I have three boys and my husband works a lot so I’m almost always on my own for dinner time and bath time and it can sometimes get nuts! I’ve mentioned before how sitting down to read calms my brood. But during dinner and bath time, it’s not that easy to curl up and read a good book. So one of the things we’ve started doing lately is poetry. It’s a great way to get your kids to learn those classic nursery rhymes as well as work on rhyming words and comprehension. I also teach my kids seasonal poems that they may not have heard before.
So while we’re eating dinner, if things start getting a little wild, I’ll start reciting a poem. I’ll pause at the end of some of the lines and my boys chime in. Sometimes we take turns and sometimes we all say the poems together. They love it! Once we get going, one of them will say, “Ok, my turn! I have one now!” and they’ll start a poem and the rest of us chime in.
We extend this by singing some songs (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Row Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) that have rhyming to them too. We talk about how poems are similar to songs because they have a rhythm. We also talk about the poems and whether or not they could actually happen. We talk about how authors put silly words sometimes just to make the poem rhyme. We also talk about the rhyming words and try to come up with our own. I also change the poems sometimes to include my boys’ names or things we’re doing. For example, “One, two, Max is eating stew. Three, four, I bet he wants more!” They love this too and then try to make up their own…which don’t always work out perfectly but we have fun doing it.
It’s a lot of fun and it keeps us all engaged in a positive way. I’d love to sit down with my five, three, and one year old and have stimulating conversations at dinner each night (and sometimes we do) but when things start falling apart, I try to find ways to keep us all happy and eating while having a good time too.