How To Write A Nature Poem Like Roald Dahl

Inspiration to write a poem like Roald Dahl doesn’t have to stop at golden tickets, mean teachers and wonderful sweets. While kids love going out in nature, they love it even more when a fun activity is part the walk. Building forts! Climbing trees! Playing word games! Word games are the best because they can lead to hilarious results as I’ve seen many times with my girls. Hence the inspiration for this piece on how to write a nature poem. Writing is a great way to get kids outside and to help them use their creative mind. To inspire young nature lovers, what better inspiration than a master of the craft? Roald Dahl, the famous British author and poet, used to walk to a wood around his home, in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Beauty, to relax and find inspiration. That’s how “Fantastic Mr Fox” and a few nature poems came about!

Taking cue from the master, here are a few ideas to spice up your next family hike and “snitch new dreams to put in your bottles.” For all these activities, I suggest that you go on a family hike and pack paper and pens for everyone.

Write a Mesostic Nature Poem

Mesostic nature poem in the spirit of Roald Dahl

Image by Burgess Studio. Planting Poetry project for the Ministry of Stories.

A mesostic poem sounds complicated but the concept is really quite simple. This is what kids will do:

  • Pick a word (can be an adjective too) inspired by their natural surroundings
  • Write it running downwards on a page
  • Write a line for each letter of the word that intersects it where you chose.

There, you have a mesostic poem! They’re actually a bit tricky to write because you have to be inspired for each letter and that requires some serious creativity.

Your turn!

Make Up Imaginary Words

Made-up words by Roald Dahl

Made-up words created by Roald Dahl. Image from Hexjam.

Stinkiroopop! Gobblefunk! Spitzwiggled! Roald Dahl was notorious for inventing words which he placed wonderfully in his books. If you’ve ever read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, you’ll know a few imaginary words already. For this next nature poem activity, this is what the kids will do:

  • Think about an imaginary word
  • Write it on a piece of paper
  • Use it in a poem about nature.

Your turn!

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Revel in Revolting Rhymes

Write Nature Poems like Roald Dahl - Revolting Rhymes

The Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Image by Quentin Blake.

“Revolting Rhymes” is a collection of folk tale spoofs that turns traditional tales on their heads with comic verse for children. The six stories featured in Revolting Rhymes are Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and The Three Little Pigs. Here are the instructions for this activity:

  • Pick one of the six stories featured in “Revolting Rhymes”
  • Replace the main character with an element of nature nearby (leaf, river, tree, cow dung, etc.)
  • Write a short rhyming couplet in the spirit of that story. Warning: has to be absurd and unexpected, revolting if at all possible!

There, that’s your own revolting nature rhyme.

Describe Delightful Dirty Beasts

Write nature poems like Roald Dahl - Dirty Beasts

Chambersbury Primary School fun exercise on the good, the bad and the ugly, here based on Roald Dahl’s “Dirty Beasts.”

Written as a follow-up to “Revolting Rhymes,” Dirty Beasts” is a collection of funny poems on disgusting beasts such as the rumbling Tummy Beast, a not-as-stupid-as-he-looks pig, and the oh-so-vile Crocky-Wock the crocodile. For this activity, here’s what to do:

  • Find an animal in nature around you (creepy crawlies and slimy creatures work great). If you don’t have any wild beasts around, think of your pet or if you don’t have a pet, an animal (real or not) you’d like to own.
  • Write a poem to that animal, describing it with disgusting attributes or manners.
  • Illustrate the poem with a drawing.

Your turn!

Write a Medicine Recipe like George

Write nature poems like Roald Dahl - Medicine Recipe

Secret recipe for your wish to come true. From Stuff Kids Write.

Right. This one should come with a “don’t do tis at home!” warning. “George’s Marvellous Medicine” is a book about a a young boy who makes magic medicine to replace his grandmother’s horrid old medicine. The book came with warning to readers, “Warning to Readers: Do not try to make George’s Marvelous Medicine yourselves at home. It could be dangerous.” Of course it would! Deodorant, shampoo and floor polish are not exactly safe to drink. For this activity, here is what to do:

  • Write a medicine recipe using elements of nature that are around you.
  • Write it like a recipe, using the following words: stir, measure, slice, blend, rinse, simmer, combine, melt, add, mix, bake, pour, serve, taste, enjoy.
  • Don’t forget to give your medicine a super duper yummy name! (That would be the title.)

Voila, my dears, a few ideas to write nature poems in the spirit of Roald Dahl. I hope you’ll have fun!

More on Poetry

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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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