Preschool Poems to Read Aloud and Recite
When choosing poems for preschool children to read aloud or recite, two words spring to mind; short and simple. Young minds will grasp certain poems and hold them dear, while utterly rejecting others which seem equally appealing to a parent or carer. So be prepared to try a few (and perhaps quite a few more) before you discover the poems that your child really enjoys. I'm much less confident of my recommendation for the preschool age group than for older children, but experience shows there are certain types and styles of poem that appeal particularly to young readers:
- Animal Poems
Poems about animals, whether domestic or wild, are perennial favourites with the preschool age group. After you've endured your hundredth rendition of Old Macdonald Had A Farm, you'll be pleased to discover that is a wealth of other animal poetry for your little dears to recite.
- Nursery Rhyme Parodies
Children can enjoy reciting nursery rhymes parodies without an understanding of the concept of parody. Indeed, nursery rhyme parodies are amongst the easiest poems, as the underlying rhyme will usually be familiar. Learn the variant version and you've a quick and easy performance piece.
- Action Poems
Nothing brings a poem to life for a child more than the opportunity to embellish the recitation with actions.
Some poems require actions for every element of the poem, but children enjoy quite as much a conventional poetry recital which ends with a single, unexpected, coup de theatre.
This is my selection of the best poems for preschool children to read aloud or recite. The poems are short, easy to learn and, if not classically funny, feature the absurdity and scatological humour beloved by preschoolers.
A Farmyard Animal Poem
A very simple poem which can be learnt in minutes and isn't easily forgotten.
Is that you?
A horse goes neigh
A cow goes moo
A sheep goes baa
A pig goes poo…
…what's that smell?
I think it's you!
A grimace and pinching of the nose at the What's that smell? line and pointing to a potentially smelly member of the audience at the end add enormously to the poems comic impact.
A Nursery Rhyme Parody With Actions
Based on the popular nursery rhyme, Humpty is an action rhyme with an explosive ending.
Sat on a wall
But Humpty Dumpty
Felt too tall
Next Humpty Dumpty
Sat on the floor
But Humpty Dumpty
Felt too small
So Humpty Dumpty
Sat on the fence
Aware of the dire Health and Safety warnings accompanying the Humpty poem, I'd suggest that a chair is used to represent the wall in the first verse, that the child sits on the floor in the second verse and then positions themselves delicately on an imaginary mid-height fence to finish, accompanied by the loudest ouch imaginable.
An All Action Poem
The next poem is short, action packed and very easy for young children to learn.
Come out dripping
Accompany the recitation with appropriate action for running, jumping, hopping and then follow it with an exaggerated trip into a puddle and crawl back out, shaking off all the water, to conclude. If you're planning to use this piece in a formalised nursery or preschool setting, I'd love to see the risk assessment for it!
More Poems for Preschool Kids
The collection includes quite a few more poems which are suitable for children aged 3 to 5. These are some of my favourites:
- A Knotty Problem
A poem about a giraffe, a scarf and how the two don't really mix
- Bar Humbug
The tale of a disastrous shopping trip accompanied by a pet zebra
- Dinosaur School Days
Kate is a dinosaur who always arrives at school at least a bit late
- Batman Comes Undone
Even superheroes have days when things don't go quite as planned
- Muse to a Mermaid
Meet a mischievious, misbehaving mermaid from the depths
- Magic or Tragic?
A fairy princess suffers an embarrassing sartorial accident
A completely bonkers poem, in every sense of the word
- Little Miss
An updated version of the Little Miss Muffet nursery rhyme
And don't forget to vist the cute and cuddly Christmas poems, which offers a feast of festive poems for the under fives.