We all want our children and student to develop thinking skills, and one way to do that is with riddles for kids. Kids love reading and writing kids’ riddles almost as much as they love telling them and guessing their answers. Even better, riddles for kids encourage critical thinking and engagement in poetry.
Read Easy Riddles for Kids
Riddles often give wonderful sensory details and describe something a child knows about. Often the riddles are about animals or foods, especially in the examples in these books.
I love riddles because they encourage thinking. Have you tried reading or writing riddles with your children or students?
6 Good Children’s Books with Riddles for Kids
First, familiarize your children with easy riddles for kids by reading easy riddles that kids will be able to guess.
What are good riddles for kids? The books listed below contain fun riddles for kids that are funny, from easy to hard, and about different kid-related topics, including holidays and jokes.
Read these books of easy riddles with kids to help them practice their problem solving skills. Maybe read a riddle of the day for kids at breakfast or before school?
Guess Who, Haiku by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea
Can you guess who the animal is from the haiku poems? The riddles are traditional nature haikus transformed into clever riddles. Read, think, and use deductive reasoning to guess the answers.
from a lily pad
keep eyes spy a careless fly
a sticky tongue — SNAP!
answer: a frog
Heads and Tails Underwater by John Canty
Of all the books, these are the easiest animal riddles for preschool age kids under 4! Three written clues as well as a hint in the illustration will get kids thinking and making educated guesses (deductive reasoning) about the answers. Turn the pages to see if your guess was correct.
I am gentle. I can sing. I am the biggest animal in the world. I am…
answer: A whale
Animals in the Sky by Sara Gillingham
Riddles for kids help them learn about the constellations by their shapes with lift-the-flap answers that give the answer and more information.
I have a big bushy mane, a long tail, and a loud roar. I am the king of the jungle! What animal in the sky am I? I am the Lion.
The white and gold text and illustrations pop out of the page set onto turquoise and navy blue backgrounds.
Math for All Seasons by Greg Tang, illustrated by Harry Briggs
Clever rhyming poems or riddles tell kids a little story, then, ask them a problem-solving question. Kids will use their math skills to answer the questions: find patterns, count, group, add, and subtract. Use this book with children ages 5 – 7.
National Geographic Kids Just Joking Animal Riddles by J. Patrick Lewis
Funny animal-themed riddles are guaranteed to get your kids thinking and laughing!
Just Joking Jumbo by National Geographic Kids
Holy Smokes! Your kids will love this book. It’s packed full of awesome jokes, riddles, puzzles, and photographs; it’s hefty and impossible not to love. Fun facts added throughout make it extra interesting.
Write Your Own Riddles
Riddles are usually written in poem form that gives readers clues about the answer.
How does this poem give the listener/reader clues without saying the answer?
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
Here’s another one, that’s not quite as easy:
I have streets but no pavement,
I have cities but no buildings, I have forests but no trees,
I have rivers yet no water.
WHAT AM I?
answer: a map
riddle from Daily Brain Teaser
Here’s another riddle my daughter wrote. She used her observations of an orange to write the clues.
I taste sweet and juicy,
I smell fruity.
I feel rough and wet.
I look like a bumpy ball.
WHAT AM I?
answer: an orange
How to Write Easy Riddle Poems With Beginning Writers (K-1st Grade)
Now it’s your turn. Start with a category like food or animals and let the kids pick their subject / answer.
If you’re having trouble thinking of a word, look up categories of words in a dictionary. When you look up the word in the dictionary, you might get ideas of clues using phrases within the word’s definition.
Give your writers prompts to start writing.
I am __________________ (color)
I am the size of ___________________.
I smell like ______________________.
Sometimes you find me ________________.
Who / What am I?
Then say, “Choose an animal. Don’t write what it is in the riddle, just write clues describing the animal — use the sentence prompts and fill in the blanks.“
Show them how you think of clues using the dictionary or observations with your five senses.
Use the popcorn ideas from this poem idea 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.“
First Grade Example
Write your clues and answers using a lift-the-flap book format.
See these directions from Bookmaking With Kids.
I am your best friend.
My wet nose sniffs for food.
I have 4 legs and a tail.
I love to play and chase cats.
WHO AM I?
answer: a dog
How to Write Riddle Poems With Growing Writers (2nd – 5th Grade)
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.
P.S. Don’t forget to share the riddles you wrote! Sharing is the best part of writing riddles.
Play Fun Riddles for Kids Games
Riddle Moo This
Kids can practice deductive reasoning with 300 fun riddles and animal-sound buzzers from Learning Resources. My kids think the buzzers are awesome. I think the thinking skills are awesome. The game is recommended for ages 5 and up, but I think kids as young as 3 or 4 could play this game. The winner is the first person to collect 10 cards.
One player reads the clues for the others to guess. The first person to hit their buzzer and guess correctly wins the card.
It says, “Gobble-gobble”
Riddle Me This
Small cards with riddles will help to spark thinking and conversation for ages 6 and up.
You can think of me as the center of gravity. What am I?
answer: the letter V
Also, your children might like to try the Joke Generator on the Pocoyo site