This site is full of creative poetry/art exercises that aim to bring pleasure back into using words and writing. We welcome the participation of you and your child, please have a look at the list of contents, or the blog archive and try out any of the exercises that you like the look of. We welcome your comments on the success (or otherwise) of the idea…

Monday, 17 January 2011

Customised trainers

On Saturday Phil and I started the first of 5 workshops for The Bubble Project. One of the creative ideas we introduced to the children was customising trainers. We had a selection of trainers,  some kindly donated from my sons School (Hayfield Primary) which I had whitewashed, and some the Young Carers had brought in. Inspired by their paintings from earlier in the day and street art, they created their own moveable artworks. 

Here are some ideas you might like to try:

Write this poem FAST. Imagine that you can run faster than any human being has ever run before, faster than any car, so fast that you can fly. 


Write one line or more in answer to each of these questions. 
What does it feel like to run at amazing speed? 
Where would you run to? 
What would you like to leave behind? 
Where would you finally come to rest? 

Have a go at writing your poem on a trainer, here's how: 


  1. Choose your trainers (make sure you've had permission from a grown up before you paint or draw on them!)
  1. You might want to give yourself a white blank space to work with. If so, paint on some of the white emulsion paint first, let it dry before doing any more painting.
  1. Before you do anything to your soon-to-be-customized trainers, its best to do a rough sketch of your plan on paper. This will help you to visualize your masterpiece before you start working with permanent paints.
  1. Choose your materials, permanent markers work really well, and you could add sequins, jewels, badges, safety pins.... Based on your sketch, choose the right size pen tip for your image. The thinner the tip the easier it will be to draw details and get to hard to reach spaces. Thicker tips are great for filling in larger areas.
  1. Carefully create an outline of your design on your trainers, using a pencil or a fine tip pen. Only draw the basic patterns, leave the details for later. Do you want to have matching trainers? If so place them side by side and make sure everything looks well defined and symmetrical. 
  1. Have fun with the colouring in. Carefully start with the lightest colours, save the darkest for last so you can cover any mistakes near to the end. When you’ve filled in our outline, make sure its completely dry before adding detail and any outlines you may want.
  1. If you like add some extra’s like the Jewels or feathers… Make sure all the paint is completely dry before adding extra’s. Things like safety pin, badges etc can be added for a bit of punk if you fancy.
  1. Put them somewhere safe to dry, and don’t touch for a day and night!

Friday, 7 January 2011

New Year Acrostic Print Poem

I had intended to do lots of 'boys can write' activities with Joe over the holiday, however in reality time was taken up by eating, presents, friends and knackering, unstoppable energy from Joe, he just doesn't quit talking or moving, I was glad to drop him of at school on Tuesday!

We did just find time to create a New Year Acrostic, printed poem. Joe got a fantastic Alphabet Stamp Set in his stocking at Christmas, (I believe you can get them also from Muji) which he used to print his poem.

It's a variation of the traditional Acrostic poem (where each line of the poem would start with a word written vertically) This time Joe used the downward written word in the beginning, middle and ends of this horizontal words. He simply wrote his wishes for the New Year. An older child could develop this with New Years resolutions. 

I like the way he has started creating more diversions, adding a vertical Love to the line Lego Land. Rules in poetry and art are definitely made to be broken... 

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snowflake poems

When Joe had finely defrosted from the sledging (his feet where nearly frost bitten) we worked on some snow poems. He had a go at writing a description of the cold and a snowflake and couldn't resist doing another Acrostic. Inspired by the snow itself, we used wax resist for writing/drawing. The wax resist was a great hit,  like writing hidden secrete spy messages...

Joe's snowflake, concrete poem


You will need a white wax crayon, paper, pen or pencil,  paint or ink. 
  1. Think about being out in the snow; what's it like to touch,  how does it taste, what size are snowflakes, what sounds can you hear, how does it make you feel, what can you see when you look very closely?
  2. Write down (or ask someone else to write for you) your list of descriptive words
  3. Have a look at pictures of snowflakes patterns in a book, or on the internet
  4. With a pencil, draw a faint outline of a snowflake on your paper
  5. With a wax white wax crayon, write your favorite snowy words onto the outline of the snowflake, change the direction of the paper, you can hold the paper up to the light to see where you have written if you get lost
  6. With some watery paint or ink, brush over your wax and like magic the writing should appear!  

snow flake

Joe wrote a lovely short descriptive poem 'snow flake' using the wax resist technique:

light as a feather
now its gone

(I liked his spelling mistake, on his wax version he wrote father instead of feather!)