will blossom with instant access to these ready-to-go, rigorously designed resources in printable PDF format. Grab your packet today, and prepare for an immersive journey into the wide world of whimsy and words!

Psst! You get a free preview below when you subscribe to my newsletter.

FREE 3rd grade poetry worksheets

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More tips and tricks for teaching poetry to elementary students

Teaching poetry to elementary students opens up new avenues for expression, understanding, and creativity. However, it also comes with its unique set of challenges. To navigate these, here are some practical tips and tricks. Find more of these in my poems worksheets activities linked above.

Teaching the parts of a poem, rhythm, and rhyme

My PDF printable of poetry worksheets already includes nine types of poems that are fun to teach, analyze and create during elementary years, but there is more to teaching poetry.

Understanding the structural elements of poetry and the concept of rhyme can significantly enhance students’ ability to appreciate and write their own poems. So make sure kids understand the parts of a poem, rhyme, rhythm, and the basic literary devices before you ask kids to analyze or write poetry.

Parts of a poem

Activity: Create Your Own Poem Blueprint

  • Objective: Students learn about the parts of a poem by creating a visual “blueprint” of a poem.
  • How-To: Provide students with a simple poem. Ask them to identify and color-code different parts: lines in one color and stanzas in another. Then, have them draw a “blueprint” on a piece of paper, representing each stanza and line with blocks or shapes. This visual representation helps them understand how poems are structured.
  • Concrete Example: Use a well-known children’s poem, such as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, to illustrate. Show how two lines can make a couplet and how the entire poem is a quatrain because it has four lines.

Activity: Stanza Shuffle

  • Objective: Students explore how the arrangement of stanzas can affect a poem’s meaning.
  • How-To: Print out the stanzas of a poem on separate pieces of paper. Mix them up and ask students to arrange the stanzas in an order that makes sense to them. After, discuss how changing the order can change the poem’s narrative or emotional impact.
  • Concrete Example: Use a type of poem with a clear narrative, like Shel Silverstein’s Sick, to show how stanza arrangement can tell a story.
Parts of a poem free printable - third grade poetry worksheets


Activity: Rhyme Scheme Tag

  • Objective: Teach students about rhyme schemes in an interactive way.
  • How-To: Write lines of poetry on large index cards, making sure they have clear rhyming patterns. Scatter students around the classroom and give each one an index card. Play music and have them walk around. When the music stops, students find a partner. If their lines rhyme, they sit down together. This game continues until all rhyming pairs are found.
  • Concrete Example: Use lines from Dr. Seuss books for their clear and accessible rhymes, ensuring students can easily find their rhyming partners.

Activity: Rhyme Time Challenge

  • Objective: Encourage students to listen for and create their own rhymes.
  • How-To: Start by reading a poem aloud and have students clap or snap whenever they hear rhyming words. Then, challenge them to come up with their own rhyming pairs. Finally, students can work individually or in groups to write a couplet or quatrain using their rhyming words.
  • Concrete Example: Choose a poem with a distinct rhyme scheme, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and then guide students to create a couplet about another animal doing an action, focusing on rhyming the last word in each line.
third grade poetry worksheets

Rhythm through syllable counting

Rhythm is a fundamental aspect of poetry, giving it a musical quality that can captivate listeners and readers alike. One of the most effective ways to teach rhythm to elementary students is to practice syllable counting. Here’s how you can introduce this concept with practical, hands-on activities.

Activity: Syllable Clap and Count

  • Objective: Help students recognize and count syllables in words to understand the rhythm in poetry.
  • How-To: Start with a group activity where you say a word aloud and the class claps for each syllable they hear. This could be anything from their names to objects in the classroom. Gradually move to more complex words. Once they’re comfortable with clapping out syllables, introduce them to written words and have them mark the syllables on paper.
  • Concrete Example: Use everyday words to start, like “cat” (1 clap), “elephant” (3 claps), and “imagination” (5 claps). Then, transition to using words from poems they are studying.

