Nature Poetry With Kids

Cover Image Nature Poetry for Kids/ a person writing outside

Growing up, I found that I hated poetry. It seemed so pretentious (I didn’t know that word at the time, but I knew how I felt about it.) However, nature poetry with kids doesn’t need to be formal or even stick to all the rules. It is a chance to get your students outside, be creative and play with words. As children explore poetry, they explore the boundaries of language and then figure out ways to stretch those boundaries through creative expression. Essentially, poetry is a fun and creative way to allow kids to play with language. Including poetry in your nature study also allows you to meet some of your curriculum outcomes while your students explore outside.

Throughout history, nature has been one of the primary topics for art and poetry. Through poetry, students can spend time outdoors observing and learning about a subject, or many subjects from nature. They are then challenged to take their observations and express them creatively through whatever poetry format they choose. Because poems are short and can be written quickly, students don’t have to worry about getting hung up on some of the formalities of long-form essays or short stories. They can simply follow the form of the poem, do some editing, and feel successful in their creations. 

Why Nature Poetry…​

Nature Poetry Allows Students to Connect with Nature ​

Writing nature poetry requires your students to spend time observing their desired subjects in nature. Additionally, students can bring their own understandings to their poetry through brainstorming what they know about a particular topic prior to writing. This time spent in observation and planning allows students to build an understanding of and connection to the topic that they choose to write about. Additionally, the concise form of some poems requires students to be careful and creative in their word choices that they use to describe the quality or character of something from nature. 

Nature Poetry Helps Students Learn Observation Skills​

Poetry requires students to carefully observe and understand what they are writing about. They then get to express what they have discovered about what they are studying through their poems. This allows students to bring their own flair and understanding of the world to their poetry.  

Nature Poetry Provides Opportunities for Creativity and Expression​

Nature Poetry Provides Opportunities for Creativity and Expression​Poems allow students to be creative and intentional with their word choice. If students are using a specific form of poetry, such as Haiku, the number of syllables required for each line also requires students to be very specific in their wording. Students may have to look for synonyms for words or be creative in how they organize their phrases.  

Poems are Short and Intentional​

For some students, the idea of writing a short story or longer essay can be daunting. Poetry allows students to express an idea in a short period of time. They can summarize their thoughts on the subject and present them in a concise and meaningful way without having to write multiple pages of work. The precise format of some poems, such as biography poems, also helps to alleviate some of the writer’s block that many students experience. 

kids examining a caterpillar

How to Get Started With Nature Poems…​

Spend Time Observing and Brainstorming​

Students will need to spend time in nature observing and understanding what they would like to write about. In writing about a subject from nature, students get to know that subject intimately. They can spend time understanding it’s movements, colours, shape, character, or personality. The more time they spend observing, the better their description of their subject will be.

Before writing, students will also need to spend some time brainstorming what they know about their subject. They may want to brainstorm adjectives that describe the subject, facts that they already know about it, or synonyms for the subject. This will help the student in developing more clarity in their description and expression.

Share Examples With Your Students​

Find examples of nature poetry that you find really interesting and meaningful to share with your students. Try to find poems that are at a level that your students will understand and connect with. You can discuss what you like about these poems with your students or have them share their own thoughts on the poems. 

Write Practice Poems​

The concise nature of the poems allows students to create many poems or many different versions of the same poem. It allows students to play with their words and descriptions until they find a final product that they love. Students can write multiple poems in a very short period of time. 

Share Poems and Gather Feedback​

Give students the opportunity to share their poems with their peers and their teachers to gather feedback. Students may share what they like about the poem, what needs work or doesn’t make sense, and suggestions that they have for word choices. If your students are new to peer editing you may need to model how to be kind and positive in giving feedback. 

Publish and Celebrate​

Once students are ready, they can choose the poems or versions of the poems that they want to share with the world. Give students the opportunity to publish their poems on fancy paper or to type them on the computer. Students may also wish to illustrate their poems. 

You may also want to celebrate your students poetry through having a poetry coffee house for another class or your families (bonus points if it is an outdoor coffee house!) You could also “publish” a poem book, or post the works on your digital portfolios or classroom blog/website. We want our students to feel proud about their creative endeavours and share them with the world!

a boy celebrating in tall grass

Types of Poetry for Nature Connection…​

There are so many different types of poems that you can choose from to help your students dive into nature connection through poetry. Some forms of poetry allow students to be creative and to be more flexible in their approach. Other forms help students work on parts of speech or work with syllables. However you choose to direct your students, allow them to have fun and spend time outdoors in nature while they do their writing. (I wrote all of the examples included. I do not claim to be a poet so please don’t be overly critical of the poems. I just wanted to be able to include some examples!) 

