Creative and educational family activities – plus a video – from guest editor Carrie Anne Badov from EverythingMom.com.
Family holidays like Thanksgiving are a reminder of all the many wonderful things in our life. Our family. A great meal to eat. A favourite stuffie. Perhaps even pie with ice cream. Gratitude isn’t just reserved for us as adults and parents. Kids can be grateful too and creating an Acrostic poem together is one way to visually express what we are thankful for as we sit and celebrate with family.
An Acrostic Poem uses the letters in the poem to spell out the subject of the poem. This is a type of poetry writing my kids have enjoyed doing at school as the rules are very loose. There’s no length restriction to each line or the number of lines and the poem doesn’t have to rhyme, something that can be a challenge for young writers.
This is an activity that requires very little supplies, just a paper, pen, ruler and we love using the Melissa & Doug alphabet stamp set to make the subject word stand out in our poems. Creating your own Acrostic Poem is easier than you think and to help I’ve broken it down into steps:
What are you thankful for? Ask everyone to think about what they are thankful for and work it down into one word. If you’re kids love playing board games, the word could be games. If listening to Grandma read them a story is what they love, you could use the word book, story, or Grandma.
Add your word to your page. I like to work with the paper in landscape mode as this gives more space for writing but that’s completely a personal preference. Stamp the word you want to write about down the left-hand side of the page. Even those too young to write can help you find the letters in the stamp bucket, put them in the correct order and stamp.
You can use lined paper for this but since we were creating an art piece we used plain white paper. Using a pencil and a ruler, draw a faint line below each letter from the left to the right side of the page. This gives you something to write your poem line on to keep it straight.
Why are you thankful for this item? You have your word, now it’s time to think about why this object or person is important to you. What about this item makes you happy? What would you like other people to know? The idea is to use each letter as the start of your poem line and understanding why this item is important to you can make it easier to think of things to write. For younger kids you can talk to them about their feelings to help them come up with their words and ideas.
The line can be as simple as a single word, a complete sentence, or a combination of both. That’s why I love this type of poetry; it’s flexible to each individual.
You can add a bit of a challenge to the poem for older kids or adults by having the word appear within the middle of the poem versus the beginning. You would create the poem as above, using words or sentence to expand on the word you are writing about, but the letters would appear at any point in your poem versus at the beginning of each line.
Get the whole family involved.
We loved creating our individual poems but working as a family to create a group poem can be a lot of fun. We used the chalkboard side to our standing art easel, choosing a different colour for the word versus the sentences. Working as a group encourages co-operation and respectful listening. The dynamic of many people working on something can sometimes provide a new perspective and ideas for your poem. Don’t feel that as the parent you have to be the writer. Letting the kids take control of the board is a nice boost to of self confidence.
Here’s a video my kids and I put together working on our own group acrostic poem:
While you have the family gathered around the easel you might want to try a round of Letter Sounds Pictionary.
Poetry is often overlooked as a form of creative expression with kids, with their exposure being limited to childhood nursery rhymes. Exploring different types of poetry (you can find a few poetry book suggestions on EverythingMom) opens kids up to new stories as well as new ways to express ideas and feelings. Creating their own Acrostic Poetry not only gives them a chance to express their gratitude in a creative way but it helps illustrate that poetry can be…
Full of surprises and
Undiscovered creativity that hopefully you’ll
Never want to stop exploring.
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