Most children love rhymes, rhythm and humor, so short, funny rhyming poems for kids are a big hit for all ages. Since the establishment of the U.S.'s first children's poet laureate, Jack Prelutsky, kids' poetry has been getting a lot of attention, and parents and educators realize just how important humor and the structure of verse can be to a kid and to the reading process in general. Short, funny rhyming poems for kids can make reading and poetry appealing to children who may not be too fond of books, and they're great read-aloud material for kids of all ages and interests.
Funny Children's Poets
Dozens of poets pen verse for kids, but a few stand out above the rest as especially prolific and talented.
- Jack Prelutsky, America's first children's poet laureate, could be considered the king of funny poetry. Though he hated poems as a kid and was interested in becoming an artist instead of a writer, an editor who spotted his poems was thrilled with them and encouraged him to write more. Since then, Prelutsky has authored hundreds of verses and he is responsible for inspiring thousands of children to love poetry.
- Shel Silverstein wrote hilarious, poignant and unusual poems and songs for kids and adults. He illustrated his own work with simple black-and-white line drawings that are often as quirky as the poems themselves. For kids who gravitate toward the offbeat or darker forms of humor, Shel Silverstein's verse may be appealing.
- Dr. Seuss, like Shel Silverstein, wrote and illustrated all of his own work and enjoyed creating highly original creatures and concepts. Most of his books are written in rhyming verse, and they have become so popular that they've been adapted to movies, plays, and other formats as well.
- Ogden Nash did not write exclusively for kids, but many of his verses are appropriate for older children who understand and appreciate wordplay. He was famous for writing light, witty verse and some of his work can be found in anthologies designed for younger children as well.
Short, Funny Rhyming Poems for Kids
If you want to find books that contain light verse for kids, try heading to the children's poetry section of your local bookstore or library. Anthologies typically include a wide variety of poem types and authors, but collections of work by individual poets can also make great gifts for kids.
- Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, edited and compiled by Bruce Lansky, is an anthology that includes some of the most humorous modern poems for kids.
- The Random House Book of Poetry for Children was compiled by Jack Prelutsky, originally published in 1983, and remains very popular with children. Though it's not exclusively comprised of funny verses, most of the book's poems do utilize humor in some way.
- It's Raining Pigs and Noodles is a collection of work by Jack Prelutsky. Many of his poems tend toward the absurd, and they are an excellent choice for reading aloud to younger children who may not be able to grasp the rhythm of the verse when reading alone.
- Falling Up by Shel Silverstein] is a thick, memorable, fanciful collection of some of Silverstein's best poems for kids.
- Poem Stew, edited and compiled by William Cole, showcases verses from some of the best children's writers, all with a common theme: food. Kids who like to cook or eat will love this volume.
- Poetry for Kids is a website from Kenn Nesbitt, a contemporary humorous children's poet. Nesbitt has published several books with Meadowbrook Press and Purple Room Publishing and he maintains the site in which he posts funny poems for kids to read.