Riddles: Not Just Child’s Play

Despite what you might think, riddles are not child’s play. Whether simple or baffling, riddles will get you thinking in new and ingenious ways.  Structured as mini-games, riddles can challenge the best of us to find solutions to problems that are not readily discernible. Here are more reasons why you should become a little rattled by riddles.

First and foremost, riddles are fun. Their silliness and absurdity can make you laugh and laughter is a huge stress reliever.  Nothing helps the brain more than a few hearty chuckles. Besides, laughter makes us feel great. It relaxes the mind and everyone can use a break from his or her daily grind, even kids. According to Scott Weems, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies laughter and authored the book, “Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why,” says comedy is funny because it sets up an expectation and then takes you somewhere new. In other words, it forces you to think about things or see your word in an unusual way. Riddles work the exact same way.

And it’s true, riddles work the brain. Solving them involves a combination of logic and creativity and puts one’s critical thinking skills to the test. Finding the answer to a riddle takes concentration and the ability to note detail. Yet, of all the important lessons one can learn from riddles is that there is often more than one solution to any problem. Thinking outside the box and looking for alternative solutions are learned skills.

Both adults and kids can benefit from mind-boggling riddles. Since riddles are quick and fun to read, they can win over reluctant readers. Riddle swapping between parents and kids can turn into a fun, inter-generational social exchange. From an educational standpoint, kids who learn new riddles from adults can turn around and become the teacher sharing those newly learned riddles with a sibling or friend.

So you see, riddles are playful, social, educational and challenging. Now put your brain to the task with these simple riddles. Once you conquer them, head to the internet where you can find numerous sources for more riddles of varying types and difficulty. Your mind will thank you.

What gets more wet the more it dries?

A towel, of course.

I exist once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years. Can you guess what I am?

The letter

You throw away the outside, eat the inside and throw away the inside. What am I?

How can you place a pencil on the floor so no one can jump over it?

Put it next to the wall.

If you have three sticks, how can you make four without breaking any of them?

Three engineers said David was their brother. David said he had no brothers. Who is lying?

No one. The three engineers are sisters.

What travels around the world while staying in a corner?

A stamp

What has a head and a tail but no body?

A coin

What has an eye but cannot see?

A needle

What kind of room has no doors or windows?

What can you catch but not throw?

A cold

Which weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?

Neither. They both weigh a pound.

A cowboy rode into town on Friday. He stayed in town for three days and rode out on Friday. How was that possible?

Friday was the name of his horse.

What has a face, two hands but no body?

Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Wednesday, Friday and Sunday?

Yesterday, today and tomorrow

What runs but never walks, often murmurs but never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats?

A river

Two lions were facing in opposite directions. One was facing due East and one was facing due West. They were in a place where there was no reflection from the sun so there were no shadows. How can they manage to see each other without walking around or turning around or moving their heads?

The two lions were facing each other the whole time. Hence, facing in opposite directions.

You will always find me in the past. I can be created in the present. But the future can never taint me. What am I?


What has cities, but no houses; forests but no trees; and water, but no fish?

A map

What gets sharper the more you use it?

Your brain!