Introducing Children to the Poems of Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson is one of the most loved classic children’s poets, and his work is a perfect introduction to poetry for young children since the topics are so relatable even now after over 100 years after writing. His ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ collection of poems was one of my own favourites as a child.

(You can download printable copies of some of these poems at the end of the post, since these poems are now in the public domain, and I will recommend a couple of books too.)

Introducing children to the poems of Robert Louis Stevenson with ideas for learning about rhyme and lots of related resources

For our introduction to Robert Louis Stevenson, the kids and I read some of the poems together and discussed how they understood the poems. We looked at similarities between each of the poems, and features we could notice about Robert Louis Stevenson’s style.

They were quick to notice the prominent rhyming pattern that each of the poems has, and how this gives rhythm to the poem.

Ideas for exploring rhyme in the poems

On a printed copy of the poem, colour in the rhyming words at the ends of each line to see if you can notice different patterns of rhyme – AA, BB or ABAB for example

Try thinking up other rhyming words to replace some of the words in the poem, so that it still rhymes but with new words. If they don’t make sense it’s okay, you can make up silly poems to explore the rhyme.

Talking about the poems

Read at least two of the poems and talk about which one you like best, and why

Talk about times you have done similar things to the topic of the poem, or felt something similar

Explore any new words in the poem

Talk about the type of language used. Can you find descriptive words that you really like?

More Robert Louis Stevenson Resources

From a Railway Carriage lesson plan

Colouring pages to go with ‘The Swing’

A Child’s Garden of Verses (access the poems online)

Biography of Robert Louis Stevenson

Recommended Books

A Children’s Treasury of Children’s Poems – This book contains some of the Robert Louis Stevenson poems along with other classic poems. You can compare and contrast the poems from different authors, and my children enjoyed the colouring and appealing illustrations.


A Child’s Garden of Verses – There are many versions available of this collection of poems, but this one stood out to be because Gyo Fujikawa is a great illustrator – so if you’re looking for a good quality hardback edition of the book then this could be a good option.

a child's garden of verses

Teach 2nd Grade

I’ve joined together with some other bloggers with children of a similar age, to share educational activities on the same topics each week. Here are more poetry ideas from the other participating bloggers to try out with children in this age or stage.

Classic Poetry for 2nd Graders – from Look! We’re Learning

9 Poetry Books your child might enjoy – Planet Smarty Pants

Introducing Children to the poems of Rober Louis Stevenson – In the Playroom

Hand print Poetry – Creative Family Fun

Free Printable Poetry for Fall – Life Over C’s

Digraph Spelling Word Poems – Sugar Aunts

Autumn Fires Copywork – Sallie Borrink Learning

Cinquain Poetry for Kids – Still Playing School

Solar System Poetry – Rainy Day Mum

And more kids poetry ideas from us at In The Playroom

Free Printable Autumn Fall Writing Prompts for Kids

Leaf-Decorated Autumn Poem

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat


Here are some of the poems that we used in our discussions. If you have other favourite Robert Louis Stevenson poems, share their titles in the comments!

From a Railway Carriage
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart runaway in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!

Bed in Summer
by Robert Louis Stevenson

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

The Swing
by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside–

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown–
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Check out our From a Railway Carriage PDF activities Post

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