Children learn nursery rhymes often before they are even able to talk. Nursery rhymes usually rhyme and contain only a couple of short verses, such as in "Jack and Jill" and "Humpty Dumpty." Some nursery rhymes follow a musical tune, such as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "London Bridge is Falling Down."
Limericks rhyme like nursery rhymes but usually have a distinctly silly theme. Limericks follow a rhyme scheme of a/a/b/b/a for a total of five lines. The first two lines and the last line generally contain seven to 10 syllables, while lines three and four contain five to seven.
The simple structure of haiku makes it easy for children to imitate. Haiku contains only three lines, the first and third lines are five syllables long and the middle line has seven syllables. Haiku usually captures a single experience in nature.
Acrostic poems encourage children to think creatively within a structure. An acrostic poem takes as its structure the letters of a word that represents the theme of a poem. For example, a poem about hockey would contain six lines -- a line for each letter of the word "hockey" -- and each line beginning with a letter from the word "hockey," in order.
Children can get creative with concrete poems, which display a picture of the theme of the poem in the actual structure of the poem. For example, a poem about a tree could take the shape of an actual tree. A poem about a breeze could meander all over the page like a breeze might.
Alliteration and Onomatopoeia
While alliteration and onomatopoeia are not poetic structures, children can employ these fun poetic devices in their poetry writing. An alliterative sentence or phrase contains words that all begin with the same letter, such as "cute, cuddly cats." Onomatopoeia refers to words that strive to imitate the sound of actual noises, as in "buzz," "beep" or "whoosh."