How to write poetry: Limericks

How to write poetry: Limericks

Limericks are great fun and kids love coming up with their own words to recite to friends and family. Teach them how to write their very own limericks with these simple steps and tips.

What you need:

  • pencil
  • paper
  • a great imagination

Number of players:


The first stage of writing a limerick is to find a subject. Have your kids think up some ideas on what to write about. It could be anything from the house you live in, a dog named Jake, a sibling, themselves, right down to their favourite colour. The only limit is their imagination.

Now, once you have a subject matter, show the kids the style of a limerick. Here is an idea of how to set one up:

A limerick should have five lines to it and be written with a specific rhythm and rhyme.

The rhythm is shown in the limerick below – we will use the dog named Jake idea from above.

Note the Ba Boom Ba Ba Boom Ba Boom illustrated below each line. This will help you remember the syllables to each line.

The first, second and fifth line should be the longer lines and the third and fourth should be the shorter lines. This will continue the rhythm throughout the limerick.

A dog named Jake:

Line 1. (A) There once was a dog named Jake,
                  Ba Boom Ba Ba Boom Ba Boom (3 Booms)

Line 2. (A) He chased the garden rake,
                  Ba Boom Ba Ba Boom Ba Boom (3 Booms)

Line 3. (B) He ran so fast,
                 Ba Boom Ba Ba Boom (2 Booms)

Line 4. (B) He went right past
                 Ba Boom Ba Ba Boom (2 Booms)

Line 5. (A) And he ended up in the lake.
                 Ba Boom Ba Ba Boom Ba Boom (3 Booms)

The rhyme is illustrated with the letters (A) and (B). This is the sing-song rhyme that is made when you say the limerick. More than that, the (A) lines are the longer and the (B) lines are the shorter lines. A poem must be structured this way to qualify as a limerick.

Give it a go with the kids and then let them loose to write their own limerick book to share with the family or even give as gifts!

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