Teaching poetry: activities and lesson ideas

teaching poetry

Poetry isn’t just enjoyable to read: it’s also a great way to explore the structure of language and introduce children to the wonders of creative writing! 

To celebrate National Poetry Day, taking place on the 6th of October, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite poetry activities and lesson ideas for KS1 and KS2. Check them out below!

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Poetry activities for KS1

Lesson idea 1: introducing poetry and rhyme

  1. Read a selection of poems to your class

From ‘Old Mother Hubbard’ to ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, there are lots of fantastic short poems that you can use to introduce young children to poetry. 

Choose a selection of your favourite short poems to read out loud to your class. After you finish each one, explore the structure of the poem with them, pointing out the short lines, rhyming words and, in more cases than you’d think, any made-up words! 

  1. Explore the use of rhyme

Using the same poems as in the first activity, ask each pupil to highlight the words that rhyme in each of them, using a different colour for each rhyming set. 

Once they’ve finished, encourage them to think of other words that rhyme with the ones they’ve highlighted. You could even make this into a challenge: the person who thinks of the most words wins!

  1. Play ‘It’s time: can you keep up the rhyme?’

Finally, now that your pupils are in the rhyming spirit, challenge them to speak exclusively in rhyme. Whoever keeps up their rhyming for the longest wins! 

As a quick warning: this game can become quite hectic (and a little silly) as children get more and more into it, so we recommend only starting when you’re nearing the end of your lesson! 

Lesson idea 2: using DoodleEnglish to explore language

What better way to explore poetry and language than through thousands of fun, interactive exercises? 

Covering comprehension, spelling, grammar and punctuation, DoodleEnglish helps children to build key literacy skills and gain a genuine love of learning. And best of all, you can try it for free!

Poetry ideas for KS2

Lesson idea 1: exploring the different types of poetry

  1. Introduce the different genres of poetry

From sonnets to haikus, it’s fair to say that there are more than a few forms of poetry! 

Share a selection of different poems with your class, challenging them to see if they can spot what makes each one different from the others. Once they’ve had a look and shared their ideas, let them know what type of poetry it is. 

This activity isn’t just a great way to introduce your pupils to different forms of writing. It’s also a handy way to demonstrate that a poem doesn’t have to rhyme to be classed as a ‘poem’!

  1. Encourage your pupils to create mini masterpieces 

Once they’ve had a look at a selection of different poems, ask them to choose their favourite style. Then, using the same structure as their poem of choice, encourage them to have a go at writing a verse of poetry in the same style.

Doing this is a fantastic way to encourage your pupils to really think about how poetry is constructed, helping them to see the impact that structure can have on a piece of writing. 

Lesson idea 2: creating your own poetry

  1. Use your in-class teaching for inspiration

Poetry activities are a great way to build on your in-class scheme of work. For example, if you’re currently reading a story together in class, you could have your pupils use it as inspiration for their very own poem!

Or, if your pupils have recently written their own short stories, encourage them to transform their tale into a poem. 

This activity is the perfect way to demonstrate how different forms of writing can completely change the tone and feel of a piece.

  1. Use poetry prompts

Poetry prompts are another great way to inspire your pupils in their own creative writing. But coming up with ideas can be tricky! 

If you’re not sure where to get started, why not use these titles to inspire your pupils?

  • The Spectacular Space Station
  • The Mysterious Mansion 
  • The Frightening Forest
  • The Wonderful Waterpark 
  • An Amazing Adventure 


And there we have it! With these poetry activities and lesson ideas up your sleeve, you can transform poetry into an exciting and fun topic that your pupils will always look forward to exploring.

For even more ways to learn about poetry, why not try DoodleEnglish? It’s filled with thousands of interactive exercises covering everything from sentence structure to language – and you can try it for absolutely free!

Or discover Doodle for schools

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