You might have heard that every year, the month of April is National Poetry Month. But did you know that Thursday, April 24 is Poem in Your Pocket Day? This is a day when people all over the United States will be sharing their favorite poem with their families, classmates, co-workers, and neighbors.
The town of Charlottesville in Virginia has an annual tradition of celebrating this day together. Lots of people volunteer to pass out printed poems all over town, and they also have an open mic poetry event the night before Poem in Your Pocket Day to kick off the celebration. There are also special Poem in Your Pocket events every year in other large cities, such as New York.
Here are 10 easy and fun ways to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day this year:
Write a short poem on an index card and tape or thumbtack it to a public bulletin board. Or you could use just one stanza from a longer poem. Be sure to give the title and author so that people who read it can look up the full poem on their own.
If you don’t have a pocket, think of other places to store folded-up poems. How about tucked into the top of in your sock?
Email your favorite poem to a pen pal or family member who lives far away.
Ask your parent, teacher, or school librarian to help you arrange a poem swap for your class or neighborhood, in which everyone brings a printed copy of their favorite poem and swaps it for someone else’s poem.
If you use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can post a photo of your favorite poem and include the hashtag #pocketpoem.
Leave a printed copy of your poem between the pages of a library book. It will be a surprise for the next reader!
If your family often visits a senior center or nursing home, print several copies of a poem to share and give it to the people you see when you visit that day. Or ask the person at the information desk if you can leave a pile of poems for visitors to take to their loved ones.
Encourage people to ask you about your poem. You can do this by wearing a sticker on your shirt or bookbag that says, “It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day! Ask me about my favorite poem.”
If your family members take their lunch to school or work, slip a poem into their lunch bags. Better yet, put in two poems—one for them to keep and one for them to give away to a friend!
Come up with creative ways to share your poem if you don’t want to print out or write out your poem on paper. For example, you could write a short poem on the back of your hand and read it out loud to people you meet.
No matter how you decide to celebrate, you can make Poem in Your Pocket Day special and fun for yourself—and everyone you meet. Just choose a poem to share, and the possibilities are endless!
The winter holidays can be a fun and exciting time for both kids and adults. This year, why not integrate poetry into your family’s celebrations of the season? Add literary flair to your family’s traditions by including poems in your festivities.
Here are three simple ways to incorporate poetry into your seasonal celebrations.
Chances are, your Thanksgiving celebration usually includes a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and perhaps a chance for each family member to say what he or she is grateful for. But this year you can add a new and fun twist to your family’s Thanksgiving tradition by giving poetry a place in the festivities. Reading a poem aloud is an engaging way to bring attention to what is most sacred and special about this holiday.
Here are four Thanksgiving poems that are wonderful to read out loud, either in unison (all voices together) or by taking turns reading each verse.
“Over the River and Through the Wood” by Lydia Maria Child
If this Thanksgiving poem sounds familiar, it’s probably because a version of it has been set to music. In the song version, some of the lyrics are about Christmas rather than Thanksgiving. Here is an excerpt from the original poem:
Your world is shaped by the information you take in through your senses. You know which ice cream you like best because of your taste buds. You know that you shouldn’t touch the stove top because of your sense of touch. The sirens warn you to get out of the way! And most importantly, your sense of smell keeps you away from the toxic stench emanating from the facilities after your brother spends an hour “resting!”
But what if you couldn’t trust those senses anymore? That’s exactly what happens in the following poem, where the character’s senses turn up all backward. Imagine describing the spray of a skunk as delightful, and the smell of a rose as hideous. People would think you were crazy! Do you think this poem is a bit crazy?
Have you ever been raising your hand so long that it starts to tingle, go numb, and you swear it’s going to fall off any second… but the teacher just doesn’t call your name? In this poem, the kid in the very back of the class is going through just that.
Personification is one tool that writers use to bring their words to life. You can imagine a “sleeping meadow,” or darkness that crept in on the moon’s billowing cape. But personification doesn’t just have to be beautiful or haunting… it can also be really funny!
In the following poem, it is the personification of what the banana is unable to do that makes the experience hilarious. When you read the poem out loud, imagine the banana actually doing these things! Now, imagine your disappointment if you actually thought a banana could fetch and run and bow.
Get Jumping! Making Playground Poetry Using Jump-Rope Rhymes
Did you know that kids have been skipping rope—or playing some type of very similar game—for hundreds of years? In the United States, skipping rope was a common way for city kids to play in the streets together from the early 1900s through the 1940s. A special version of jumping rope, called Double Dutch because it uses two jump ropes at the same time, was introduced to the children of New York City by Dutch families who had immigrated to America. Double Dutch later became a competitive sport worldwide.
Kids today still enjoy chanting or singing rhyming poems while they skip rope. Jump-rope rhymes allow you to combine the fun of poetry with the physical activity of skipping rope—a great way to stay physically fit while entertaining your brain!
Some of the jump-rope rhymes that you’ve heard on the playground or at the park are probably the same ones that your parents or grandparents used to recite when they were kids. Maybe you know this one:
When it comes to poetry recitals, it’s not unusual to feel a bit nervous; why not lighten the mood by turning the event into a game?
Whether your group are studying a particular poem, poet or topic – or whether you’ve been writing your own poems – you can bring some excitement to the event by creating a ‘lucky-dip’. A ‘lucky-dip’ is a British game, where small prizes are concealed inside a large container, and players have to reach inside and grab one without being able to see what it is. In this recital game, the prizes are the poetry!
First, decide what you will be reciting. The text will need to be printed onto slips of paper. If you have been looking at one particular poem, each slip could have one line or phrase; if you have been studying a poet, or a theme, the slips could have short extracts of relevant poems; if your group have written their own poems, each one could be printed on an individual slip… Make sure you have enough printed slips for everybody in the group to receive one!
Beginning in 1996, April has been declared National Poetry Month in the US. This tradition was started by the Academy of American Poets to celebrate poets and the wonderful things that poetry can bring to our lives.
There are plenty of ways for kids to celebrate National Poetry Month. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
April 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. Why? Because it’s April Fool’s Day!
April Fool’s Day is a time to get creative and play fun pranks on friends, teachers, siblings and parents. There’s also the anticipation of the prank’s success, and the thrill of wondering if someone is going to play a prank on you. The most important thing to remember about this silly holiday is to keep a good attitude. Sportsmanship is key. Make sure your pranks are not designed to hurt anyone physically or emotionally. Also, don’t get angry if someone puts a whoopee cushion on your seat. It’s funny… so laugh along.
In the following poem, kids play all kinds of April Fool’s Day pranks on their teacher… only to discover that their shenanigans land them in a not-so-funny situation!