Kids love writing riddle poems. Think about it — riddles usually give sensory details and describe something a child knows about. Plus, they encourage critical thinking!
answer: an orange / image by bcmom
Adapt your reading and writing riddles to the age of your child. Read riddles from books like these:
- What in the Wild: Mysteries of Nature Concealed – and Revealed
by David M. Schwartz and Yael Schy
- Yummy Riddles
by Marilyn Helmer
Write Riddles With Beginning Writers (K-1st)
Start with a category like food or animals and let the kids pick their subject. Give them a template from which they might start writing. Then say, “Choose an animal. Don’t write what it is in the riddle, just write clues describing the animal – use the sentence stems to start.”
Show them how you think of clues. Use the popcorn ideas from yesterday’s poems as an example. Say, “We could say everything about the popcorn just not say popcorn. The reader will have to figure out what I’m describing.” (Which kind of is the whole point of poetry isn’t it? Riddles are just much easier to comprehend than say The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Memory scar.)
I am __________________ (color)
I am the size of ___________________.
I smell like ______________________.
Sometimes you find me ________________.
Who / What am I?
Write your riddles in a lift-the-flap riddle book format – see these directions from Bookmaking With Kids.
answer: a dog / image by by Randy Son Of Robert
Write Riddles With Young Writers (2nd – 5th)
Again, it’s helpful to start with categories (sports, food, animals) and expand out — it avoids the “I don’t know what to write about” syndrome.
Work on writing riddles using your five senses. Comparison using like or as is a simile.
I smell like _____________________
I look like _________________________
I taste like __________________________
I feel like ________________________
I sound like (or I say) ____________________
Or, you can write descriptive sentences without similes.
First Grade Example:
Sharing is the best part of writing riddles.
More Riddles and Stories
Stories with a Hole by Nathan Levy were my 5th graders favorite books. (Me, too!)
Two-Minute Mysteries by Donald Sobol
Eight Ate: A Feast of Homonym Riddles by Marvin Terban
What riddles are your children’s favorites?