Monday, April 11, 2016

NPM Celebrations - Week of the Young Child

The Week of the Young Child™ (April 10-16) is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families.

This seems like the perfect time to highlight poems that celebrate childhood and outdoor play.

Let's start with an old classic.

The Swing
by Robert Louis Stevenson
(in A Child’s Garden of Verses and Underwoods, 1913)

How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
   Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
   Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!

Jumping rope is always fun. Here are two poems by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Jump Rope
(from In the Spin of Things: Poetry of Motion)

whirls around,
brushed ground
beneath quick feet.
Sweeps walks,
slap, slip
double Dutch,
scissor skip.
Flip, flap,
LOOPS around,
slip, slap,
swoops down.
Slides and swirls,
twirls and twists,
song for a jump rope
sounds like this:
Tiger leap,
spider spin,
your turn next,
jump on in!

Poem © Rebecca Kai Dotlich, 2003. All rights reserved.

Jump Rope Talk
(from Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems)

Jumping, jumping,
Double Dutch
on cement sidewalks
cooled by dusk.
Down in the meadow
where the green grass grows,
there sits Sophie sniffin' at a rose—
Our voices echo
in the air,
Turn around, turn around,
teddy bear—
The street and porch
lights stagger on;
we jump, jump, jump,
and chant these songs:
Peppers are red
and berries are blue,
pick a name to follow you—
Our voices ring
beneath the starts,
Skip to Venus,
jump to Mars—
Jumping, jumping,
Double Dutch,
Mama's got her silver
in the hutch—
we're singing songs
on cracked sidewalks,
Papa keeps his money
in his sock—
to the slap, slap, slap
of jump rope talk!

Poem © Rebecca Kai Dotlich, 1998. All rights reserved.

Let's stick with Lemonade Sun for a moment and think about jacks and marbles!

(from Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems)

and glass moons
rainbows spinning
on and on
pocket treasures,
sidewalk songs.

Poem © Rebecca Kai Dotlich, 1998. All rights reserved.

(from Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems)

from an eager fist,
this silver-mix
goes somersaulting,
falling to the walk,
tin bouquets;
small bundles
of piggyback

Poem © Rebecca Kai Dotlich, 1998. All rights reserved.

Summersaults, written and illustrated by Douglas Florian, is one in a series of 4 books about the seasons. This collection highlights the delights of summer.

Sidewalk Squawk

The sidewalk isn't just for walking.
It's good for talking
And for chalking,
Also running
While you're sunning.
I like biking,
Sidewalk hiking.
Cool for scooting,
And for super-celebrating!

Poem © Douglas Florian, 2002. All rights reserved.

Tomie dePaola's Book of Poems, selected and illustrated by Tomie dePaola, contains a wide variety of poems for young children. Here's a favorite another form or outdoor play.

We're Racing, Racing Down the Walk
by Phyllis McGinley

We're racing, racing down the walk,
Over the pavement and round the block.
We rumble along till the sidewalk ends--
Felicia and I and half our friends.
Our hair flies backward. It's whish and whirr!
She roars at me and I shout at her
As past the porches and garden gates
We rattle and rock
On our roller skates.

Poem © Phyllis McGinley. All rights reserved.

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young (1986), selected by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Marc Brown, contains more than 200 poems for young children.

Just Watch
by Myra Cohn Livingston

     how high
     I'm jumping,

     how far
     I hop,

     how long
     I'm skipping,

                         how fast
                         I stop!

Poem © Myra Cohn Livingston. All rights reserved.

I'm going to wrap this entry up with a favorite from Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by Polly Dunbar.

Kick a Little Stone
by Dorothy Aldis

When you are walking by yourself
Here's something nice to do:
Kick a little stone and watch it
Hop ahead of you.

The little stone is round and white,
Its shadow round and blue.
Along the sidewalk over the cracks
The shadow bounces too.

Poem © Dorothy Aldis. All rights reserved.

That's it for today. I hope you'll join me tomorrow for our next celebration.

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