Night sky poetry



This session is all about observation and for children to describe things how they view and experience them. There is guidance and examples to help them use figurative language which gives children more tools to express themselves. To make it work well, children will need to spend a period of time (this can be from a few days to a few weeks) observing the night sky and keeping a simple diary. The observations can be put together in a simple way to make a poem, which can be developed further if they choose. This makes creating a poem achievable to a wide range of children.




Enjoy some stargazing and moon watching together over a period of time. Children use their observations to writing a poem inspired by the night sky. Guidance and examples are provided. Reduce or extend the written element of the session to suit the children you are working with.


What you need


  • Notepad or paper to keep a simple observation diary
  • Access to the guidance and examples
  • Sheet of paper and pen
  • Scissors
  • Writing materials for poem
  • (Optional) Art materials for illustrating work


What to do

  • Step 1: Observe and describe the night sky over a period of time
  • Step 2: Create a basic poem
  • Step 3 (Optional): Develop the poem by editing




Step 1: Night sky observation and description diary


Set aside a few minutes for a few evenings for children to observe the night sky over a period of time (a few days to a month). Try to observe the moon and stars in different weathers and at different times in the evening/night.

Children keep a descriptive diary of their observations. They can describe how the sky, moon, and stars look, what their experience is, what they feel when they look up at the night sky, and what associations they make with these different things. This can be as a few words or phrases or longer descriptions using tools such as similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration and repetition. Set the challenge at a level suitable for the children you are working with.
The examples and links below should help them have a go at more challenging description. Children can add sketches or photos to their diary if they like. They can also add to and develop their writing later on when they come to create their poem.


Click these links for information on:

Similes and metaphors
Alliteration and repetition (scroll down to the last block on the page)


Description diary entry examples

Moon (Different weathers and stages)
A misty soft glow behind clouds.
A bright bulb lighting up everything with a cool white light.
The moon cuts a sharp scar into the ink black sky.
The moon lounges lazily, listening to the noises of the night.
The moon hides shyly behind the friendly cloud.

Stars are sprinkled like decorations on icing made from sky.
Fierce white lights punch their way through the thick blanket of night.
Silver speckled starlight sparkling.
Stars cover the sky as though a giant hand carelessly scattered jewels across it.

(A cloudy night where you can’t see any stars) A heavy dark carpet, thick with cloud.
(As evening becomes night, just before the stars appear) A vast canvas waiting for nature to paint her masterpiece.


Step 2: Creating a night sky poem


Below is a guide to create a poem from the descriptions the children have written. They can play around with the order and which descriptions to include. You can stop the activity there or go on to develop and edit the poem.


How to turn the descriptive observations into a poem

  1. Children write some of their descriptions spaced out on a sheet of paper.
  2. Cut up the sheet of paper into long strips so that each descriptive phrase is on a separate strip.
  3. Children move their strips around to make them into a poem.
  4. (Optional editing step) Children re-write a strip to change some of the words, or the order of words, in the sentence to create better flow, rhythm or rhyme.
  5. Once they are happy with their poem, children can write it up neatly or type it. They could write it on colourful paper and/or add illustrations.


Poem examples with notes on development and editing

Here are two very different examples of how I could make some of my descriptive diary entries into a poem. I have included editing notes to help you see the process and how it could work for your poem.


Poem 1
For this first poem I have put a few of my examples together of the sky, the stars and the moon as though they are all from the same night.


The night sky

A vast canvas waits for nature to paint her masterpiece;
Fierce white lights punch their way through the thick blanket of night.
The moon makes her long-awaited appearance;
A bright bulb illuminating everything with her cool white light.

Editing notes
In the first line I changed waiting to waits, as I preferred how that sounded in the poem.
I added in the line about the moon making her appearance to give the poem more flow.
As I had used personification in this line, I edited the next line to say her cool white light instead of a cool white light for continuity.
In my descriptive diary entry I had originally written: A bright bulb lighting up everything with a cool white light. I decided to change lighting up to illuminating so I wasn’t using light twice.


Poem 2
A focus on the moon changing over the time.
For this poem I cut down longer sentences to make short, sharp descriptions like in a kennings poem (two words for each line) and finished with a longer line.


The changing moon

Misty glow
Bright bulb
Cool white
Warm yellow
Lounging lazily
Hiding shyly
Restful listening
Proudly glistening
Thin scar
Round eye

Watching from the ink black sky

Editing notes:
I picked out descriptions of the moon from my diary entries above. I cut out words to make the descriptions two words long.
I added in a couple of extra things like glistening and round eye to make some of it rhyme.