Riddles are a great way to keep kids' minds occupied and focused on something other than (put your least favorite question here: How far until we get there?)
Riddles can't be too easy or too hard. We want them to generate thought and discussion among the kids.
Man dead inside cabin on side of a mountain. What happened?
Woman dead on side of mountain with pack on back. No footprints around. What happened?
Mary and Johnny are in a room, locked from the inside, and they lay dead on floor.... What happened?
(They are Goldfish and their bowl/tank fell of the table in an earthquake)
A person is in a cabin. They go outside. They head one mile (km) due south. Turn and head one mile (km) due west. Turn and head one mile (km) due north. They are now back at the cabin.
Q1: If they saw a bear while on this hike, what color was it?
Q2: Where are they? (Statistically, they would be at the South pole, but it is OK to go with North Pole - particularly if you use the ber question.)
Imagine you're a bus driver. You're driving down the road with 20 people on your bus. You make a stop and 3 get off. At the next corner, 2 get on and one gets off. At the next corner, 2 more get on. (Keep going as long as you want with folks getting on and off.) At the lost stop, two people get off. Question: What color are the bus driver's eyes? (Color of listener's eyes - they are the bus driver!)
A traveller comes to a fork in the road which leads to two villages. In one village the people always tell lies, and in the other village the people always tell the truth. The traveller needs to conduct business in the village where everyone tells the truth. A man from one of the villages is standing in the middle of the fork, but there is no indication of which village he is from. The traveller approaches the man and asks him one question. From the villager's answer, he knows which road to follow. What did the traveller ask?
(The traveler asked "which road goes to your village". He would then take the road the villager pointed to because a truthful person would point toward the truthful village, and the liar would also point to the truthful village since he is a liar and, therefore, could not point to his own village.)
A man walks into an art gallery and concentrates on one picture in particular. The museum curator notices this and asks the man why he is so interested in that one painting. The man replies, "Brothers and sisters have I none, but that man's father is my father's son." Who is in the painting?
(The son of the man who was studying the painting.)
There is a red house with lots of babies. The red house is inside of a white house. The white house is inside of a green house. What is it?
Dee Septor, the famous magician, claimed to be able to throw a ping-pong ball so that it would go a short distance, come to a complete stop, and then reverse itself. He also added that he would not bounce the ball off any object, or tie anything to it. How could he perform this trick?
(He threw the ball straight up in the air!)
Name four days of the week that start with the letter "t"?
(Tuesday, Thursday, today, and tomorrow!)
A man has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river. He has a rowboat, and it can only carry him and one other thing. If the fox and the chicken are left together, the fox will eat the chicken. If the chicken and the corn are left together, the chicken will eat the corn. How does the man do it?
1) man carries chicken to other side
2) man returns alone and takes fox to other side
3) man leaves fox but returns with chicken;
4) man leaves chicken and carries corn to other side;
5) man leaves corn with the fox and returns alone;
6) man gets chicken and takes it to other side.
A train leaves from New York City (NYC) heading towards Los Angeles (LA) at 100 mph. Three hours later, a train leaves LA heading towards NYC at 200 MPH. Assume there's exactly 2000 miles between LA and NYC. When they meet, which train is closer to New York City?
(When they meet, they're both at the same spot, therefore they are both the same distance from New York City!)
There are 3 black hats and 2 white hats in a box. Three men (we will call them Tom, Bob, and Bill) each reach into the box and place one of the hats on his own head. They cannot see what color hat they have chosen. The men are situated in a way that Tom can see the hats on Bob and Bill's heads, Bob can only see the hat on Bill's head and Bill cannot see any hats. When Tom is asked if he knows the color of the hat he is wearing, he says no. When Bob is asked if he knows the color of the hat he is wearing he says no. When Bill is asked if he knows the color of the hat he is wearing he says yes and he is correct. What color hat and how can this be? There is no play on words and there are no tricks.
