Selected Haiku Poems by Kids

Haiku is a traditional Japanese short form of poetry. It is a three -line poetry, following a 5-7-5 syllable pattern. Haiku poetry traditionally discusses abstract subjects or those from the natural world, including seasons, months, animals, and even the smallest elements of nature, down to a blade of grass or a drop of dew. Writing haiku poetry is fun for kids because it is a tool to play with languages. It is also useful as a form of expressive arts to support a child’s social emotional development.

The rules for writing a haiku poem are as follows:

  1. There are only three lines, totaling 17 syllables.
  2. The first line is 5 syllables.
  3. The second line is 7 syllables.
  4. The third line is 5 syllables like the first.
  5. Punctuation and capitalization are up to the poet, and need not follow the rigid rules used in structuring sentences.
  6. A haiku does not have to rhyme, in fact usually it does not rhyme at all.
  7. It can include the repetition of words or sounds.

JAL Foundation holds around the world haiku competition every two years. The winning poems are published in a book called The Chronicle of the Age of the Earth. Here are some winning entries in English, accompanied by Japanese translations, from the World Children’s Haiku Contests:

Haiku Poems by Kids

A spring in my step
Pirouette like pink petals
Falling from a tree


By Maya Williamson, winner from the 2020 haiku contest under the theme Sports.

It is marvelous
I was eating ice cream. Oh!
I was just dreaming


By Ronin Knutson, winner from the 2013 haiku contest under the theme Dreams.

Haiku Poems by Kids

Rooster crowing
Over the hills & mountains
An exquisite sound


By Christopher Oki, winner from the 2016 haiku contest under the theme Morning.

Hand in hand walking
Down the cherry lane arches
Sharing sweets with love


By Eileen Kim, winner from the 2011 haiku contest under the theme Festivals.

Japanese haiku poems can also be used to learn Japanese for kids. Here are some winning entries originally written in Japanese, accompanied by English translations:

Haiku Poems by Kids


Cheer up, cheer up
Little red crabs
Good sumo wreslers

By Hakariya Miu, winner from the 2018 haiku contest under the theme Living Things.

Haiku Poems by Kids


stops the time
at once.

By Nakamura Yuzuki, winner from the 2022 haiku contest under the theme Town.