Riddles and Answers

by sheilamarie

Riddles and answers can be a fun way to engage kids in literacy and high level thinking skills. How to make a good riddle is a mental exercise and a memory exercise, too.

Have you ever considered the way you have to think a little differently when figuring out an answer to a riddle? It's as if you are standing outside your usual use of words, thinking about the words from previously ignored angles and considering connotations to which you are usually blind.

Even if the riddle is being asked by a cute, freckle-faced second grader or a younger brother or sister, you must imagine the different ways the person asking the riddle could be trying to trip you up.

Whether the answers make you laugh or cringe, riddles are word play in the true sense of the term.

Riddles in Education

Why Riddles?

Every riddle you have ever heard, someone had to make up. Riddles are part of an ancient heritage of word play and puzzles. Although children are the ones most fascinated by riddles these days, riddles in the past were taken very seriously. They were associated with life and death decisions and come up again and again in ancient tales about gods and goddesses and sacred rites. A riddle often determined who would win the prize. Answering a riddle correctly was the only way one could pass by the Sphinx and live. Riddles were posed as a challenge in many tales of lore.

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Riddles Stretch Your Thinking Skills

Try to Solve These Riddles (Answers Below)

Riddles use word play and metaphor to stretch your thinking skills. Riddles also use double meanings that keep you on your toes. 

After practicing with some of these riddles, see if you can write your own. Here are some riddles to start you off. 

  1.            Right side up or upside down

                         I look the same if I don't drown.

         2.             If I am alone, I am not many.

                         Add two letters more, I'm fewer, not plenty.

         3.             I am a word of a certain kind.

                         Add two letters to change my mind.

                         When I am nice, you’ll want to stay.

                         When I start to judge, you step away.

          4.             The more I dry, the more soggy I get

                          My job can sometimes get me wet.


Have You Ever Made Up a Riddle?

Just Wondering . . .
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Writing Riddles

How to Make a Riddle

Making up riddles can be fun. Challenge yourself and see if you can fool your family. Here are a few tips for making up riddles.

1. Start with the ending. Since the answer to a riddle is not obvious and takes a little mind bending, when you write your own riddle, start with the ending. What is the answer you want your reader to guess?

2. Brainstorm about the answer. Think about your answer in these ways: 
          A. Are there any double meanings to the word? 

          B. Are there surface facts about the word itself of which you would like people to become    

              aware, i.e. the number of letters, words within words, etc.?         

          C. What are the different qualities that describe the answer? If the answer is a thing, are    

              there any qualities that this thing shares with humans -- for example, the tongue

              of a shoe or the arms of a clock?

Although not all riddles rhyme, it’s fun to see if you can make yours rhyme. But no pressure! As I've said before, not all riddles rhyme!

3. Read your riddle aloud to yourself. Make sure your riddle makes sense and that the answer makes sense.

4. Test your riddle by reading it aloud to someone else. Make adjustments if you need to. Is your riddle too easy? Is it so hard that no one else but you could ever figure it out? (This may be tricky to judge. If your listener laughs and thinks, “Oh yeah! I should have thought of that!” then your riddle has been successful.)

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Riddle Answers

I Hope You've Tried to Answer These Riddles Before You Peek!

Answers to the above riddles: 1. SWIMS 2. Few 3. Kind (Unkind. The word “kind” can refer to your behavior or it can refer to judging what “kind” of food, animal, activity, etc. Whenever we judge something, we have to stand back and put it in a category.) 4. Towel. 

Wizzles About Riddles

Check Out These Pages
Valentine Riddles to make you laugh. Use your new Valentine riddles to impress your kids.
Fun riddles to while away the wintry months. Have fun sharing these riddles with your family and friends.

Visit These Riddle Pages

Add to Your Riddle Repertoire

Fun Riddles for the New Year
January riddles to enjoy with your family.

Christmas Riddles for Kids
The lead up to Christmas can be stressful. Stop for a minute and share a laugh with these Christmas riddles.

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Updated: 08/20/2013, sheilamarie
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