mama scout lab e-course

Friday, August 31, 2012

make paint chip poetry

Paint chip poetry has to be one of the funnest word activities to do with kids or adults. I got started making a collection a few years ago when I was part of an online creativity group. We held many exchanges (mixed cd's, artist trading cards, decorated recipes and paint chip words). The idea must have come from the book Poem Crazy, in which Susan Wooldridge shares the idea of making word tickets to collect words. 

I used words from magazines and glued them on to cut up paint chips. I also laminated them because I had access to a laminator, but that is not necessary. You can also just write the words on the chips.

For a recent writer's workshop, I covered the table in white butcher paper and strewed the chips down the middle like a lazy river. The kids were asked to make poems (serious or nonsensical) from the words. Now, the idea was that you use only the words on the chips, but soon they started adding words by writing on the paper too. They were laughing and having a great time. In fact, it was hard to move them on to the next project. 

A set of these would make a great gift for a writer or teacher. 

Have you made these or something similar? How do you use them with your writers?


  1. I've done it with tickets a la Wooldridge. In that case it's fun to have the kids make their own tickets. I call out topics, such as "colors" and the kids shout out possibilities, and write down the ones that they like. It's fun to have action words (verbs), plant names, exclamations, etc. Wooldridge has so many good ideas in her book. We've even pulled out field guides, and culled words from butterfly names, etc. *Then* we make poetry.

    I love your idea here too--using a set of collected words--and paint chips are so fun. Seems like your activity would make a great introduction, and then later you could have kids start building their own collections of words…

    Sounds like your workshop kids are having a blast!

  2. What a lovely mama scout.


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