Riddles are a hobby that goes all the way back to ancient human history. In fact, the oldest riddles ever found were over four thousand years old. Riddles for kids are an especially popular pastime, and they’re a good way to help keep kids occupied on long car trips or other tedious tasks.
What Is a Riddle?
A riddle is an ancient word game that involves presenting a question or a statement which must then be met with the riddle’s answer. Solving a riddle typically involves having to “think sideways” and consider both language and context to arrive at the correct response. Riddles often rely on the idea of a phrase or word with multiple meanings.
Benefits of Riddles for Kids
Along with being a fun way to keep kids occupied, riddles also offer several other benefits for children who practice them. Here are a few of the advantages of teaching kids to enjoy riddles as a hobby:
- Improves critical thinking and problem-solving: Since solving riddles involves thinking outside of the box, teaching children a wide variety of riddles can eventually help them improve their ability to come up with unconventional answers to problems.
- Improves memorization skills: Teaching kids riddles and their answers encourages them to learn the riddles so they can ask other people. This practice helps them hone their skills of rote memorization and recitation.
- Improves creativity: Kids who become interested in riddles may take it on themselves to start making up their own. Riddles help kids engage their imagination and make them more creative in their play.
Since riddles don’t require any supplies, they’re an easy way to entertain kids when they don’t have access to electronics, games, and other toys.
Tips for Keeping Riddles Appropriate for Kids
While you might be interested in getting your kids to learn riddles, you won’t keep them interested for long if you don’t choose riddles that are appropriate for kids to learn. Here are a few tips on picking riddles that kids will enjoy answering:
- Keep their age in mind. Some riddles may contain concepts or vocabulary that younger children won’t understand well enough to solve the riddle. Start young kids on very easy riddles and have them work their way up to harder riddles as they get older.
- Make sure the wordplay involves their native language. Some riddles involve multiple languages since they play on the multiple meanings of words. However, with kids, it’s best to stick to whatever language they speak for posing riddles.
- Don’t force the answer. An important part of riddling is letting kids know that if they can’t figure out the answer to a riddle, it’s okay. Keeping things light and fun while riddling with kids can keep them from getting discouraged, which might discourage them from wanting to engage with riddles in the future.
Many kids will be naturally drawn to riddles because they enjoy asking questions and solving mysteries due to their innate curiosity. Below you’ll find a list of thirty-five riddles that you can use to engage with kids of any age.
Kids Riddles with Answers
Easy Riddles for Kids
Easy riddles for kids are the best riddles to start out with if you’re riddling with children that are young or just getting started with riddles. Here are five easy riddles you can try out if you want to test the waters.
- Riddle: Four legs up, four legs down, soft in the middle, hard all around.
Answer: A bed
- Riddle: I am so simple that I can only point, yet I guide men all over the world.
Answer: A compass
- Riddle: Light as a feather, there’s nothing in it, but the strongest man can’t hold it much more than a minute.
- Riddle: What has hands but cannot touch?
Answer: A clock
- Riddle: If you feed me, I live. If you water me, I die. What am I?
Hard Kid Riddles
If you have kids that are riddling experts or just older kids who might find easy riddles too simple to solve, here are five riddles that are a little more difficult to figure out. These are good options for kids who are proud of their riddle experience and want a challenge.
- Riddle: What two things can you never eat for breakfast?
Answer: Lunch and dinner
- Riddle: What gets bigger the more you take away?
Answer: A hole
- Riddle: I am always in front of you, but you will never see me. What am I?
Answer: The future
- Riddle: This belongs to you, but everyone else uses it much more often. What is it?
Answer: Your name
- Riddle: What has 88 keys, but cannot open a single door?
Answer: A piano
Food Riddles for Kids
There are lots of food-related riddles that tickle children’s imaginations, especially if they’re already interested in food or cooking. Here are five food riddles to tickle your budding home chef.
- Riddle: Pearl white chest without key or lid, inside which golden treasure is hidden. What am I?
Answer: An egg
- Riddle: I am a fruit that is always sad. What am I?
Answer: A blueberry
- Riddle: I have eyes but cannot see. What am I?
Answer: A potato
- Riddle: I have no beginning, middle or end, but somehow people manage to eat me.
Answer: A doughnut
- Riddle: I’m a bell but can’t ring. I sound hot but I’m not. What am I?
Answer: A bell pepper
Funny Kids’ Riddles
Riddles are word-based puzzles, but they can also be clever jokes too. Funny riddles are a good way to have fun with kids while also teaching them valuable wordplay. Here are five kids’ riddles that can also do double duty as puns.
- Riddle: What has four wheels and flies?
Answer: A garbage truck
- Riddle: Mike’s parents have three sons – Snap, Crackle, and —?
- Riddle: What did one wall say to the other wall?
Answer: I’ll meet you at the corner.
- Riddle: Where do cows go to have fun?
Answer: They go to the moo-vies.
- Riddle: Why are ghosts bad liars?
Answer: Because you can see right through them.
Math Riddles for Kids
Riddles are known to play with double meanings in words. However, there are also riddles that involve math and arithmetic that are great for getting young minds to practice their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Here are five math riddles for kids.
- Riddle: When Tom was 6 years old, his little sister Samantha was half his age. If Tom is 40 years old today, how old is Leila?