Activity: Beat the Clock with Syllable Sorting

  • Objective: Develop quick recognition of syllables in words, reinforcing the concept of rhythm.
  • How-To: Create cards with words of 1, 2, 3, and 4 syllables. Set a timer for 1 minute and challenge students to sort the words into piles according to the number of syllables. This can be done individually or in small teams for a competitive twist. Review the correct answers together, clapping out the syllables for reinforcement.
  • Concrete Example: Words like “sun” (1), “apple” (2), “banana” (3), and “chocolate” (4) can be used. Discuss how the number of syllables affects the rhythm when these words are used in poetry.

Activity: Create a Syllable-Based Poem

  • Objective: Apply syllable counting to write short, rhythmical poems.
  • How-To: Guide students to write a simple poem, such as a haiku, which has a specific syllable pattern (5-7-5). Explain the pattern and show examples. Then, let students choose a theme and brainstorm words and phrases that fit the syllable count for each line. Encourage creativity and remind them that the rhythm of their poem is as important as the words they choose.
  • Concrete Example: Start with a theme like “nature” or “seasons.” If the theme is “fall,” a student’s haiku might be, “Leaves fall softly down (5), Covering the ground in gold (7), Autumn whispers here (5).”

Activity: Syllable Matching Game for Poems

  • Objective: Strengthen syllable awareness in the context of poetry.
  • How-To: This activity can be a follow-up to the syllable sorting game. Using the same word cards, ask students to create lines of poetry on the fly by matching words with the same number of syllables, focusing on maintaining a rhythm. This can be done as a class, with each student contributing a line, or in small groups.
  • Concrete Example: Challenge students to create a two-line rhyme using 2-syllable words, such as “The quiet cat (4), On the mat sat (4).” This encourages them to think about both rhyme and rhythm in poetry.

By integrating syllable counting into your poetry lessons, you give students the tools to not only understand but also appreciate the rhythm that makes poetry sing. These activities foster a hands-on learning experience that demystifies rhythm, making it a tangible and enjoyable aspect of poetry for young learners.

poetry journal for kids- template

Teaching the most common poetic devices to elementary students

Introducing poetic devices to elementary grades kids enhances their reading and writing skills, adding depth to their understanding and appreciation of poetry. I already included some brief explanations on nine literary devices in my poetry printable worksheets, but here are some examples on how you can teach these effectively.

What It Is:
The repetition of the same beginning consonant sounds in a series of words.
How to Teach It: Start with tongue twisters to highlight alliteration’s playful aspect. For example, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” showcases alliteration with the repeating “p” sound. Challenge students to create their own alliteration tongue twisters based on their names or favorite animals.

What It Is:
A word that imitates the natural sound of a thing. It helps readers hear the sounds in the scene being described.
How to Teach It: Bring in comic books or fun illustrations that use words like “bam,” “pow,” or “splash.” Discuss how these words help us “hear” the action. Then, ask students to write a short, descriptive paragraph about their favorite action-packed activity, using onomatopoeia to bring the action to life.

What They Are:
Similes compare two things using “like” or “as,” while metaphors directly state one thing is another for descriptive purposes.
How to Teach Them: Use everyday comparisons for similes, such as “busy as a bee” or “brave as a lion.” For metaphors, discuss phrases like “the classroom was a zoo,” highlighting the descriptive purpose. Create a simple worksheet where students transform similes into metaphors and vice versa to understand the subtle differences.

What It Is:
Repeating a word or phrase to make an idea clearer and more memorable.
How to Teach It: Show a short poem that uses repetition effectively, such as “The Tyger” by William Blake, focusing on the repeating question, “What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” Discuss why the poet might have chosen to repeat these lines. Ask students to write a short poem about their favorite animal or hobby, using repetition to emphasize what they love most about it.

poetic devices- figurative language for elementary kids printable

Best poets and poetry for elementary students

Selecting poets and poetry that resonate with children is crucial. Equally important is choosing resources that effectively enrich and simplify the teaching process. For example look to match the poetry you choose with seasons like these spring poems or maybe if you’re studying The Moon in science, you could choose some poems about the Moon to enrich this.

