How to write limericks

Limericks have always been one of the first types of poetry that children learn to read and create themselves.  They’re a great way to learn about rhyme and rhythm and kids love them, because just like children, they can be silly, funny and often quite rude!

Limericks have been around for hundreds of years, but were made popular by Edward Lear with his A Book of Nonsense. Other great poets who have written brilliant limericks include Ogden Nash, Spike Milligan, Dixon Merritt, George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy and many more…

One limerick all children learn, without evening knowing it, is:

Hickory Dickory Dock

The mouse ran up the clock

The clock struck one,

The mouse ran down.

Hickory Dickory Dock.


Have fun creating your own with your children. It’s easy! Just follow these simple rules:

  • It has to be five lines long.
  • Rhyming goes as follows: AABBA – so first, second and fifth lines rhyme; and third and fourth lines rhyme.
  • Lines 3 and 4 are generally shorter than the other lines.
  • You can make an easy start by beginning with, “There was a/an….”


There was an Old Man of Madras  (A)

Who rode on a cream-coloured ass  (A)

But the length of its ears (B)

So promoted his fears (B)

That it killed that Old Man of Madras (A) 

Edward Lear 

Get some inspiration here:

Written and published for the Wondrous Ink

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