11 Best Children's Poems The Whole Family Will Love

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Most of us have some favourite children's books that we have introduced to our own kids, but what about poems?

Here are some of our favourite poems for children, which teens and adults can also enjoy.

If your kids are inspired to follow more literary endeavours, read our tips on writing a book and our guide to starting a children's book club.


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Turn Off the TV! by Bruce Lansky

Age: 5+

This tale of a child who is told off for watching too much TV is likely to resonate with kids on lockdown whose parents think they have too much screen time! But there's a twist at the end when you find out how much TV the Dad watches.

Did you know? The author has written other poems including Mary Had a Little Jam; Peter, Peter, Pizza-Eater; If Kids Ruled the School - and also compiled a lot of baby name books!

Read Turn Off The TV!

Adventures Of Isabel by Ogden Nash

Age: 6+

One of our favourite poems for children and adults alike will admire the invincible Isabel, who manages to get the better of a bear, a witch and a giant among others.  Great for families who love tales of girls that can do anything!

Did you know? American poet Ogden Nash started writing “verses, jingles and rhymes” from the age of six.

Read Adventures of Isabel

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

Age 9+

Almost like a whole tale written in rhyme, this romantic poem tells the sorry tale of a beautiful woman who dies to save her lover the highwayman but he is shot down  ''like a dog on the highway''.

Did you know? Alfred Noyes made a living from writing at a time when very few did. The Fleetwood Mac song Everywhere is loosely based on the poem.

Read The Highwayman

The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

Age: 8+

This is a creepy one! Turn off the lights and get one of the kids to perform this with a torch pointing upwards from their chin. It's quite long, but everyone can join in with 'nothing more' or 'nevermore' at the end of each verse. Great around the campfire when camping in the garden, it will be a familiar tale for The Simpsons fans. Watch the Hallowe'en episode with any reluctant poetry readers.

Did you know? American writer Poe claimed to have written the Raven backwards. He often wrote with a Siamese cat on his shoulder and invented the word 'tintinnabulation', which describes the sound of ringing bells.

Read The Raven

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

Age: 5+

This wonderfully descriptive nonsense rhyme from the Alice in Wonderland author has some beautifully made-up words that make it a fun choice for reading out loud. In case you're wondering, the Jabberwock is a monster, whose slaying is described in the verse.

Did you know? While Jabberwocky is full of nonsense words, some of them have made it into modern-day speech - such as chortle and galumph. Also worth a watch is the fantasy comedy film Jabberwocky by Monty Python stalwart Terry Gilliam.

Macavity by T.S Eliot

Age: 5+

Cat lovers will love the tale of Macavity, a criminal mastermind who commits heinous acts including stealing milk and rifling through jewellery cases. If your kids love singing,  they can learn the song from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats.

Did you know? Macavity is one of a collection of poems - Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - on which the musical Cats is based. Although T.S Eliot was born in America, he became a British citizen and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.

Read Macavity

Reading for toy

Aliens Stole My Underpants by Brian Moses

Age: 3+

Everyone can laugh at this tale of the aliens who came all the way from Mars and stole underpants. Why would they do it? What do they think is so special about Earthling's underwear? So many questions to be answered. Younger children will love this irreverent poem.

Did you know? Brian Moses was asked to write a poem for the Queen's 80th birthday, which was performed live on air on CBBC. He turned to poetry when he realised he wasn't going to make it as a rock star!

Read Aliens Stole My Underpants

Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss

Age: 3+

The simple words in this rhyming tale by the creator of the Cat in the Hat make it perfect for younger children who are only just learning to read. The simple words and constant repetition will appeal to little learners, and they will love the fun illustrations, especially of the children bouncing on top of Pop's tummy!

Did you know? In 2014 a request was made for Hop on Pop to be banned from Toronto Public Library because it "encourages children to use violence against their fathers''.

Listen to Hop on Pop

Fifteen men on the Dead Man's Chest by Robert Louis Stevenson/Young E Allison

Age 3+/8+

A great short one for littlies - dress them up in pirate gear and they can go marching around the house reciting this. Taken from the novel Treasure Island, this chorus was turned into a complete poem called Derelict by Young E Allison - it's pretty gory so not so good for very small people!

Did you know? There's are a number of theories about what Dead Man's Chest is. One says that the pirate Edward Teach (Blackbeard) marooned a mutinous crew on an island called Dead Man’s Chest. They each had a cutlass and a bottle of rum and Blackbeard hoped they would kill each other, But when he came back after 30 days, 15 of them had survived.

Read Fifteen Men on the Dead Man's Chest

Read Derelict

Reading poetry

Oh, I Wish I'd Looked After My Teeth by Pam Ayres

A cautionary tale if ever we heard one - and a timely reminder for kids who find it hard to make contact between their gnashers and the toothbrush. Pam Ayres has been a popular poet for more than 40 years and you really have to listen to her reading her poems in her North Berkshire accent to get the full effect. Listen here.

Did you know? Pam lists her professions as author and beekeeper!

Read Oh I Wish I'd looked after My Teeth

The Lost Lost Property Office - Roger McGough

Another poet whose work is best heard read by the author. Roger takes everyday things, places and happenings and turns them into works of art. Challenge the children to try to remember all the things he lists that have been lost in the Lost Property Office. Roger is also a master at wordplay, and can inspire young writers to have fun with words.

Did you know? Roger, who grew up in Liverpool, had had a number one single. He was a member of a band called Scaffold, who had a hit with Lily the Pink in 1968.

Watch Roger McGough read the Lost Lost Property Office

Naomi MacKay
Mum of one

Mum of one teenage boy, near Leighton Buzzard, Beds. Born and raised in the Home Counties, Naomi has explored much of London, along with Beds, Herts and Bucks, with her son and husband. When she’s not driving to various skateparks around the UK, Naomi loves finding somewhere new to explore or a new activity they can all try.