Kids love reading and writing riddle poems. Riddles often give wonderful sensory details and describe something a child knows about. Plus, they encourage critical thinking and engagement in poetry.
Riddles are usually written in poem form. Consider this riddle poem:
It can be cracked, It can be made,
It can be told, it can be played.
What is it?
(answer: a joke)
source: Riddle Me This
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
- The Best Riddles In the World
by George Tam
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
Riddles, Riddles, Riddles (Dover Activity Book)
Eight Ate: A Feast of Homonym Riddles by Marvin Terban
What riddles are your children’s favorites?