Poetry Tuesday

Poetry Activity: Limerick Fill-in-the-blank

Hello! Welcome to Poetry Tuesday: the day we dip (or dive) into the lovely world of poetry!

Edward Lear’s Illustration of his Old Man with a beard

Interested in poetry?
Construct a limerick in this activity for kids, adults, and everyone in-between.

A.  Introduction to Limericks
Have you ever read a limerick? They sound a little like this…

The Jibbericky
There once was a poem named Limerick,
Who thought everything was a gim-er-ick.
It started to giggle,
Which made the words jiggle,
And mixed them all up into jibberick.
~Hannah Spuler

(Written in complete and utter silliness three minutes ago. The birds in my back yard are wondering what’s so funny)

Limericks are (often) silly poems that follow a certain pattern of beats (stresses) and rhymes. If you’re looking for a poem to make people laugh, a limerick fits the bill. No one is quite sure where the limerick started, but Wikipedia.org seems to think it’s as old as the early 1700’s. Oh, and there’s also a town of Limerick in Ireland which seems to have nothing to do with the poem. (Didn’t you want to know that?)

B. Limerick Example

Here’s an example from Edward Lear, master of the limerick. He wrote a book called A Book of Nonsense that’s full of all kinds of silly… nonsense. (Hm! Imagine that.) His book was full of limericks, which is actually what made the limerick a popular form today.

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, “It is just as I feared!–
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!”
~Edward Lear (Book of Nonsense, 1)

C. Fill-in-the-Blank!

Now it’s time to write your own Limerick! To make it easy for you, I’ve made a form so you can just fill in the blanks.

Details in case you get stuck:

  1. A limerick has 5 lines.
  2. The 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines rhyme
  3. The 1st, 2nd, and 5th lines all have 3 beats and 7-9 syllables
  4. Need help understanding syllables? Think of how many times your chin drops when you say a word. Lim-er-ick has three syllables. Li-on has two. Cat has one. Still don’t understand? Ask an adult to help!
  5. The 3rd and 4th line rhyme
  6. The 3rd and 4th line have 2 beats and 5-7 syllables
  7. They’re as silly as you want them to be. So don’t get too caught up in the details!

Form poem: Limerick

  1. There once was a ____________ named __________
  2. Who wanted to ________________________.
  3. He/She/It (sat/stood/laid) on a _________________,
  4. And said, “What a ______________!”
  5. And then ___________________________________.

Still feeling stuck? Go back to the Edward Lear example and follow it as a model.

Note to parents: Limericks are fun for the whole family to write together! Small children like to come up with the character in the poem but might not be able to rhyme or do syllables on their own yet. That’s perfectly fine! Let them help as much as they’re able! By 4th or 5th grade many children will be able to contribute quite well.

Pleased with your poem? Share it in the comments or post it on my Facebook page so we can all read and enjoy them!


Hungry for more? Check out this week’s…

Poem Study The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

Advanced Poetry Lesson: Limericks, Week 2


3 thoughts on “Poetry Activity: Limerick Fill-in-the-blank”

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