Experts agree that riddles are a great way for kids to improve their critical-thinking ability and creativity.
Creativity is the ability to discover new and original ideas, connections, and solutions to problems, according to Britannica.com. Being open and playful is one way to build your natural creativity. When young children are allowed to try out new ideas, new ways of thinking, and problem-solving, it fosters mental growth, according to support material for The Whole Child, a PBS telecourse in early childhood education.
Even the simplest riddles for kids require creatively thinking outside of the box. To solve riddles, children must recognize that words sometimes have multiple meanings, that human characteristics sometime apply to animals or inanimate objects, and that the obvious conclusion could be wrong.
Children who spend time wrestling with riddles tend to learn to focus and think outside of the box. And when a young child works a riddle that relies on a play on words, they’re likely exposed to new words and new ways to use them while subliminally learning about the rhythm of language and how words rhyme.
Riddles, and more importantly the laughter they can evoke when shared, are also great for bonding. Many children form lasting friendships based on a shared sense of humor. Laughing together over the incongruities and absurdities of riddles and other humor creates a shared understanding and closeness in childhood, experts say.
As a Learning Coach, riddles can serve you well too. “When students hear riddles, they will begin to make associations, link what they are learning in the classroom, and come to conclusions about things they already know,” first-grade teacher Sara Ipatenco says on the Bored Teachers blog. “For example, a riddle about the moon might connect something your students are learning about in science class. Even if your riddles aren’t educational, the simple experience of laughter will increase joy in the classroom, and joyful students are more likely to enjoy school and become deeply engaged in their learning.”