30 Short Poems for Kids

Poetry for children can be amusing, silly, or rhyming -- anything that gets them interested.

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    Nursery rhymes, song lyrics, Dr. Seuss books — without realizing it, we are surrounded by poetry every day. Poems can make children laugh, but more than that, they can help with cognitive development.

    Short poems for kids can help your child understand patterns, which aids the brain in learning to process and retain information (1). Poems can even help with the development of speech (2). Plus, children enjoy poetry when it’s age-appropriate.

    Funny Poems for Kids

    Funny poems are an excellent starting point when you begin to share poetry with kids. Whether it’s wordplay that makes the poem funny or a joke or a twist at the end, these poems will tickle their funny bone and encourage them to recite it.


    Once there was an elephant,
    Who tried to use the telephant—
    No! No! I mean an elephone
    Who tried to use the telephone—

    (Dear me! I am not certain quite
    That even now I’ve got it right.)
    Howe’er it was, he got his trunk
    Entangled in the telephunk;

    The more he tried to get it free,
    The louder buzzed the telephee—
    (I fear I’d better drop the song
    Of elephop and telephong!)

    — Laura Elizabeth Richard

    At the Zoo

    First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black;
    Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
    Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
    Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
    Then I saw the elephant a-waving of his trunk;
    Then I saw the monkeys – mercy, how unpleasantly they smelt!

    — William Makepeace Thackeray

    The Purple Cow

    I never saw a purple cow,
    I never hope to see one,
    But I can tell you, anyhow,
    I’d rather see than be one!

    — Gelett Burgess

    Our Kittens

    Our kittens have the softest fur,
    And the sweetest little purr,
    And such little velvet paws
    With such cunning little claws,
    And blue eyes, just like the sky!
    (Must they turn green, by and by?)

    Two are striped like tigers, three
    Are as black as black can be,
    And they run so fast and play
    With their tails, and are so gay,
    Is it not a pity that
    Each must grow into a cat?

    — Evaleen Stein

    The Picture-Book Giant

    Once there was a fierce, defiant,
    Greedy, grumpy, grizzly giant
    In the pages of a picture-book, and he
    Sometimes screamed, in sudden rages,
    “I must jump out from these pages,
    For this life’s a much too humdrum one for me!
    Yes, this life’s a quite too quiet one for me!”

    So one rainy day he did it,
    Took the picture-book and hid it,
    Stamped his foot, and shouting loudly,
    “Now I’m free!”
    Boldly started out, forgetting
    That he could not stand a wetting!
    He was just a paper giant, don’t you see?
    Dearie me!
    Just a gaudy, picture giant, don’t you see?

    — Evaleen Stein


    Who Slammed Doors For Fun And Perished Miserably

    A trick that everyone abhors
    In little girls is slamming doors.
    A wealthy banker’s little daughter
    Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
    (By name Rebecca Offendort),
    Was given to this furious sport.

    She would deliberately go
    And slam the door like billy-o!
    To make her uncle Jacob start.
    She was not really bad at heart,
    But only rather rude and wild;
    She was an aggravating child…

    — Hilaire Belloc

    Rhyming Poems for Kids

    Rhyming poetry gives children the opportunity to anticipate what’s coming next and sometimes have the satisfaction of being right.

    Most nursery rhymes are basic rhyming poems. Beyond that, there are endless examples of rhyming poems for kids, some more modern than others.

    A Million Little Diamonds

    A million little diamonds
    Twinkled on the trees;
    And all the little children cried,
    “A jewel, if you please!”

    But while they held their hands outstretched
    To catch the diamonds gay,
    A million little sunbeams came
    And stole them all away.

    — Mary Frances Butts

    Room For One More

    There is always room for one more
    I see by his coat he must be a stray,
    The untidy look gives him away.
    He’s lost his will and is so thin,
    Hasn’t eaten since God knows when.
    I know as I coax him through the door,
    There’s always room for just one more.

    — Author Unknown

    The Forest

    The forest is the town of trees
    Where they live quite at their ease,
    With their neighbors at their side
    Just as we in cities wide.

    — by Annette Wynne

    Robin Redbreast

    Goodbye, goodbye to Summer!
    For Summer’s nearly done;
    The garden smiling faintly,
    Cool breezes in the sun;

    Our Thrushes now are silent,
    Our Swallows flown away –
    But Robin’s here, in coat of brown,
    With ruddy breast-knot gay.

    Robin, Robin Redbreast,
    O Robin dear!
    Robin singing sweetly
    In the falling of the year.

    — William Allingham

    The Cow

    The friendly cow, all red and white,
    I love with all my heart:
    She gives me cream with all her might,
    To eat with apple tart.

