A gaggle of geese.
A school of fish.
A flock of sheep.
A nest of hornets.
These animal groupings are called collective nouns, and I’m sure they’re well known to you and your kids. But have you heard of any of these?
A murder of crows.
A crash of rhinoceroses.
An unkindliness of ravens.
An exaltation of larks.
An implausibility of gnus.
A memory of elephants.
I love these! Could word usage be any more fun?
If you want to take a humorous trip down vocabulary lane, check out this link and learn all sorts of interesting collective nouns people have attributed to birds, fish, and mammals. From what I’ve gathered, some of the terms date back to the 1400s. Many may be archaic, but for the most part, they’re purely entertaining!
I think it would be great to encourage your children to write a poem using these unusual animal groupings. Maybe we could call our collection a ponderance of poems.
Do you have a few favorites from the collective animal nouns list? Share them in the comments. And while you’re at it, why not make up a new collective noun of your own? I think a ponderance of poems is a great place to start!
[Edited: Sherri alerted me to a wonderful song by Carrie Newcomer called A Crash of Rhinoceros, about how Adam named the animals. You just have to check out these fabulous lyrics!]