Fun riddles for kids can serve as teaching tools for your student, whether they’re enrolled in an online school like Connections Academy, a traditional brick-and-mortar school, or they’re homeschooled.
Whether you’re arming your elementary school student with a list of riddles, challenging them with brainteasers, or writing short riddles together—riddles for kids are fun learning activities that you can do not just from home, but anywhere!
Riddles can potentially make kids smarter. They introduce children to functional thinking, which emphasizes seeing relationships between new ideas and previous knowledge to help them learn and remember faster and more easily. Functional thinking skills developed in the elementary grades are considered a gateway to algebra and other higher mathematics.
So What is a Riddle?
A riddle consists of a question and a surprise answer that relies on an unexpected interpretation of the question or a play on words (such as a pun):
RIDDLE: The more of them you take, the more you leave behind. What are they? ANSWER: Footsteps.
RIDDLE: What do you get when you cross an automobile with a domesticated animal? ANSWER: A carpet.
What is the Difference Between a Joke and Riddle?
A riddle is considered a joke when the person asked isn’t expected to know the answer, but instead the question is simply a set-up for the punch line. This is sometimes called a “conundrum” style of riddle. Elephant jokes are an example of conundrum riddles:
RIDDLE: What was the elephant doing on the freeway? ANSWER: About 5 mph.
RIDDLE: What gets wet when drying? ANSWER: A towel.
RIDDLE: Where do fish keep their money? ANSWER: In a riverbank, of course.
Why Are Riddles Great For Kids?
When age-appropriate, a riddle can help elementary students:
All children have a sense of humor and riddles are among the first forms of written humor that young children can truly understand, play along with, and initiate. Children who have a well-developed sense of humor are happier and more optimistic, have better self-esteem, and handle differences better (their own and others’).
Riddles also create a bond. Your child will always remember when they first heard that silly riddle from you. And because riddles are meant to be retold, they give your elementary schooler something to share with others.
Many children become friends through shared humor, and for some, being able to make other kids laugh is a talent they hone and find rewarding all their lives.
Easy Riddles For Kids
RIDDLE: What is orange and sounds like a parrot? ANSWER: A carrot.
RIDDLE: 100 feet in the air, but its back is on the ground. What is it? ANSWER: A centipede on its back.
RIDDLE: I will bring you down, but I will never lift you up. What am I? ANSWER: Gravity.
RIDDLE: What is something you always have with you, but you always leave behind? ANSWER: Fingerprints.
Rhyming Kids’ Riddles
RIDDLE: I can be cracked, I can be made. I can be told, I can be played. What am I? ANSWER: A joke.
RIDDLE: First, I was yellow, now I am white. Salty or sweet, I crunch with each bite. What am I? ANSWER: Popcorn.
RIDDLE: Glittering points that downward thrust, sparking spears that never rust. What are they? ANSWER: Icicles.
RIDDLE: I have two arms, but fingers I have none. I’ve got two feet, but I cannot run. I carry well, but I carry best with my feet off the ground. What am I? ANSWER: A wheelbarrow.
RIDDLE: If I have it, I shouldn’t share it, because if I share it, I won’t have it. What is it? ANSWER: A secret.
RIDDLE: I live off of a busy street, if you want you can stay for an hour or two, but if you don’t pay rent, I’ll tell on you. What am I? ANSWER: A parking meter.
Some riddles pose problems that teach deductive reasoning. They ask a reachable “How?” or “Why?” They are more about thinking than laughing.
RIDDLE: Two mothers and two daughters go to a pet store and buy three cats. Each gets her own cat. How is this possible? ANSWER: They are a grandmother, a mother, and a daughter. The grandmother is also the mother’s mother, so there are two daughters and two mothers, but only three people.
RIDDLE: While walking across a bridge I saw a boat full of people. Yet, there wasn't a single person on the boat. Why? ANSWER: Everyone on the boat was married.
Tricky Riddles For Kids
RIDDLE: I might be far from the point, but I’m not a mistake. In fact, I fix yours. What am I? ANSWER: An eraser.
RIDDLE: I can be long, I can be short. I can be grown, I can be bought. I can be painted or left bare. I can be round or a little square. What am I? ANSWER: A fingernail.
RIDDLE: I’m at the beginning of time and part of the past, present, and future. I’m part of history, but not of here and now. In a moment you’ll find me, if you know what I am. What am I? ANSWER: The letter T.
RIDDLE: You can swallow me, but I can consume you too. What am I? ANSWER: Pride.
RIDDLE: What is it that you can keep after giving it to someone else? ANSWER: Your word.
RIDDLE: It is the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space, the beginning of the end and the end of every space. What is it? ANSWER: The letter E.
RIDDLE: What goes around the house and in the house, but never touches the house? ANSWER: The sun.
RIDDLE: What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years? ANSWER: The letter M.
How to Write a Riddle
Many children will try their own riddles unprompted and are often surprisingly clever. Even at its simplest, creating a brainteaser requires strong writing skills—expressing a thought that only makes sense if you make the wordplay or skewed connection between question and answer understandable. Here’s how to write a riddle:
Come up with a punchline—the answer to a question.
Brainstorm words and phrases that go with your punchline.
List things it (the answer/punchline) does or that you can do with it.
Choose a few words or phrases from your list and search for synonyms online (or use a thesaurus).
Note some surprising, interesting, or new words and phrases you find and look for synonyms to them. Make lists.
Make another list of synonyms for your punchline word or phrase.
Be your punchline.
Imagine yourself as the punchline. Think about its place in the world, how it acts, or how it is acted upon (used).
Make connections between your lists.
Use simile, comparisons that use “like” or “as.”
Use metaphors, phrases that describe the object symbolically, not literally.
Use onomatopoeia, words that sound like their meaning.
Before you know it, you’ll see some concepts that go together in a funny, odd, or unexpected way, and be crafting a fun brainteaser for kids. Now you get the last laugh!
Not all children excel at language arts. If the idea of writing riddles causes boredom, try whipping out some kitchen ingredients and build a fruit volcano instead to keep learning from home fun!