2016 TFK Poetry Contest

It's time to rhyme! Enter your funny, rhyming poems by February 15

December 07, 2015

Calling all poets! TIME For Kids has a challenge for you: Write a funny, rhyming poem. It must be an original poem that does not copy another poet’s work. Enter it in the TIME For Kids Poetry Contest. The grand-prize winner will receive an online class visit from Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt. The grand-prize winner and three finalists will each get a signed copy of Nesbitt’s newest book of poetry, Bigfoot Is Missing!, and their poems will be published at

WHAT: Write a funny, rhyming poem and enter it in the TFK Poetry Contest. Poet Kenn Nesbitt will look for originality, creativity, humor and rhyme in the style of his own poetry. To read some of Nesbitt’s poems, go to poetry4kids.comContest is open to students who are 8 to 13 years old.

The deadline for this contest has passed. Please check back next year! 

DEADLINE: February 15, 2016

Poet Kenn Neesbitt will judge the 2015 TK Poetry Contest

Amanda Jayne
Poet Kenn Nesbitt will judge the 2016 TFK Poetry Contest

Read a Q&A with TFK Poetry Contest judge Kenn Nesbitt:

TFK: How did you get started writing poetry?

KENN NESBITT:  I started writing poems as a hobby in 1994. At the time, I never gave any thought to publishing them; I mainly just wrote for my own amusement. But it was so much fun that I ended up writing a lot of poems, which led me to the idea of creating a web site, and eventually writing books.

TFK: How do you get ideas for poems?

NESBITT: My ideas mostly come from my imagination. That is, I like to sit and daydream, and see what kinds of crazy things I can think up. Some specific things I daydream about are: things I like, things I don't like, things that happen to me, places I go, and things I see around me.

TFK: What advice do you have for kids about how to get ideas?

NESBITT: For kids, I recommend that whenever you think of an idea, you should write it down, even if you don't have time right then to create a whole poem from your idea. I have notebooks full of ideas that I haven't written poems about yet. That way, if daydreaming doesn't lead me to a new idea, I can always look in my notebooks and find something fun to write about.

TFK: What are some writing techniques kids can use to make a poem more fun and exciting?

NESBITT: One way to make poems interesting is to write about things readers can relate to: school, family, food, pets, games, sports, and so on. To make a poem funny, I often just ask myself, "what might be funny about that?" For example, what kinds of funny things might happen at school, or over dinner? What funny things might your pets do? And it's okay to make things up, such as having a pet elephant, or a pet who plays video games. Use your imagination and see where it leads. But the best advice I can give to kids is, don't just write one poem. Write lots. If you write just one poem, it might be a great one, or maybe not so good. But if you write ten poems, you'll probably find that, even though they aren't all perfect, a few of them are much better than the others.

TFK: What do you look for when you are judging a poem?

NESBITT: When judging poems, I look for ones that are well-written, original, and make me smile. Don't try to rhyme every word, or copy someone else's idea or style. Just use your imagination and do your best to come up with your own new funny poem.

Read the official TFK Poetry Contest rules below.



1. HOW TO ENTER: This Contest begins 12:01 p.m. EST on December 14, 2015, and ends 12 p.m. EST on February 15, 2016. To enter online, visit and follow instructions to submit the following: (a) an original and previously unpublished poem that is humorous and has a rhyme scheme; (b) Entrant’s first name only and e-mail address and a parent’s e-mail address. Limit one entry per person or e-mail account. Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, or incomplete entries, or those not received for any reason. Entries become sole property of Sponsor, and none will be acknowledged or returned. By entering, Entrant warrants that the entry (1) is original and does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any third party, (2) has not been published in any medium, and (3) has not won an award.

2. JUDGING: All entries will be judged by poet Kenn Nesbitt, based on the following criteria: creativity and originality (50%), use of language and rhyme (25%), and appropriateness to Contest theme (25%). In the event of a tie, an additional “tie-breaker” judge will determine the Winner from among all such tied entries using the judging criteria above. Sponsor reserves the right to choose fewer than one Winner and three Finalists if, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, an insufficient number of eligible and/or qualified entries is received. Incomplete and/or inaccurate entries and entries not complying with all rules are subject to disqualification. Decisions of judges are final and binding. Winner will be notified by e-mail during the month of February and must respond within five days, as described in Rule 5.

3. ELIGIBILITY: Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are elementary school students and are 8 to 13 years old at time of entry. Void where prohibited by law. Employees of Sponsor, its promotional partners and their respective parents, affiliates and subsidiaries, participating advertising and promotion agencies (and members of their immediate families and/or those living in the same of household of each such employee) are not eligible.

