Hello and welcome to Virtual Kids Create! This is a self-paced version of the monthly kids day we host at the Poetry Center and includes age-appropriate language arts workshops for children from infancy to ten-years-old, developed by our incredible facilitators. January's theme is ekphrastic poems: poems that describe or are about works of visual art. The activities include read- and sing-a-longs, and creative writing exercises for pre-school and elementary students. Feel free to use this as a guide to create your own at-home, structured Kids Create, or pick and choose activities you think the kids in your household might enjoy.
Infant to 3-year-old read-a-loud & sing-a-long:
In this video, Kids Create facilitator Kathy Sutton reads the poems "Sunday" by Stephen Sondheim and "Wind Pictures" by Mary O'Neill, as well as excerpts from the books Owl Moon by Jane Yolen & John Schoenherr, Fairies, and I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis & Alison Jay:
Musician Gabrielle Pietrangelo leads a sing-a-long that includes the songs "Duérmete mi niño," "If You're Happy & You Know It," and "Hush Little Baby," as well as the book Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings:
4-6-year-old writing workshop: Man Ray Poetry
"Ekphrasis comes from the Greek word meaning 'description," writes facilitator Sophie Daws in this lesson plan, "Throughout history, ekphrastic poems have been written to describe works of art, sculpture, pottery, and even the shields of Greek warriors! For example, in Homer’s Iliad he describes Achilles’s shield through ekphrasis. In our activity today we will 'swim inside' a picture and describe it by inhabiting it. By pretending to live inside of a painting perhaps we can get to know it better!"
In this activity, you'll be invited to "swim into" a painting by Man Ray and, using a series of prompts, write about what's happening in the artwork, describe it in vivid detail or compare it to something that exists in the world around you.
7-10-year-old writing workshop: Ekphrastic Poems
"What is ekphrasis, you ask?," write facilitator Chalese "Chay the Poet" Potts, "Most simply it can be defined as a verbal description of a work of art. We are going to focus on giving voice to a mute object."
Drawing inspiration from persona poetry, you're invited to imagine what an image would say if it could speak and what story it tells. While you're welcome to use any picture or art work you'd like, if you're stumped you can write about "Future Youth" by Lori Nelson.
Cover image by Markus Spiske.