(Tom must not see two white hats on Bob or Bill, or he would know his own hat must be black (since there are only two white hats). So Tom's establishes that at least one of the hats on Bob and Bill is black. Therefore, Bob knows that he and Bill are either both wearing black, or one is wearing black and one is wearing a white hat. If he sees that Bill is wearing a white hat, then he would know his own hat had to be black. But Bob instead says he doesn't know what color hat he is wearing, which means Bill's hat is not white and must be black. Therefore, Bill knows he is wearing a black hat.)
Suppose there is only one barber shop in your town, and it employs two barbers. One of the barbers has a nice, neatly trimmed head of hair. The other's hair is a complete mess. Which of the two barbers should you go to and why?
(Since there are only two barbers in town, it's safe to assume they cut each others hair. This being the case, you should sit down with the barber with the messy hair.}
In a major league baseball game, a pitcher faced only 27 batters. Every batter he faced, he struck out. He allowed no hits and no runs, yet his team lost 4-0. How could this be?
(The pitcher came in as a relief pitcher.)
A farmer in California owns a beautiful pear tree. He supplies fruit to a nearby grocery store. The store owner has called the farmer to see how much fruit is available for him to purchase. The farmer know that the main trunk has 24 branches. Each branch has 12 boughs and each bough has 6 twigs. Since each twig bears one piece of fruit, how many plums will the farmer be able to sell? (None -- from that tree anyway. A pear tree cannot produce plums.
No sooner spoken than broken. What is it?
A magician is standing on a concrete floor holding a raw egg with his hand outstretched. Without the aid of any objects, he is able to drop the egg two feet without breaking it's shell. How does he do it?
(He simply holds the egg higher than two feet, and then releases the egg. The first two feet it will fall without breaking.)
There are two books sitting side by side, consisting of exactly 100 pages. The book on the left is upside down. If you add the page number at the extreme left side of the book on the left to the page number at the extreme right side the right hand book, what is the total?
(The total is two.)
You're in a cement room with no windows or doors. The only thing you have is a mirror and a piece of wood. How do you get out?
(You look in the mirror to see what you "saw", take the "saw" and cut the piece of wood in half. Put the two halves together to make a "whole", and then just crawl out through the "whole"! Of course, kids, don't forget that the type of "hole" you could crawl through is spelled differently than a "whole" as used in a "whole" piece of something!)
A boy was locked in a room by some robbers. All that is in the room is a piano, calendar, and a bed. The room is locked from the outside. What does he eat, drink, and how does he get out?
(He eats the "dates" on the calendar, gets water from the waterbed, and uses the piano key to escape.)
There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?
(Freeze one or both of the jugs, then cut the plastic away leaving only the ice. You could now put them into the barrel and still tell which water came from which jug.)
Can you think of words with all five vowels in them? And what word has all five vowels in alphabetic order?
("Sequoia" "facetious" (vowels are in order) or "facetiously" (in order, and includes Y); abstemious and abstemiously (again with the Y!))
What word has 5 letters but is pronounced like only one letter?
("Queue", pronounced as the letter 'Q'.)
There is a frog stuck in a 60 foot well. How many days will it take the frog to get out if for every day he jumps five feet up, but then falls back three feet?
(29 days. The last jump he was out of the well so he did not fall three feet back!)
What would you be sure to find in the middle of Toronto?
(An "o" TorOnto)
A baseball team had won a game 19-17. No errors. But not a single man crossed the plate. How could this be?
(It was a woman's team; or the men were all married (not single men!)
There were two fathers and two sons on a boat fishing. They each caught a fish, but only three fish where caught. How can this be so?
(There was a Grandfather, his son, and his son's son in the boat. Two fathers and two sons.)
An Arab sheikh tells his two sons to race their camels to a distant city to see who will inherit his fortune. The one whose camel is slower will win. Reluctantly, the brothers started out on this unconventional "race". After wandering aimlessly for days, they came across a wise man and asked him for advice. After hearing the advice of the wise man, the brothers jump on the camels and race as fast as they can to the city. What advice did the wise man offer?
