Do your boys hate tea and don’t see the point of poetry? Do they revolt against “teatime” and want to play outside instead? You may love poetry teatime, but that doesn’t mean the whole family will—at least not right away! Read on for some ideas to make your Poetry Teatime more welcoming for boys.
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Here at Brave Writer, we think teatime is perfect for everyone: boys and girls, moms and dads, grandparents and random passers-by. Sometimes, though, it can be a challenge to get boys to enjoy teatime. There's the myth that "teatime is for girls," and not everyone likes poetry, either. This can make poetry teatime a nightmare combination that provokes complaints instead of fun.
If you’ve got kids who don’t love poetry, never fear. We’ve got you covered with all sorts of ideas for mixing up your teatime so that everyone in the family will want to join. While this post is geared towards boys, if anyone in the family is reluctant to read poetry, this post is for you. Just take the ideas that you like and make your teatime easier and more fun for everyone!
This is one of the most important ways to draw your reluctant kiddos into teatime. Everyone loves to laugh, including poets! Some of our favorite funny poetry collections are listed below. As a bonus, most humorous poems are packed with silly sounds, revolting rhymes, and rambunctious rhythms to keep everyone entertained.
It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles, by Jack Prelutsky
A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
A Bad Case of the Giggles: Poems That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud, edited by Bruce Lansky
Poetry for Young People: Lewis Carroll, edited by Edward Mendelson
The Complete Nonsense Book, by Edward Lear
Play with Poetry
If you’ve got kids that love competition, then go ahead and make your teatime a game! There are all sorts of puzzle and riddle poetry books out there. Compete against each other or work in teams to see who can figure out the meaning of the riddle or puzzle first. Or set up a contest to see who can read a poem the fastest, quietest, or in the best Scottish accent.
Riddle-lightful: Oodles of Little Riddle-Poems, by J. Patrick Lewis
When Riddles Come Rumbling: Poems to Ponder, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems, by J. Patrick Lewis
Switch the Location
If you normally have a teatime around your dining room table, try taking it outside! Set up a blanket on the grass outside and read poems where everyone has room to wiggle and breathe. Or, try a cafe or a local park for your next teatime. You can even set up a blanket fort in your living room and read poems by flashlight!
Read Icky Sticky Oozy Messy Poetry
One of the most fun types of poems are those that celebrate messiness. Lots of poems contain stinky smells, wriggling worms, jiggling slime, and eyeballs bouncing uncannily off the page. If this doesn’t gross you out, it can be a great opportunity to get even the messiest of your boys out of the mud and into poetry!
Bugs: Poems about Creeping Things, by David L. Harrison
Vile Verses, by Roald Dahl
What’s for Dinner?: Quirky, Squirmy Poems from the Animal World, by Katherine B. Hauth
Making Friends with Frankenstein: A Book of Monstrous Poems & Pictures, by Colin McNaughton
Act It Out!
One of the trickiest parts of Poetry Teatime is actually getting everyone sit still long enough to read poems. Why not try making your teatime more active instead? Have the person reading the poem perform it while standing and using dramatic voices and gestures. If you know the poems well enough, you can play charades and have the audience guess what poem you’re trying to act out. You can also concoct a series of Simon-says style challenges: read the poem while hopping on one leg, read from under a piece of furniture, or read hot-potato style and pass the book around the circle.
Find Poems that Tell Stories
If you’ve been reading shorter poems that talk about nature or reflect on life, why not switch to longer poems that tell a story? Everyone loves storytelling, and long poems tell some of the most exciting stories ever! Epic poems can be great, too, if your kids are looking for some long-drawn-out conflict and advanced-level storytelling. The first few poems on this list are fun for all ages, while “Ulysses” and The Odyssey are ideal for older kids.
The Tale of Custard the Dragon, by Ogden Nash
The Dangerous Journey (Moomin Valley), by Tove Jansson
Paul Revere’s Ride, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Let Them Choose
Do your kids not like tea? Go for hot chocolate! Is there a snack that they love? Offer it during your teatime as a special occasion. Let them choose where and when they want to have teatime, whether a picnic at noon, a campfire at night, or tent in the living room. Above all, let them choose what they want to read. Go for their favorites if they’ve found any. Read a story they love if there aren’t any poems they want to read.
Don’t Force It
Teatime, like the rest of the Brave Writer lifestyle, is supposed to be fun for everyone. If your kids are continually resistant and don’t want to try it, then don’t force it. Do what comes naturally to your family. Let the kids lead you to want they want and maybe someday they’ll come back to teatime.
For more ideas, be sure to check out these themed teatimes from Poetry Teatime:
Other Poetry Books for Boys
Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
Every Thing On It, by Shel Silverstein
Monster Museum, by Marilyn Singer
Grr!: Dinos, Dragons, and Other Beastie Poems, by James Carter and Graham Denton
Big Book of Bad Things, by Michael Rosen
Guyku: A Book of Haiku for Boys, by Bob Raczka
Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech
Truckery Rhymes, by Jon Scieszka