National Limerick Day is May 12, so get ready for some silly wordplay! Limericks are a form of poetry with a very specific cadence and rhyming structure, but most importantly they should make you laugh.
Download, Print, and Color These Free Limerick Printables
The full color limerick worksheet for kids can be printed on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch standard piece of paper from your home or classroom printer. The other worksheet was intentionally designed in black and white to save printer ink.
Download them here:
Where do limericks come from?
National Limerick Day celebrates the birthday of English writer and artist Edward Lear, who first introduced these silly poems in his “Book of Nonsense” that was published in the 1800’s.
It is thought that the name comes from a popular song of the time called “Won’t You Come To Limerick”, where Limerick is a city in Ireland.
How to Write a Limerick
Similar to other forms of poetry, limericks have a special structure:
- Limericks always have five lines
- The first, second and fifth lines rhyme with each other
- The third and fourth lines rhyme with each other (but not with lines 1, 2 and 5)
- The first, second and fifth lines have a total of eight or nine syllables each
- The third and fourth lines have five or six syllables each
- The last line is the funniest, often acting like the punch line of a joke.
Limericks have their own rules for meter, or how the syllables are stressed in each lines. Read the following lines out loud, with less emphasis on the ‘da’s’ and more emphasis on the ‘DUM’s’:
- line 1: da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
- line 2: da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
- line 3: da DUM da da DUM
- line 4: da DUM da da DUM
- line 5: da DUM da da DUM da da DUM
It’s almost like song! You might even recognize it because many nursery rhymes have a similar cadence to them.
Here’s a classic example:
Now you try it!
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