Poetry For Kids

This page is for kids. But anyone over that age can read it too. And since adults are often out looking for poems for young ones, welcome to you as well. Most of  these poems are taken from my archives, but I wanted to put them on a separate page just for kids. 

31st March 2020

Greetings to children everywhere. I hope you are all finding things to do during this big holiday off school and work.  I know my granddaughters took a couple of days to get used to not going to kindergarten and school. They are still able to go for walks outside though and that helps a lot. They are also being a great help to their mums and dads which is of course much appreciated. And they are a bright spark in my day…as I get to talk to them often, even though we can’t actually visit each other because of course we are all doing this very strange but necessary thing of keeping away from people we don’t usually live with.  But whether  you know it or not you are all very special. And here’s something free which audible.com has set up just for you.

If you like listening to stories and who doesn’t? …here’s a chance to listen to to a whole lot. It has been set up for young ones up to the age of 18 and gives you the chance to listen to a lot of the worlds best stories in a number of languages.

I am really enjoying listening to some of them myself.

Copy this address into your browser  stories.audible.com and start listening.

Be safe, be well, be happy. We love you all.



20th March 2019

Today I am posting a poem/song by the singer songwriter Raffi. My children sang it when they were young and we sometimes sing it to their children. Raffi is well known for his work to make a better world for children.

All I really need is a song in my heart
Food in my belly and love in my family
All I really need is a song in my heart
And love in my family
And I need the rain to fall
And I need the sun to shine
To give life to the seeds we sow
To give the food we need to grow, grow
All I really need is a song in my heart
Food in my belly and love in my family
All I really need is a song in my heart
And love in my family
And I need some clean water for drinking
And I need some clean air for breathing
So that I can grow up strong
And take my place where I belong
All I really need is a song in my heart
Food in my belly and love in my family
All I really need is a song in my heart
And love in my family
To hear Raffi singing this aloud you can go to you tube and copy in or type this phrase… Raffi singing All I Really Need is a Song in My Heart
I dedicate this song today to the children of Aotearoa New Zealand. May you grow up strong and healthy. May you be loved and well cared for.


11th February 2019. Hello everyone. Well summer holidays are over for most children in New Zealand now. It has been very hot and dry and we are all hoping for rain, especially those of you who live near Nelson where in a town called Wakefield the children (and everyone else ) have been evacuated because of forest fires close by.

Today’s poem is called Burglar Bill. Not a scary burglar but one afraid of spiders!


Each night I lie awake in bed
and watch for Burglar Bill.
I´m waiting for his hairy hand
upon my window sill.

But shh I hear his burglar feet.
He´s stomping up the drive.
I hope he gets to visit us
before the police arrive.

Oh help he´s on the fire escape.
I hear him huff and puff.
He grunts and groans and grumbles heaps.
He sounds so rough and tough.

He´s peeping through my window now.
I think I need to pee.
He doesn´t look too cranky though.
He seems quite sweet to me.

I really like his burglar clothes.
They´re woolly ones with stripes.
His mummy must have made them
for sliding down the pipes.

But suddenly he shines his torch
and bellows right out loud.
Oh what a noisy burgular
you´d hear him in a crowd.

The spider on my tabletop
has given him a scare.
Poor Burglar Bill is quivering
and pulling out his hair.

I go and put the kettle on
and make him drink some tea.
He cries into his handkerchief
so terrified is he.

‘Oh Burglar Bill,’ I say to him,
‘there is no need to blubber.
Please don´t sniff and cry so much.
My spider´s only rubber.’

(c) Helen McKinlay

10th January 2019. New Year’s greetings everyone.  I do hope you have had a peaceful Christmas and New Year. I have been lucky to share some good times with friends and family and I wish that for you too. Here in NZ we enter the rest of our summer holiday time for schools. Be kind to yourselves and others and know that all of you are special.

The poem I have chosen today is called At the Seaside and I hope you all get the chance at least once in the summer to makes sandcastles or little dams and streams down at the tide.


When I was down beside the sea
A wooden spade they gave to me
To dig the sandy shore.
My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
Till it could come no more.
child with wooden sand bucket
  In the ‘old’ days before plastic children used a wooden sand bucket.
not as colourful as our present day plastic ones, (below) but they did the job!


December 2018: Today I am sharing a poem called The Duck and the Kangaroo. This type of poem is known as a nonsense drollery. Drollery, means something which is droll or funny. I think the word itself is very funny. It would be hard to write a poem about a drollery as it doesn’t seem to rhyme with anything. Do you know anything it rhymes with?

This is a very silly poem about a duck and a kangaroo who become friends and travel the world together. I hope you enjoy it. Perhaps you could write a drollery for your classmates or your family or a friend or for you.

You can find it by clicking here.

November 2018: I hope you enjoyed The Catipoce. And now it’s time for a  poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was published in 1886, in a book called A Child’s Garden of Verses but is still very popular. If you scroll down you can hear it read by Billy Connolly.  And you might like to have a look at your own shadow. We don’t usually notice them but they are such fun to play with.

My Shadow
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india -rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there’s none of him at all.

He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me.

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.

October 2018: When I was small my mother introduced me to James Reeves’ writing via a book called Prefabulous Anamiles. For some reason this is the one that truly grabbed at my imagination. You can find it now in a book called Complete Poems For Children by James Reeves.


‘Oh Harry, Harry, hold me close

I fear some animile.

It is the horny Catipoce

With her outrageous smile!’

Thus spoke the maiden in alarm;

She had good cause to fear:

The Catipoce can do great harm,

If any come too near.

Despite her looks, do not presume

The creature’s ways are mild;

For many have gone mad on whom

The Catipoce has smiled.

She lurks in woods at close of day

Among the toadstools soft,

Or sprawls on musty sacks and hay

In cellar, barn, or loft.

Behind neglected rubbish-dumps

At dusk your blood will freeze

Only to glimpse her horny humps

And hear her fatal sneeze.

Run, run! adventurous boy or girl—

Run home, and do not pause

To feel her breath around you curl,

And tempt her carrion claws.

Avoid her face: for underneath

That gentle, fond grimace

Lie four-and-forty crooked teeth—

My dears, avoid her face!

‘Oh Harry, Harry! hold me close,

And hold me close awhile;

It is the odious Catipoce

With her devouring smile!’

The Catipoce, illustration by Edward Ardizzone

The poem and illustration, are taken from Complete Poems For Children, by James Reeves and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone. (Classic Mammoth, First Published in Great Britain, 1994.) Reissued 2001 by Egmont Books Ltd, London.  Permission to publish the illustrations and the poem have been granted from the author and artist’s estates.

Prefabulous Anamiles by James Reeves, was the name of the book in which I  first read this poem.  It was published in 1957 by William Heinemann, London. It was followed by More Prefabulous Animiles.