Answer: 37 years old.
- Riddle: What did the triangle say to the circle?
Answer: You’re pointless.
- Riddle: If two’s a company and three’s a crowd, what are four and five?
- Riddle: Eggs are twelve a dozen. How many eggs can you get for a dollar?
Answer: 100 eggs (at one cent apiece)
- Riddle: How many sides does a circle have?
Answer: Two, the inside and the outside.
Word Kids’ Riddles
Some riddles can help teach kids to think about math, while others are better for teaching kids about the different meanings of words. These five riddles below focus on wordplay too.
- Riddle: I have no life, but I can die. What am I?
Answer: A battery
- Riddle: What has many ears but cannot hear?
- Riddle: What falls in winter but never gets hurt?
- Riddle: What can you catch, but not throw?
Answer: A cold
- Riddle: What is so delicate that saying its name breaks it?
Family Riddles for Kids
Riddling is a fun activity that parents can practice alongside their kids. Since riddles are age-appropriate, they’re fun for the entire family. Here are five riddles you can tell in a group for some family entertainment.
- Riddle: What has teeth but cannot bite?
Answer: A comb
- Riddle: I come out at night without being called, and I’m lost in the day without being stolen. What am I?
- Riddle: What do you call a Chihuahua in the summer?
Answer: A hot dog
- Riddle: I follow you all the time and copy your every move, but you can’t touch me or catch me. What am I?
Answer: Your shadow
- Riddle: What runs but never gets tired?
Answer: A faucet.
How to Create Riddles for Kids
Along with helping kids memorize famous or traditional riddles, another option for engaging them with riddles is to create some new ones for them to solve. Since most riddles are based on simple wordplay or the multiple meanings of words, they can be relatively easy to make up on your own.
These are some steps you can take to make up original riddles:
- Examine example riddles. The best way to get a strong idea of how riddles are generally constructed is to look at lots of riddle examples and examine how they’re put together. What are the clues given and how do they relate back to the answer? This can often give you inspiration as a jumping-off point for your own riddles.
- Start with the answer. Before you come up with an original riddle, you need to come up with the solution. This will give you a subject that you can look at when it’s time to start coming up with clues.
- Make a list of potential clues. In a riddle, you’ll need to come up with a list of phrases, words, or descriptions that could lead to the answer. This is the point of the riddle where you should look at any possible double meanings for words associated with your riddle answer.
- Choose 3-4 words from your list of clues to make up the riddle. If you want to make your riddle more difficult, you can use a thesaurus to choose similar words for your clues that won’t immediately lead your audience to the riddle answer.
- Write the riddle. Since there is no formal structure for riddles, you can choose to use a rhyming scheme or you can just present the riddle in free verse.
Coming up with riddles is a fun way to pass the time, especially if you’re stuck in a line or somewhere else where you can’t easily entertain yourself. Use the method above to come up with riddles that kids and adults alike will love.
Riddles for Kids FAQ
What Is the Purpose of Riddles?
The original purpose of riddles was as a simple form of entertainment, especially in groups. Riddles encourage listeners to think more deeply about language and abstract concepts by getting them to think outside the box in an effort to find the riddle’s solution.
What Do Riddles Help With?
Riddles help with critical thinking skills, creativity, arithmetic, and language skills. Riddles can also help a person with public speaking by giving them a lighthearted, casual outlet for speaking in front of a group.
For children, riddles can help with socialization and can help them explore concepts related to vocabulary, science, and history.
What Is the Best Way to Solve Riddles?
If you aren’t naturally good at creating or solving riddles, never fear. There are a few rules you can follow that make it easier to solve riddles. Here are some tips for coming to your riddle answer more quickly:
- Understand the rules behind riddles. Most riddles use metaphor, figurative language, or puns to explore the double meanings of words and concepts. Knowing how riddles are typically constructed can give you clues on how they might be solved.
- Look for hidden meaning. In many riddles, the answer to the riddle is hidden in plain sight. Try to look past any potential “red herrings” since riddles may go out of their way to misdirect you. Sometimes the simplest answer is the most obvious one.
- Solve other puzzles. Learning how to solve other puzzles like sudoku and crossword puzzles can strengthen the problem-solving parts of your brain and make it easier for you to make the mental cross associations necessary to solve riddles.
When it comes down to it, the best way to solve riddles is to read lots and lots of riddles. By memorizing riddles and their solutions, you’ll start to learn the wordplay that is necessary to understand other riddles and deconstruct them.
Do Riddles Improve Brain Function?
Riddles help improve your brain function by improving your long-term memory. Whenever you memorize riddles to tell people later, you’re exercising your memory and cognitive function. Over time, this can lead to a sharper intelligence.
Another way that riddles improve brain function is by increasing the production of the brain chemical dopamine, a chemical that is involved in the regulation of mood. Simply put, the fun of solving riddles can help put you in a better headspace and make you more resilient against bad moods.
Riddles for Kids Are a Fun Brain Workout for All Ages
Whether you’re trying to entertain one child or a group, riddles for kids are a fun way for you to expand your intellect while also joking around. Since many riddles are relatively simple, they’re a useful way to introduce the concept of puzzles to children at any grade level. The riddle guide above should give you plenty of kid-friendly options for getting your family involved in this time-honored game of wits.