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
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.
Make Up Imaginary Words
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.
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Revel in Revolting Rhymes
“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
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.
Write a Medicine Recipe like George
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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- Fun Poetry Activities for Kids from iGameMom
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- Apps for Creating Poetry with Kids from Parenting Chaos
- Poetry Printable Copywork for Kids from The Natural Homeschool
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