(He suggested they switch camels since it was obvious they were afraid that their camel was faster than the other's.)
A volcano erupts in the dark of the night. Four people, carrying only one flashlight, run for their lives. They come to a canyon. There's a footbridge that spans the canyon. The bridge can only support 2 people at a time. Since it's dark, they must use a flashlight to cross. Therefore, after 2 people cross safely, one has to go back to bring the flashlight back to the other side. The people, suffering from different injuries, travel across the bridge at different speeds. Person #1 takes 1 minute, person #2 takes 2 minutes, person #3 takes 5 minutes, and person #4 takes 10 minutes. Two people crossing the bridge will travel at the speed of the slower person. There are only 17 minutes before the lava destroys the bridge. Find a logical solution where all four people reach the other side safely in 17 minutes or less—but this solution cannot include having any of them go only halfway across, or go across in the dark, or throw the flashlight across, etc. AND REMEMBER: You also have to count the time it takes to go back across the bridge with the flashlight!
- (1) Persons 1 and 2 cross the bridge (elapsed time 2 minutes)
- (2) Person 1 returns (elapsed time 3 minutes)
- (3) Persons 3 and 4 cross the bridge (elapsed time 13 minutes)
- (4) Person 2 returns (elapsed time 15 minutes)
- (5) Persons 1 and 2 cross the bridge (elapsed time 17 minutes).
Solution 2 has Person 2 returning in (2) and Person 1 returning in (4)
In the basement there are 3 light switches in the "off position." Each switch controls one of three light bulbs on the floor above. You may turn on any of the switches, but you may only go up stairs one time to see which light(s) were affected. How can you determine which switch controls each particular light bulb?
(Turn any one switch to the "on" position for 5 minutes. Then turn that switch "off" and quickly turn on one of the other two switches to the "on" position. Then run upstairs and touch the two lights that are "off." One of them will be "hot" because is was turned on for 5 minutes. Obviously the "hot" bulb is controlled by the first switch you turned "on." The light that is currently "on" is controlled by the switch you last turned "on." The "cold" bulb that is "off" is controlled by the only switch left. When solving problems we often need to use all our senses.)
There are eight pills. They are all the same size and color. One pill weighs slightly more than the others and it is poisonous. You have a balanced scale and can only use it twice. How can you find the poisoned pill?
(Take any six pills and divide them into two groups of three each; if the two groups weigh out evenly, weigh the remaining two pills to find the poisoned one. If the two groups of three do not weigh out evenly, simply take two out of the three pills from the heavier scale and weigh them (using the scale a second time).The two pills will either weigh the same, in which case the remaining pill is the poisoned one -- or one of the two pills on the scale will weigh more -- Voila!)
A woman walks into a restaurant and asks the man behind the counter for a glass of water. The man pulls out a big hairy spider and tosses it toward the lady. A few minutes later the woman thanks the man and walks out of the restaurant. Why?
(The woman asked the man for a glass of water because she had the hiccups. So the man pulled out a harmless, but very big and ugly pet spider to scare her. The scare cured her hiccups, so she thanked the man and left.)
I purchased two different pieces of candy. Together they cost $1.10. One piece cost one dollar more than the other candy. What was the price of each piece of candy?
(One was $1.05 and the other was 5 cents.)
Today as I was running late for work, I quickly got dressed and threw a t-shirt on in the dark. I had it on inside out with my right arm in the left sleeve, and my left arm in the right sleeve. Where was the label?
How many common four letter words can you make from the letters E A M N using all the letters in each word?
(Four: mean, mane, amen, name)
If it takes 6 men 6 days to dig 6 holes, how long will it take 3 men to dig half a hole?
(There is no such thing as a half a hole. A hole is still a hole regardless of its size.
What two words, when combined, hold the most letters?
What starts with an "e," ends with an "e" and usually contains only one letter?
What is the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space; the beginning of every end and the end of every place?
(The letter "E")