Be swept away: How to write poems on the beach

Published on: 24 May 2018 Author: Joseph Coelho

Poet Joseph Coelho says children can write poems anywhere - even on the beach in the summer holidays...

Joseph Coelho on the beach

Getting away to the beach for the summer half term? Get the kids into writing with this quick fun poetry activity. All you need is a sturdy stick and a sandy beach!

Ask the kids to imagine the sea is a person and ask them these questions....

What does Mr/Mrs/King/Queen/Emperor/Empress Sea wear?

Do they dress up in seaweed?
Do they wrap up in splashes?

What do they eat?

Do they dine on gales? And sip from storms?

What is their favourite saying?

Do they roar, 'I am the sea and the sea is me?'

What does their voice sound like?

Is it a crash of whooshes? Or a clatter of crab claws?

Joseph Coelho on the beach

Joseph Coelho as a child on the beach

The answers to these questions will become their poem! Ask them to write the answers as big as they like in the sand, the bigger the better.

Challenge them to wiggle their sentences across the sand like waves, or in one giant line that stretches right across the beach.

It won't take long for their writing to be noticed by passers-by as their words on the sand become an appreciated part of the beach, and as their opinion of writing transforms from something limited to the page to something that can change the world around them.

We'd love to see your poems! Send pictures of your beachy creations to @BookTrust on Twitter.

How to Write PoemsJoseph has more fun poetry tips in How To Write Poems (published by Bloomsbury).

Joseph Coelho is a poet and children's author of How To Write Poems (Bloomsbury), the poetry collections Overheard In A Tower Block (Otter-Barry Books) and Werewolf Club Rules (Frances Lincoln). His latest Picture book If All The World Were..., illustrated by Allison Colpoys, will be published in June by Frances Lincoln.

Overheard in a Tower Block is shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2018. The winner will be announced on Friday 22 June.

Add a comment

You might also like

Discover Joseph's book

Overheard in a Tower Block

Author: Joseph Coelho Illustrator: Kate Milner

Recounting the childhood of a child living in a city tower block, many of these poems are sad or angry and bristle with an edginess that young teens may find refreshing when compared to other poetry aimed at them.

Read more about Overheard in a Tower Block

The magic of libraries

Why we all need libraries

Joseph mounts a passionate defence of libraries and explains how they inspired his first picture book.

Check out our writing tips

Calling all budding creatives

Get loads of writing advice and ideas from some of the top children's authors.