Write Poems for Children

Edited by Thor, Colette Cole, Dougie

Hello and welcome to VisiHow. In this series of videos, we are exploring the world of poetry and the different styles that can be found within it. In this video, we're going to focus on how to write poems for children.

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    Writing poems for children is very different to writing poems for adults
    Adults can be very concerned with very serious and profound subject and themes, which can often be surreal, disturbing, moving, rousing and emotional. Writing for children is more playful. It must express the fantasy world that children live in. Therefore, children's poetry often features talking animals, aliens, strange creatures, princesses, fantasy lands, adventures, space men, heroes, peculiar parents, magic, and many other styles and themes. Children's poems are fun and fantastical. They often rhyme and contain simple words. They don't often come in the form of free poetry or prose poetry, but rather they use rhyming couplets and have a certain meter and structure that give them a musical rhythm. In the section below this video, you can find links to videos in this series, explaining iambic pentameter and other meters and rhyming couplets. Here is an extract from the famous children's poem "The Owl and the Pussy Cat" by Edward Lear:
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    The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat, They took some honey and plenty of money, wrapped up in a five-pound note
    The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, "O lovely Pussy. O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are! What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
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    Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl
    How charmingly sweet you sing! O let us be married! Too long we have tarried, But what shall we do for a ring?" They sailed away for a year and a day, To the land where the bong tree grows And there in the wood a piggy-wig stood With a ring at the end of his nose, His nose, His nose, With a ring at the end of his nose.
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    As you can see, the poem is about animals behaving like humans, going on a fantastic adventure
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    The poem uses rhyming couplets which are structured in unusual way
    The first verse has an AB AB CD CD DDD structure, the letters each indicate a line and the same letters indicate which lines are rhyming. In the second verse, the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th lines rhyme internally. We can see here the 1st line: "Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl"". The line is rhyming internally: 'owl' and 'fowl'; 3rd line 'married' and 'tarried'; 'sailed away' and 'day' and 'wood' and stood'. The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th lines rhyme internally; the 2nd and 4th line of the 2nd verse rhyme and the 6th and 8th lines rhyme;and the 9th, 10th, and 11th lines end in the same word as the 8th line. This an be expressed as so
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    on the screen
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    and where 2 letters together indicate rhyming within a single line
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    You can see here this is the style of rhyming couplets that the author has chosen to use for this particular poem.
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    The meter of the poem always stays similar within each verse
    In the 1st verse lines alternate between 8 to 12 syllables, followed by a shorter line from 6 to 9 syllables. We can see the 1st line
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    "Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl" is longer and then the subsequent line is shorter, then a longer line, more syllables, then fewer syllables and so on..
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    It follows that pattern
    This poem demonstrates the common elements that are used to write poems for children. The topic is fun and imaginative. Rhyming couplets are used and a certain meter is applied to give it rhythm and musicality. Now it's your turn! Try to write a poem for children using the techniques we have discussed, then share them with us in the comments section below. You can also leave suggestions in the comments section and in the section below this video, you'll also find links to the other videos in this poetry series, so have a look at them and let us know what you think. You've been watching VisiHow. Goodbye!
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Video: Write Poems for Children

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Recent edits by: Colette Cole, Thor

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