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 easy Haiku examples and set them loose.

Simple Haiku Poems About Life for Kids

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

Defining Haiku

Haiku is defined as a traditional Japanese form of poetry that began in the 9th century, but it is also considered a way of looking closely and the world beyond just its physical aspects and finding meaning. Other features of Haiku include:

  • Traditional Japanese Haikus contain moras, or sound units. In English, syllables are used rather than moras.
  • The structure of the lines has a 5-7- 5 mora or syllable structure. Modern American poets don't always use
  • It is designed to have strong imagery and a strong feeling.
  • A Haiku is typically focused on a single moment or event.

Tips for Writing Your Own Haiku Poems

Kids of almost any age can have fun experimenting with different ideas and concepts in poetry. If you're wondering how to write your own Haiku, consider the following tips, which could be helpful for writing or teaching Haiku:

  • Think about a specific moment or experience that left a strong impression on you. It can be based on any emotion - amusement, anger, fear, joy, happiness, excitement and so on.
  • Consider a favorite memory involving someone close to you like a friend of family member and think of a special time you shared for inspiration.
  • Brainstorm different adjectives that leave a strong impression to get creativity flowing.
  • Relax and think of ideas for your poem in a quiet space without the tv or radio. This will help you focus on the emotions you want to convey in your poem.
  • Use a magnifying glass to study something small in a quiet spot. For example, examining the details of a flower can create an emotional connection with the beauty of the natural world.
  • Look at photos of favorite places to get ideas for your poem.
  • Keep in mind Haiku is based on creativity. You can write anything from a funny Haiku poem to a sad one.
  • Read Haikus from the famous Japanese masters to get a feel for how it's done.

Haiku as a Life Skill

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.

Haiku Examples for Students Are Fun and Educational

Haiku examples for kids of any age can be fun to read, as well as being educational. Writing them can also spur their creativity and help them learn helpful life skills. 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