I am a strong proponent of exposing children to poetry early. There are so many great kids’ poetry books out there (Here is a list of my favorites). I have to admit that my collection is fairly large. I may have an addiction! 🙂
One of my favorite poetry books for kids is, The Earth Is Painted Green, A Garden of Poems About Our Planet edited by Barbara Brenner. Since April is not only national poetry month, but also has Earth Day on the 22nd, I thought this book was perfect to introduce my children to some beautiful poems about our earth.
To honor the Earth and have fun with poetry, I decided to have my children create watercolor art and write their own Earth poems. For this activity, I choose the poem titled, ‘Choose a Color’ by Jacqueline Sweeney. It has a simple pattern to follow, but also allows children to create their own unique poetry. The main part of this activity is the writing component, but my children love creating art so the connection to colors in the poem makes the art component integrate naturally.
I read the poem to the children and discussed specific vocabulary and imagery. We then began creating art work using a pointillism technique, although, you could pretty much choose any style of art.
To accomplish this technique, I recommend using liquid water colors. They are vibrant and easy to use. I like Colorations, but there are other brands available.
I put a few drops of the watercolor in small sections of a paint ‘pallet’ (I’m reusing a plastic tray). You could use anything that is easy for the children to access and will not absorb the color (other ideas are a plastic egg carton, small plastic cups like yogurt cups, etc.) Each color needs its own q-tip.
Then, I let the kids design their own art work. I did ask them to create something they would see in nature since this work is going to connect to a poem about colors in nature.
After they finished their art work, I asked the kids to list adjectives describing their art or objects in their art.
I provided a rough frame for their poem modeled after the poem we read, ‘Choose a Color’. Then, they wrote in their ideas based on the colors in their art work and ideas from their imagination.
The last line of Sweeney’s poem reads, “If green I would help the world…… breath.” This part of the poem is the most important to me as it illustrates the positive effects of trees and plants in our world, but also helped me discuss the connection to Earth Day. So, I had my daughter model her last line in this same fashion.
Often, I believe that the process of learning and creating is just as important or even more important than the outcome. So, I don’t always have my children produce a ‘final’ piece of work. For this project, my older daughter really wanted to type up or ‘publish’ her poem. So, I did underwrite on her rough draft so that the final product would have ‘adult’ spellings and supported her in typing it up.
Here’s a FREE Frame to have your child create his/her own poem.