Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery

Kids Poetry Camp

What poems are you sharing this month?

Last week, I did my first Kids Poetry Camp for ages 6-8.  The camp, called Kids Creative Writing Camp, was set up for a month of workshops for budding writers. One of the librarians asked me to start out the camp with poetry.  We’ve offered Kids, Tween and Teen Camps at the library for the past few years with a variety of themes including, writing, STEM, music and art but this was exciting since it was for a small group of elementary-aged children. The room was set up with colorful butcher paper on the floor, markers, crayons, pencils, pens and a selection of puppets! Imagine mouse, snake, peacock and duck puppets. Tables were set up around the room with poetry books on display including With My Hands Poems about Making Things by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and more!
While the children were arriving, I had them think about “What is Poetry?” After settling in, I asked everyone to write “What is Poetry?” in their note books. They wrote down the first thing they thought of – Poetry is happiness, poetry is rhyming, poetry is donuts.… I mentioned that at the end of the day, we would look at the question again and add more ideas about poetry.

We talked about different forms of poems – An ode, concrete (one of my favorites), acrostic, haiku, A – Z poems and more.  We started with an acrostic poem and used the letters in their name to write a poem about themselves. Hmmmm, luckily we helped each other out – especially if someone in the group had two of the same letters in their name like Emma – two M’s!

I moved on to Haiku poems – 3 lines, 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.  I shared Seeing Into Tomorrow by Richard Wright and Nina Crews. It’s a perfect new children’s poetry book to read aloud and learn about Haiku poems.  I love the illustrations too! We spent time reading aloud “Say Mr. Beetle” and “The Clouds Are Smiling.”  We talked about Wright and why he wrote Haiku poems. We discussed things we love to do and would want to write about. Music was a common theme so we decided to write Haiku’s about music. My favorite last line in one of the students poems is “Listen to the Beat” – 5 syllables!

poetry camp

Your thinking about the puppets? Anytime I do a poetry camp with writing or any camp for children, I always include a group art or writing project on butcher paper. It’s big, it’s easy to write on and fun to display. Next, an ode poem! We yelled out words about each animal puppet – for Duck – yellow, splash, water, waddle! We talked about each animal and what they do, eat, live, etc. Everyone decided to focus on the peacock and wrote an Ode to a Peacock – describing feathers, thinking about what they do and more!

While at times writing was tricky for the 6 year olds, sticky notes and writing out the words together helped. Also, group poems and sharing words aloud helped.

I love creating Poetry Camps at the library. My favorite Tween Poetry Camp was last year and ended with a poetry cake! Poems about a cake, on a cake!  After, we yelled out the poems while eating cake. But that’s another poetry camp story.

April is National Poetry Month! What new favorite poetry books are checked out at your library?




  1. Amy Losak

    Hi Paige,

    I would love to email you the link to H IS FOR HAIKU: A TREASURY OF HAIKU FROM A TO Z, by Haiku Society of America charter member, Sydell Rosenberg — my mother. Syd joined this group at its beginning in 1968. She “knew her haiku” but like many “haijin,” — haiku poets — she spent years learning, writing and practicing this craft. While much of Syd’s haiku were written traditionally — in 5/7/5 — haiku in English today no longer has to follow this structure. Content is more important than syllable count. H IS FOR HAIKU has a simple message: slow down and pay attention to the “small moments” in our every day lives … there’s the potential for poetry in them. These gently playful poems are brought to witty life, thanks to Sawsan Chalabi’s dynamic illustrations. I hope to hear from you. Thanks and best wishes, Amy Losak,

  2. Creative Communication

    Dear Paige,

    We have just discovered your summer writing camp online and thought we might reach out! Let us introduce ourselves, we are Creative Communication. We have been hosting poetry contests for over 25 years and are proud to provide contests for students in grades K-9 across the United States. Our judges select roughly the top 40% of the entries received to be published in a hardbound anthology. This publication brings together the best student authors in the United States.

    There is no cost involved to enter the contest and no fee to be published.

    We would love to provide this opportunity to the students in your summer writing camp. Our Summer 2022 Contest has a deadline of August 11, 2022. Your students are welcome to enter one poem each anytime between now and that date. We are happy to provide flyers for you.

    There are many benefits for students who participate in our program.
    • Have the opportunity to receive national recognition for their poetry
    • Have the opportunity to win prizes
    • Have a permanent record created of their work as they become published authors!
    • Have a new resource that excites students and motivates student authors
    • Receive the opportunity to see other styles, techniques and projects that teachers across the US are using to engage their students
    • Receive a printed history of their students’ work
    • Earn points for free classroom supplies and Amazon gift cards!
    • Earn a free book when five or more of their students are published

    Check out our program at Read what other teachers, parents and students say about our contest. We hope you will agree with the thousands of teachers who have worked with our program and share the word with your teachers. The process to enter is simple and each entry is individually judged. We value the teachers and students who participate in our program.

    We look forward to hearing back from you and we appreciate all you are doing to recognize student’s creativity.


    Kelsey Payne
    Creative Communication
    (435) 713-4411

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