Lucky Dip Poetry Recital Game

Host a “Luck of  the Draw” Poetry Recital

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!

Getting Ready

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!

Next, find 2 large hats, buckets, pillowcases or similar containers. You could even get the group to decorate 2 cardboard boxes to match the theme of the recital! Fold all the slips of paper and hide them inside one of the hats.

Now you need to print the names of everyone who will be participating onto additional slips of paper (you could make these a different color so you don’t get mixed up!) and these are folded up to go into the other hat.

How It Works…

You are now ready to begin the game. You can be informal and get the group to stand in a circle, or you could set up a ‘stage’ area if you want to be a bit more dramatic.

When everyone is ready, it’s time to pull the first name from the hat. That player can then come and take a ‘lucky dip’ from the other hat, and their task is to recite the poetry text to the rest of the group! Accomplished readers can deliver their recital immediately or, alternatively, you can wait until everyone has drawn their text from the hat before going back to the first person and asking them to read (this gives a little preparation time if necessary.)

After the first player has given their recital (or chosen their slip to read), they can then pick another name out of the first hat to decide who goes next, until everybody has had a turn.

Make sure you reward each player with a big round of applause, and three cheers to celebrate when everybody has had a turn and the ‘lucky dip’ recital game is finished!


  • If the slips make up the lines or couplets from a single poem, you can number the slips. Then players can read them in the numbered order to recite the entire poem.
  • I have some tips for delivering a great recital here. You could share some of these with the group beforehand.
  • This activity should be about making recital fun, and taking out the fear factor – it’s ok if someone stumbles or makes a mistake!
  • If your group enjoy this sort of activity, why not invite an audience next time?