Haiku Poems for Kids

Benna Crawford
Child writing

Japanese Haiku is an elegant, timeless art form defined by the arrangement of syllables and the spare evocation of a concept, emotion or natural event. When written in English, the classic form is three lines of five, seven and five syllables. Because of its short form, Haiku is an ideal poetic style for kids of all ages. Show them some examples and set them loose to produce some Basho-like observations of the world.

Life and All That

The Haiku form can grab a hold of daily life and freeze moments you might otherwise miss. Humor makes even the worst events bearable and nothing at all is banal or boring when you spin it with some pithy kid philosophy.

Age Ten

I don't do dishes
My room is a garbage dump
Mom is not happy

School

My homework is late
Dog ate it before breakfast
Very helpful dog

Happy Birthday

It's your birthday but
Didn't get you anything
Kids are always broke

Laundry

Where are my clean socks?
These smell worse than rotten fish
Time to do laundry

Holidays

Annual celebrations are wonderful opportunities for kids to use Haiku on handmade cards. A handwritten Haiku makes a good bedroom door decoration, too. Poems can be printed on holiday dinner place cards or tucked into hollow plastic eggs for an Easter hunt.

Christmas

Santa is coming
He rewards good behavior
No presents for me

Halloween

Goblins, witches, ghosts
Loud banging on my front door
I hide the chocolate

4th of July

Colored lights bursting
Cherry bombs are my favorite
My dog hates the noise

Easter

Bunnies can't lay eggs
But they fill Easter baskets
Just leave them carrots

Seasonal/Nature

What worked for the sages captures the change of seasons just as well for the school-age set. Poems about nature that mark the passage of time are classic and can be added to photo albums and scrapbooks or used to separate sections of journals.

Winter

Snow is falling now
I am snug in my warm bed
Snow days are the best

Spring

Pale green shoots of grass
Bright hyacinths and tulips
Soon cherry blossoms

Summer

Sand in my swimsuit
Sunburn on my nose and back
Vacations are hard

Fall

Time to rake the leaves
And pick the biggest pumpkin
Carve him a mean face

Emotions

The brevity of the Haiku is ideal for distilling powerful emotions and finding some timeless perspective in them. Articulating emotion in a disciplined form helps to release it and makes it easier to observe with some detachment.

Grief

My boyfriend is gone
The gray sky weeps many tears
I am sad today

Anger

Tonight I'm a bee
Buzzing and darting about
Preparing to sting

Happiness

I got an A-plus
So Dad bought me an ice cream
My life is perfect

Hope

Little children laugh
Please give up your bombs and wars
We should live in peace

Finding Haiku Poems for Kids Online

Here are some cool places on the internet that can help you get your child, or a classroom full of eager young poets, interested in Haiku:

  • Giggle Poetry has a few Haiku poems for kids as well as detailed directions as to how to write a Haiku.
  • ABC Teach offers printable Haiku worksheets written by children. The wording and concepts are uncomplicated enough so children can easily grasp the stanza, syllables and metric phrases of Haiku.
  • PBS Kids is a great resource for Haiku poems, written using their favorite PBS cartoon characters.

Frogs are Forever

Haiku are very Zen. Just concentrating on writing one is a calming activity that's centered in the moment, reflective and mindful. A habit of Haiku can be a balancing strategy for a child that lasts a lifetime. Genius is found in the simple things. One of the ancient Japanese Haiku master Basho's most famous poems still delivers its powerful message after more than 350 years:

An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

So give those kids their shot at immortality. Get out a pen and paper, and prepare to be charmed, astonished, enlightened and entertained.

Haiku Poems for Kids