    She wanders lowing here and there,
    And yet she cannot stray,
    All in the pleasant open air,
    The pleasant light of day;

    And blown by all the winds that pass
    And wet with all the showers,
    She walks among the meadow grass
    And eats the meadow flowers.

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

    What is Pink?

    What is pink? A rose is pink
    By the fountain’s brink.
    What is red? A poppy’s red
    In its barley bed.

    What is blue? The sky is blue
    Where the clouds float through.
    What is white? A swan is white
    Sailing in the light.

    What is yellow? Pears are yellow,
    Rich and ripe and mellow.
    What is green? The grass is green,
    With small flowers between.

    What is violet? Clouds are violet
    In the summer twilight.
    What is orange? Why, an orange,
    Just an orange!

    — Christina Rossetti

    Ladybird Ladybird

    Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
    The field mouse is gone to her nest
    The daisies have shut up their sleepy red eyes
    And the birds and the bees are at rest

    Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
    The glow worm is lighting her lamp
    The dew’s falling fast, and your fine speckled wings
    Will flag with the close clinging damp

    Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
    The fairy bells tinkle afar
    Make haste or they’ll catch you and harness you fast
    With a cobweb to Oberon’s star.

    — Author Unknown

    Famous Short Poems for Kids

    There is both modern and classical children’s poetry available. The issue of copyright prevents us from including some of the best modern children’s poetry, but you can find examples from poets such as Roald Dahl, Shel Silverstein, and Jacqueline Woodson all over the internet.

    Here are some of our favorite classical examples.

    When I Was One

    When I was one,
    I had just begun.
    When I was two,
    I was nearly new.
    When I was three,
    I was hardly me.
    When I was four,
    I was not much more.
    When I was five,
    I was just alive.
    But now I am six,
    I’m as clever as clever.
    So I think I’ll be six
    Now and forever.

    — A.A. Milne

    My Shadow

    I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
    And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
    He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
    And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

    The funniest things about him is the way he likes to grow-
    Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
    For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India rubber ball,
    And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

    He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
    And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
    He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
    I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

    One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
    I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
    But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
    Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

    Old Mother Hubbard

    Old Mother Hubbard
    Went to the cupboard,
    To give the poor dog a bone;
    When she came there
    The cupboard was bare,
    And so the poor dog had none.

    — Author Unknown

    As I Was Going To St. Ives

    As I was going to St. Ives
    I met a man with seven wives
    Every wife had seven sacks
    Every sack had seven cats
    Every cat had seven kits
    Kits, cats, sacks, wives
    How many were going to St. Ives?

    — Author Unknown

    Hey Diddle Diddle

    Hey diddle diddle,
    The Cat and the fiddle,
    The Cow jumped over the moon,
    The little Dog laughed to see such sport,
    And the Dish ran away with the Spoon.

    — Author Unknown

    Silly Poems for Kids

    The beauty of silly poems for kids is that they can stimulate different thought processes as well as dissolve your little ones into puddles of giggles.

    In our first silly poem for kids, there are some actions, through which your child can join in and play along. These actions are in brackets, after the relevant line.

    I’m a Little Teapot

    I’m a little teapot
    Short and stout
    Here is my handle (one hand on hip)
    Here is my spout (other arm out straight)

    When I get all steamed up
    Hear me shout
    “Tip me over
    and pour me out!” (lean over toward spout)

    I’m a clever teapot,
    Yes, it’s true
    Here let me show you
    What I can do
    I can change my handle
    And my spout (switch arm positions)
    Just tip me over and pour me out! (lean over toward spout)

    — George Harold Sanders

    There Once Was A Man With A Beard

    There was an Old Man with a beard,
    Who said “It is just how I feared,”
    Two Owls and a hen,
    For Larks and a wren,
    Have all built their nests in my beard

    — Edward Lear

    There Was A Young Lady Whose Eyes

    There was a young lady whose eyes,
    Were unique as to color and size,
    When she opened them wide,
    People all turned aside,
    And then ran away in surprise.

    — Edward Lear

    Mother’s Day Poems for Kids

    Mother’s Day poems for kids are often short and sweet.

    This makes them excellent not only for reciting, but for putting inside or on a Mother’s Day card or craft.

    Dear Mother

    Dear mother, your love is special,
    I cannot help but show.
    Like flowers in a garden,
    Your love makes me grow.

    — Author Unknown

    I Love My Mommy

    I love my mommy, yessiree!
    She is very good to me!
    She makes me cookies and yummy treats,
    That’s my mom and she’s real neat!

    Oh, oh, oh, who wouldn’t know?
    Oh, oh, oh, who wouldn’t know?
    I love my mommy and she loves me,
    That’s the way it’s supposed to be!