4. PRIZES AND APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUE: Our judge will select four (4) Semifinalists from which one (1) Grand-Prize Winner and three (3) Finalists will be chosen. The one Grand-Prize Winner will receive an online class visit from poet Kenn Nesbitt and a signed copy of Bigfoot Is Missing!, approximate value: $275. The poem of the Grand-Prize Winner will be published at timeforkids .com. All Semifinalists will receive signed copies of Bigfoot Is Missing!, approximate retail value: $15. Poems of Semifinalists will be published in the gallery of All other expenses not specified herein are the responsibility of the Winner. ALL TAXES ARE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE WINNER.

5. CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION: No transfer, assignment, or substitution of a prize permitted, except Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prize (or prize component) for an item of equal or greater value at Sponsor’s sole discretion. Nothing in these official Contest rules shall obligate Sponsor to publish or otherwise use any entry submitted in connection with this Contest. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Entrants agree to be bound by the terms of these Official Rules and by the decisions of Sponsor, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this Contest. By entering, Entrant represents that any poem and other materials submitted as part of Entrant’s Contest entry are original and will not constitute an invasion of privacy or otherwise infringe upon the rights of any third party, and that the Entrant owns or has the rights to convey any and all right and title in such poem and other materials. In addition, by entering, Entrant grants to Sponsor a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to edit, publish, promote, republish at any time in the future, and otherwise use Entrant’s submitted poem, along with Entrant’s name, likeness, biographical information, and any other information provided by Entrant, in any and all media for possible editorial, promotional, or advertising purposes, without further permission, notice, or compensation (except where prohibited by law). Potential Winner and Finalists, and their respective parents or legal guardians, as a condition of receiving any prize, also may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release, and, where legally permissible, a Publicity Release and Confirmation of a License as set forth above within 10 days following the date of first attempted notification, certifying, among other things, the following: (a) entry does not defame or invade the privacy of any party; (b) entry does not infringe upon the rights of any third party; and (c) the poem and other materials submitted are original and have never been published, and entry has never won an award. Failure to comply with this deadline may result in forfeiture of the prize and selection of an alternate winner. Return of any prize/prize notification as undeliverable may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner. Acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for Sponsor and its agencies to use Winner’s or Finalists’ names and/or likenesses, biographical information, and poems for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation, unless prohibited by law. By entering and/or accepting prize, Entrants, Winners, and Finalists agree to hold Sponsor and its promotional partners, its directors, officers, employees, and assigns harmless for liability, damages, or claims for injury or loss to any person or property relating to, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, participation in this Contest, the acceptance and/or subsequent use or misuse, or condition of any of the prizes awarded, or claims based on publicity rights, defamation or invasion of privacy. False or deceptive entries or acts will render the Entrant ineligible. Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the immediate and unrestricted right to disqualify any Entrant, prizewinner, or Finalist if any commits or has committed any act, or has been involved or becomes involved in any situation or occurrence which the Sponsor deems likely to subject the Sponsor, Entrant, or Winner to ridicule, scandal, or contempt, or which reflects unfavorably upon the Sponsor in any way. If such information is discovered by Sponsor after a winner or finalist has received notice of his or her prize and before the prize is awarded, Sponsor may rescind the prize in its entirety. If a portion of his/her prize has already been awarded, Sponsor may withdraw the remainder of the prize that has been fulfilled. Decisions of the Sponsor are final and binding in all matters related to this paragraph. Sponsor is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of the offer, administration of the Contest, or in the announcement of the prize.

6. INTERNET: Sponsor is not responsible for lost or late entries, nor for electronic transmission errors resulting in omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operations or transmission, theft or destruction, or unauthorized access to or alterations of entry materials, or for technical, network, telephone equipment, electronic, computer, hardware, or software malfunctions, or limitations of any kind, or inaccurate transmissions of or failure to receive entry information by Sponsor or Presenter on account of technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any website or any combination thereof. If for any reason the Internet portion of the program is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this Contest, the Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process, and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Contest. Sponsor reserves the right to select winners from eligible entries received as of the termination date. CAUTION: Any attempt by a contestant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest is a violation of criminal and civil laws and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such contestant to the fullest extent of the law. If there is a dispute as to the identity of the Entrant, the prize will be awarded to the authorized account holder of the e-mail address. The authorized account holder is defined as the natural person to whom the e-mail address is assigned.

7. GOVERNING LAW: This Contest is governed by the internal laws of the state of New York without regard to principles of conflict of laws. All cases and claims pertaining to this Contest must be brought in a court of competent jurisdiction in the city of New York, without recourse to class action suits.

8. SEVERABILITY: If any provision of these Rules is found to be invalid or unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction or appointed arbitrator, such determination shall in no way affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision herein.

9. WINNER’S LIST: For names of the Winner and Finalists, log on to (after March 25, 2016, available for a period of 10 days).

10. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this Contest is TI Media Solutions, 225 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10281.

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