Playing with Riddles

Posted: August 17, 2020 | Updated: August 17, 2020
Created by: Ms. Sylvia

Riddles show us the delights of language by using it in clever ways.

Experts in child development recommend using riddles to playfully build creative thinking.

What I especially love about riddles are the way they build reading comprehension, because they require us to think about multiple meanings of a word of phrase. Practicing this through riddles builds a capacity that is invaluable for understanding subtext in more sophisticated reading. Learning riddles through song helps us to not only enjoy the riddle, but to internalize it.

Riddles delight children of all ages, but are particularly suited to 2nd and 3rd graders. By that age, many children are better able to understand the nuances of the riddle and to play with language. Listening to riddles that children generate themselves will tell you whether they’re delighting in the pure absurdity of a riddle or whether they’ve processed it at a deeper level. Once you know example riddles, practice creating more riddles as a family!

The Riddle Song is a great way to play with riddles. This English folk song is a beautiful lullaby for younger children — and a teaching tool for older ones.