    — Author Unknown

    Dear Mother

    You sew the buttons on my clothes
    You give me a hankie for my nose
    You make good things for me to eat
    You buy me candy for a treat
    You wash my clothes and mend my socks
    Dear Mother, I love you lots and lots!

    — Author Unknown

    Christmas Poems for Kids

    Google Christmas poems for kids and you’ll find page after page of Christmas songs, carols, and the like.

    We’ve included some lesser-known children’s poems for Christmas, along with some of the actions for those interactive rhymes. Just remember not to read the words in brackets!

    Christmas Is Coming

    Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
    Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat;
    If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’ penny will do,
    If you haven’t got a ha’ penny then God bless you!

    — Author Unknown

    When Santa Comes To Our House

    When Santa comes to our house (hands point to roof)
    I would like to peek (peek through fingers)
    But I know he’ll never come (shake head no)
    Until I’m fast asleep (tilt and rest head on hands together)

    Isn’t it the strangest thing
    That Santa is so shy
    We can never, never catch him
    No matter how we try

    — Author Unknown

    Peppermint Stick

    I took a lick of my peppermint stick (pretend to lick candy)
    And was it ever yummy (lick lips and rub your belly)
    It used to be on my Christmas tree (form tree shape with hands)
    But now, it’s in my tummy (Point to belly)

    — Author Unknown

    Easter Poems for Kids

    Use these poems in the weeks before Easter.

    Enjoy plenty of fun, laughter, and bunny-focused dance moves before the real Easter bunny comes to make his chocolatey deliveries.

    Hot Cross Buns

    Hot cross buns!
    Hot cross buns!
    One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
    Hot cross buns!
    If you have no daughters,
    Give them to your sons
    One ha’ penny,
    Two ha’ penny,
    Hot Cross Buns!

    — Author Unknown

    Easter Is Here

    Easter time at last is here
    Bunnies, chickies, let us cheer
    (clap and cheer)
    Easter Bunny hops with joy
    Eggs for every girl and boy
    (hop around)
    Easter time at last is here
    Bunnies, chickies, let us cheer

    — Author Unknown

    I’m An Easter Bunny

    Here is a bunny (raise two fingers and bend them)
    With ears so funny
    And here is a hole in the ground. (make hole with the fingers of the other hand)
    At the first sound she hears,
    She pricks up her ears (straighten fingers)
    And pops right into the ground. (put fingers in hole)

    I’m an Easter Bunny, watch me hop, (hop around)
    Here are my two ears, see how they flop. (hold hands at sides of head and flop them)
    Here is my cottontail, here is my nose, (wiggle hips, then point to nose)
    I’m all furry from my head to my toes. (point to head, then to toes)

    — Author Unknown

    How To Choose Poems For Kids

    If you’re unsure about how to find suitable poems for children, here are some tips that will help:

    • When you are choosing poems for children, look for examples of poetry that cover familiar topics.
    • Don’t break out the abstract, freeform poetry to share with your children. Stick to poems that rhyme and have a simple, clear, distinct rhythm.
    • The poems you choose can encourage wordplay. That stimulates your child to see words and the way they are used in a different fashion.
    • Your poems of choice should be vivid and allow your child to create a clear mental picture of what’s going on.
    • With young children, the sillier or the funnier the poem is, the better.
    • With younger children, poems that can be accompanied by physical actions are an excellent way to help “paint the picture.”
    • Think about attention spans. The poems here are short enough to keep your child interested right to the end.

    Tips for Teaching Your Kids Poetry

    To help teach your kids poetry, we’ve put together our best hints and tips.

    • Make it fun. Don’t sit your child down and inform them they’re going to learn some poems. Instead, introduce them casually.
    • If you are going to read a new poem to your child, be sure to run through it so you can read it aloud, without hesitation, and not ruin the experience for you both.
    • Use an expressive voice when you’re reading your child a poem. Different voices for characters, the appropriate emotions, raising your voice or lowering it where appropriate will all enhance the experience.
    • For older kids, have them choose a favorite song, and recite them as a poem. They’ll discover they already know plenty of poetry.
    • Use poems in artwork, crafts, and other places so they are an everyday feature. That way, when the time comes for your child to learn about poetry at school, they’ll have a headstart in poetry appreciation.
    • Dress up as a character in the poem you’re reciting. That will increase their interest.
    • Make it age-appropriate. For toddlers, stick to a poem with four or six lines.

    The Last, Non-Rhyming, Word

    Just the word poetry can be an instant turn-off for some people, but don’t let it put you off.

    Sharing poems with your child can help you bond, aid their development, and it can be a whole lot of fun.

    So use some of our poems or find some of your own, and discover short poems for kids — you’ll be glad you did.

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    About the Author

    Patricia Barnes

    Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.
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