List Poems and 5 Senses Poems​

List poems are great starter poems for younger students. Their format is very simple and allows the student to simply “list,” the qualities, characteristics, or observations of the subject of their poem. The poem starts with _______ is… and then each consecutive line of the poem is simply a single word or a a phrase that adds to the description.

5 Senses Poems are similar to list poems. In the 5 Senses Poem students list descriptions of their subject based on each each of the 5 senses, rather than just simply creating a list. You can choose to structure the poem to support younger students by providing the start of each line (example: I hear…) or you may choose to allow students to structure the poem as they see fit. 

List Poem Example​

A Tree is…

5 Senses Poem Example​

Pine Tree
Green and tall
Branches crackling in the wind
Smelling fresh and clean
Needles, sharp and pokey
Tasting cold and bitter
a boy looking up at a tree

Acrostics and Alphabet Poems​

Acrostic and alphabet poems are another great intro into poetry. These are fun ways to get your students to think creatively and really play with language within the structure of the poem. 

Acrostic poems require students to choose a topic to write about and then write the subject vertically down the left side of the page. The student must then choose a word or a phrase that starts with each letter of the the subject. 

Alphabet poems are similar to Acrostic poems, but require a bit more effort and creativity. In alphabet poems students choose a subject. They must then also think of a word or phrase from each letter of the alphabet to describe the subject. 

Acrostic Poem Example​

Tall, stretching to the sky
Reaching the clouds
Every leaf is blowing in the wind
Excited to greet the sun
a person writing in a notebook


The Haiku poem is a very concise form of poetry. The Haiku is only 3 lines long with each line having a specific number of syllables. Haiku poems challenge students to choose words carefully so that they fit within the syllable parameters of each line.

Haiku Poem Format:
Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables

Haiku Examples​

Fall Leaves
Dancing in the wind (5 syllables)
Leaves spinning, falling, swirling (7 syllables)
Fall leaves softly land (5 syllables)
Hiding in the trees
Moving among the shadows
Cautiously watching
a person writing in a notebook outdoors

Biography poems​

Traditionally biography poems are written about a person. However, I like to adapt them so that students can write about a topic from nature. These are 11 line poems where each line represents a specific aspect or answers a specific question about the topic. 

Line 1: What you are choosing to write about (the subject)
Line 2: 4 words that describe your subject
Line 3: 2 things that you think your subject likes
Line 4: 3 things that your subject needs
Line 5: Something that your subject gives to us or the earth
Line 6: Something that your subject would wish for
Line 7: Something that you think your subject fears
Line 8: Something you think your subject feels
Line 9: What you admire about your subject
Line 10: Where your subject is found
Lines 11: Your own idea

Biography Poem Example​

Tall, Strong, Beautiful, Green
Likes warm sunshine and cool rain
Needs space, water, and light
Gives us shade and shelter
Wishes for summer to never end
Fears the lumber company
Feels strong and proud
I admire it’s peace and beauty
Found in the forest or in your yard
Providing habitat for many birds and animals
kids sharing a book outside

Cinquain Poem​

A Cinquain Poem is a 5 line poem that helps students learn about the parts of speech. Similar to the Biography poem, each line of the poem represents a different specific descriptor of the subject. 

Cinquain Poem Form:
Line 1: Noun (this is the subject of your poem)
Line 2: Two adjectives that describe the noun/subject
Line 3: 3 verbs that relate to your subject
Line 4: 4 words that tell your feelings about the subject
Line 5: A synonym for your subject

Cinquain Poem Example​

Shy, sly
Stalking, hiding, hunting
Just out of sight
a teacher reading to a group of students outside

Diamante Poem​

Diamante poems are fun and visually appealing. The finished product resembles the shape of a diamond. Each line of the poem represents something specific about the subject of the poem. Similar to the Cinquain, it teaches students about the parts of speech and helps them to organize them in a fun and creative way.  

Diamante Poem Form:
Line 1: 1 word – noun (this is the subject of your poem)
Line 2: 2words- adjectives that describe the noun/subject
Line 3: 3 words- verbs that relate to your subject
Line 4: 4 words- nouns related to your subject
Line 5: 3 words- verbs that relate to your subject
Line 6: 2 words- adjectives that describe your subject
Line 7: 1 word- noun (synonym for the subject)

Diamante Poem Example​

Beautiful, majestic
Blowing, swaying, waving
Leaves, branches, trunk, bark
Growing, standing, protecting
Strong, Tall

a boy laying in the grass thinking

Now Get Outside and Write Some Nature Poetry​

Poetry doesn’t need to be stuffy or formal. It can be fun and creative and a great way for your students to connect with nature. Take some time to get outside with your students and explore nature in and around your school yard. There are so many great poetry subjects to discover. Insects, plants, and animals, dirt, you name it. Challenge your students to find what interests them and have them create some imaginative and creative poems. If you need some inspiration, check out this poetry kit!

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