Poetry Teatime – Bringing Wisdom and Wonder to our Week

I hate tea.

There I said it. Sorry to all the tea lovers out there. I just can’t stand the taste. I also can’t stand coffee which apparently is quite unusual these days.

Yet every Monday I smile, grit my teeth and drink a cup of tea.

Why? Well, Monday is the day that we do Poetry Teatime. While his brother is napping we lay down a white tablecloth. Set out my Grandmother’s good china. Light candles. Drink tea, because you can’t have Poetry Teatime without tea. And most importantly, we read poetry.

I first came across the idea of poetry teatime listening to an interview with Julie Bogart on Sarah Mackenzie’s Read-Aloud Revival (found here) who said she loves to “pair poetry with really yummy food.”

 “You each read one aloud and your only obligation for this hour and a half of fun is happiness. There is no analysis. You don’t have to discuss whether the poems rhyme or not…

And you will start to experience what you thought homeschooling was supposed to be.

It’s going to feel natural. There will be peace and joy. You’ll be shocked that your kids think poetry is awesome. And they will think it’s awesome because brownies and poetry go together.” Julie Bogart

My son was only 3 ½ at the time but I knew that it was something that he would love. Poetry transcends age and teatime was a special treat. Before we even owned a teapot (I mentioned the great dislike of tea) we embarked on this journey together. Here he is ready for our very first Poetry Teatime.

We have nearly reached our one year mark. It began before our homeschool even started.

I love that this is opening up the world of poetry to him for him to enjoy. We don’t analyse the poems. We don’t have an agenda or a lesson plans. We simply read them and enjoy them. We dwell in their richness and beauty.

We both choose the poems. He chooses one from our “poetry book” which is Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. Most weeks he chooses the same poem, Block City, which is the very first one I read to him in August last year. It’s his favourite. He knows it off by heart. I choose one or two from our shelves. He chooses a Dr Seuss book. Usually one of his favourites. Some weeks we borrow a new poetry book from the library. Occasionally we have followed a theme. Here he is during a pirate themed teatime for “Speak Like a Pirate Day.”

Some of our favourite poets include:

Note, this is not a list of all the great poetry for kids but merely a list of some of our favourite poets. These are affiliate links. See my disclosure statement for more information about my use of affiliate links. All links are to the Book Depository except where otherwise stated.

Banjo Paterson

Our favourites include Mulga Bill’s Bicycle, The Man from Snowy River, We’re All Australians Now and Waltzing Matilda.

Amazon: Mulga Bill’s Bicycle, We’re All Australians Now, Waltzing Matilda

Dr Seuss

His favourites are The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Green Eggs and Ham and Horton Hears a Who.

Amazon: The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who


Robert Louis Stevenson

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Amazon: A Child’s Garden of Verses 

Colin Thiele

Australian Nursery Rhymes and Australian Animal Verses

Amazon: Australian Nursery Rhymes, Australian Animal Verses

Alison Lester

We love to read Magic Beach during our teatime.

Amazon: Magic Beach

CJ Dennis

A Book for Kids

Click here to read online

A.A. Milne

When We Were Very Young and Now We are Six

Amazon: When We Were Very Young, Now We are Six

Carl Sandburg

Poetry for Kids – Carl Sandburg 

Amazon: Carl Sandburg

Edgar Allen Poe

The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allen Poe – The Raven is surprisingly fun for little ones. Even at 4 years old he can feel the suspense.

Amazon: Edgar Allan Poe

Eventually I would love to have a complete set of “Poetry For Young People” to use during our Poetry Teatime as the boys get older. I certainly envisage this being a part of our lives for years to come.

Amazon: Robert Frost, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Rudyard Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Walt Whitman, Alfred Lord Tennyson

It is a precious part of our week and so… I drink the tea. One day I may even grow to like the taste.

Or not.

For more information on Poetry Teatime you can read about it on Julie Bogart’s site.




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