Kids Activity: Living Room Poetry Slam

Slam poetry is a free-form poetry that uses poetic devices and tools to tell a story, express a feeling, or convey a message about a specific topic or issue. It's generally performed at poetry slams, and uses spoken word poetry, which is essentially just poetry that's performed.

Slam poetry can be off the cuff, in the moment. It often occurs at Poetry Slams, which are essentially competitions. Think of it like a dance off with words. 

When kids begin to access slam poetry, it's generally prewritten. It's a fantastic way for kids to learn to express themselves and also to exercise their intellect. You can have your own poetry slam right in your living room - here's how.

How to Have a Poetry Slam in your Living Room

  1. Introduce your kids to slam poetry by sitting down together and watching some! There are tons of videos on YouTube of kids doing slam poetry. The Leaf Festival has some incredible videos of their slam poetry with kids. (Warning, sometimes slam poetry can address sensitive topics that might not be appropriate, be careful to filter before you watch together!) Kids of all ages can participate, just keep in mind that it will be on whatever level is their own.
  2. Choose a topic. Things you're grateful for, things that challenge you, something that makes you happy, something that makes you angry, etc. Whatever your topic, everyone will write a piece about the same thing. That gives your slam a theme and helps everyone to focus their work. Don't forget to write your own!
  3. Set a date for your slam, a week is a good timeframe so everyone has time to prepare.
  4. You don't have to be too formal in order to make a home poetry slam work. You can just let your kids flow with it. Here's a fantastic guide from the folks at TED to help you create.
  5. Make snacks and enjoy some incredible quality family time that's teaching your kids self expression, confidence and passion!
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