Here’s a guide to some of the best poets, poetry suggestions, and resources for elementary students, including a nod to a favorite of ours: Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW).

Poets and poetry recommendations

When selecting children’s poets and their works for elementary students, it’s essential to consider the themes, language, and imagery used. Poems that are accessible, engaging, and relatable tend to capture young minds more effectively. Here are a few poets and their poems that have proven to be hits among elementary learners:

  • Shel Silverstein: Known for his humorous and imaginative poems, Silverstein’s works, such as those found in “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “A Light in the Attic,” are perennial favorites. His poem “Sick” is particularly beloved for its humor and relatability.
  • Jack Prelutsky: Often referred to as the first Children’s Poet Laureate, Prelutsky’s poems are filled with whimsy and wonder. His book “The New Kid on the Block” features poems that are not only fun to read but also to perform.
  • Maya Angelou: Angelou’s poem “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me” is a powerful and affirming piece that resonates with children, encouraging bravery and resilience.
  • Langston Hughes: Hughes’ poem “Dreams” is simple yet profound, making it an excellent introduction to more serious themes in a way that’s accessible to young students.
  • Lewis Carroll: Carroll’s imaginative and playful approach to poetry makes him a captivating choice for young readers. His work, such as “Jabberwocky” from Through the Looking-Glass, showcases the fun and creativity of wordplay, introducing children to the concept of nonsense verse and the joy of exploring language beyond its literal meanings. The poem “The Walrus and The Carpenter” is another excellent example of Carroll’s ability to weave narrative and moral lessons into engaging verse, sparking discussions on interpretation and the deeper meanings behind the whimsical surface.
poetry for elementary aged kids

Best resources for enriching your poetry class

There are so many ways to enrich poetry learning including some really good and free digital poetry resources. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization (IEW): This resource stands out for its structured approach to teaching poetry. It provides a selection of memorable poems, coupled with teaching strategies that emphasize language development through memorization and recitation, making it a valuable tool for educators and students alike.
  • Usborne- Write Your Own Poem: This engaging book is a fantastic resource for budding poets in the elementary grades. It’s filled with tips, prompts, and exercises designed to spark children’s imaginations and guide them through the process of writing their own poems. From playing with rhyme and rhythm to crafting vivid imagery and exploring different poem forms, this book offers a hands-on approach to poetry writing. It’s an ideal tool for teachers and parents looking to encourage creativity and a love of words in young writers.
  • Poetry Foundation’s Children’s Section: Offering a wide range of poems by various poets, this online resource is excellent for finding poems on specific themes or by particular poets. It’s an invaluable tool for teachers looking for diverse and engaging content.
  • Read-Aloud Poems for Young People: This book compiles over 200 classic and contemporary poems across a broad spectrum of themes, with introductions to each poem that provide context and encourage discussion. It’s an excellent resource for educators looking to diversify their poetry lessons.

Wrapping things up

Whew, we covered a lot of ground in this article, didn’t we? From the surprising benefits of poetry and wordplay to all those fun hands-on activities for teaching poetry elements like rhyme schemes and figurative language.

I hope you can see why I’m such a firm believer that poetry deserves a special place in every elementary homeschool experience.

Because let’s be honest – as home educators, we have the delightful freedom to move beyond just ticking off academic boxes. We get to awaken young minds to all the wonder and depths that the written word can hold. Poetry is one of those rare vehicles that makes developing critical thinking skills and falling in love with language one and the same marvelous adventure.

And don’t forget to grab the free third grade worksheets from this post or check out my full printable pack:

I can’t wait to hear how you weave more poetry magic into your own homeschool days. Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

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