Reading poetry with children is a great method for introducing nature concepts in a fun way, especially short poems that are easy to memorize.
Some nature poems are silly and make us giggle by exploring rhyming nature words like “Rhyme” by Elizabeth Coatsworth. Other poems take a more classic approach and allow us to reflect on different aspects of nature like seasons or life cycles, such as “Song of Spring” by John Keats.
Below you will find lots of short and sweet poems for children of all ages to enjoy – some on the silly side and some on the classic poetry side.
Before we dive into the poetry, let’s review a few of the benefits and tips for reading poetry with children.
Benefits of Reading Poetry with Children
Besides being a fun way to learn about nature, poetry can help develop literacy skills. According to Scholastic, reading poems to children can have the following benefits:
- Introduces rhyming sounds
- Develops vocabulary
- Introduces literary concepts like metaphors and alliteration
- Increases memorization skills
Tips for Reading Poetry with Kids
As you read these poems, try to incorporate these tips to get the most out of the learning experience.
- Read the poem more than once
- Emphasize the rhyming words
- Explain any words or phrases children may not know
- Ask your child if the poem reminds them of anything they have seen before in nature
- Discuss how the poem makes you feel
- Use these poems for inspiration for writing your own nature poetry
Short & Silly Nature Poems
On to the poetry! These short and silly poems are so fun to read aloud with your kids.
By Unknown Author
Rain on the green grass,
And rain on the tree,
And rain on the housetop,
But not upon me!
By Polly Chase Boyden
Mud is very nice to feel
All squishy-squash between the toes!
I’d rather wade in wiggly mud
Than smell a yellow rose.
Nobody else but the rosebush knows
How nice mud feels
Between the toes.
By Marchette Chute
Beneath the waters
Green and cool
The mermaids keep
A swimming school.
The oysters trot;
The lobsters prance;
The dolphins come
To join the dance.
But the jellyfish
Who are rather small,
Can’t seem to learn
The steps at all.
By Betty Sage
I think it is a funny thing
That some birds whistle, others sing.
The Warbler warbles in his throat,
The Sparrow only knows one note;
But he is better off than some,
For Humming Birds can only hum.
Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.
I’m Glad the Sky Is Painted Blue
By Unknown Author
I’m glad the sky is painted blue,
And the earth is painted green,
With such a lot of nice fresh air
All sandwiched in between.
By Elizabeth Coatsworth
I like to see a thunderstorm,
A dunder storm,
A blunder storm,
I like to see it, black and slow,
Come stumbling down the hill.
I like to hear a thunderstorm,
A plunder storm,
A wonder storm,
Roar loudly at our little house
And shake the window sills!
A Wee Little Worm
James Whitcomb Riley
A wee little worm in a Hickory nut
Sang, happy as he could be,
“O I live in the heart of the whole round world,
And it all belongs to me!”
By Joy Allison
“Here’s a warm sunbeam, Daisy, Daisy;
April sent it to wake you, dear!
How can you be so lazy, lazy?
Haven’t you heard that Spring is here?”
Daisy murmured, sleepy and surly:
“Spring’s too young yet—the air is cool;
I don’t believe in a sun so early,—
He’s just playing at April fool!”
Short & Classic Nature Poems
Although still short and sweet, these classic nature poems are geared toward slightly older children. For younger children, they can provide a great opportunity to expand a growing vocabulary!
Like A Bird
By Victor Hugo
Be like the bird, who
Halting in his flight
On limb too slight
Feels it give way beneath him,
Knowing he hath wings.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.
By Christina Rossetti
Brown and furry,
Caterpillar in a hurry;
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.
May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.
who are you, little i
By e. e. cummings
who are you, little i
(five or six years old)
peering from some high
window; at the gold
of november sunset
(and feeling that: if day
has to become night
this is a beautiful way)
The Little Rose Tree
by Rachel Field
Every rose on the little tree
Is making a different face at me!
Some look surprised when I pass by,
And others droop — but they are shy.
These two whose heads together press
Tell secrets I could never guess.
Some have their heads thrown back to sing,
And all the buds are listening.
I wonder if the gardener knows,
Or if he calls each just a rose?
By Edith King
The silken dandelion down
Sails off like a balloon,
I wish that I could mount on it
This breezy afternoon.
For it will glide o’er hedge and brook
Where I can never stray.
And then will anchor soft as dreams
In meadows far away.
Song of Spring
By John Keats
And O and O,
The daisies blow,
And the primroses are wakened;
And the violets white
Sit in silver light,
And in the green buds are long in the spike end.
What Are Heavy?
By Christina Rossetti
What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief? today and tomorrow:
What are frail? spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep? the ocean and truth.
Spring and Summer
By Dora Read Goodale
In Spring we note the breaking
Of every baby bud;
In Spring we note the waking
Of wild flowers of the wood;
In Summer’s fuller power,
In Summer’s deeper soul,
We watch no single flower,—
We see, we breathe the whole.
Happy Poetry Reading!
I hope you enjoy reading these nature poems with your budding nature explorers!
Which poem is your favorite? Any other special poems for children that would be a great addition to this list?
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