The best brain-busting riddles for adults and kids (2024)

No matter your age, it's always a good idea to give your mind a workout.

Interactive brain teasers like riddles, trivia, and fun facts are as beneficial as they are entertaining.

There's a reason that your crossword-loving grandma is still sharp as a tack. Studies have found that doing simple brain puzzles can boost mental health and even delay the onset of dementia in older adults.

Riddles are great for developing brains, too: a study found that learning to understand riddles can help children improve their reading comprehension.

Beyond their health benefits, riddles are just plain fun. They're a great way to start conversations with friends, entertain your local youngsters, or stump your family at the dinner table. Nothing is more satisfying than that "eureka" moment when you finally figure out a tricky solution.

With some clever wordplay, the best riddles will make you laugh even if you don't get the correct answer.

Best of all, there are riddles to suit everyone's interests, from your animal lover nephew to your math fanatic mom.

If you want to really stretch your brain, there are plenty of truly tricky riddles that will give you something to mull over, while riddles for kids will boost their confidence to try out some harder ones.

Here are 115 riddles that will baffle and delight the whole family.

Best riddles

  • What has words, but never speaks? A book.
  • What kind of band never plays music? A rubber band.
  • What has one eye, but can’t see? A needle.
  • If you’re running in a race and you pass the person in second place, what place are you in? Second place.
  • What can go through glass without breaking it? Light.
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  • What can you keep after giving it to someone? Your word.
  • Where do you take a sick boat? To the dock-tor.
  • What has a neck but no head? A bottle.
  • I have a face and arms, but no legs. What am I? A clock.
  • I’m tall when I’m young, and I’m short when I’m old. What am I? A candle.
  • What kind of apples do computers prefer? Macintosh.
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  • What did the sea say to the sand? Nothing, it just waved.
  • I have no life, but I can die. What am I? A battery.
  • ​​I go around the world, but never leave the corner.A stamp.
  • What’s black and white and read all over? A newspaper.
  • If you threw a black stone into the Red Sea, what would it become? Wet.
  • What is the fastest way to double your money? Place it in front of the mirror.
  • Why did the golfer put on a second pair of pants? He hit a hole in one.
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  • If you’ve got me, you want to share me; if you share me, you haven’t kept me. A secret.
  • What has 13 hearts but no other organs? A deck of cards.
  • What month of the year has 28 days? All of them.
  • What tastes better than it smells? Your tongue.
  • The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I? Footsteps.

Easy riddles

  • What is always in front of you but can’t be seen? The future.
  • What is white, but smells like blue paint?White paint.
  • What kind of foods are the most fun at parties? Fungi.
  • I shave every day, but my beard stays the same. What am I? A barber.
  • What has a head but no eyes, nose or mouth? Lettuce.
  • What runs all around a backyard, yet never moves? A fence.
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  • I have branches, but no fruit, trunk or leaves. What am I? A bank.
  • What has a bottom at the top? Legs.
  • What fruit can you never cheer up? A blueberry.
  • What has four fingers and a thumb but isn’t alive? A glove.
  • Why did the citrus tree go to the hospital? Lemon-aid.
  • What goes up and down but doesn’t move? A staircase.
  • What can you catch, but not throw? A cold.
  • What has hands, but can’t clap? A clock.
  • John’s father has three sons: Huey, Louie, and _____? John.
  • What goes through cities and fields, but never moves? A road.

Animal riddles

  • If two snakes marry, what will their towels say? Hiss and hers.
  • I jump when I walk, and sit when I stand. What am I? A kangaroo.
  • The alphabet goes from A to Z but I go Z to A. What am I? A zebra.
  • What kind of lion never roars? A dandelion.
  • Who wears shoes while sleeping? A horse.
  • What do you call a bear with no teeth? A gummy bear.
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  • A rooster is sitting on the roof of a barn facing west. If it laid an egg, would the egg roll to the north or to the south? It’s impossible. Roosters don’t lay eggs.
  • Why did the chicken cross the playground? To get to the other slide.
  • Why do bees have sticky hair? They use honeycombs.
  • What has a thousand needles but cannot sew? A porcupine.
  • What is as big as an elephant but weighs nothing?An elephant’s shadow.
  • Which fish costs the most? A goldfish.

Math riddles

  • I saw my math teacher with a piece of graph paper yesterday. I think he must be plotting something.
  • During which month do people sleep the least? February.
  • Which number stays the same no matter what number you multiply it with? Zero.
  • What goes up, but never comes down? Age.
  • You have a basket that’s one foot in diameter and one foot deep. How many apples can you fit in the empty basket? Only one, because then it’s not empty anymore.
  • When things go wrong, what can you always count on? Your fingers.
  • Four legs up, four legs down, soft in the middle, hard all around. What am I? A bed.
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  • What did the triangle say to the circle? You are pointless.
  • Why was six afraid of seven? Because seven, eight, nine.
  • How many times can you subtract 10 from 25? Once, then it becomes 15.
  • If two’s company, and three’s a crowd, what are four and five? Nine.
  • Which is heavier: a ton of bricks or a ton of feathers? Neither, they’re both a ton.
  • What comes before 11 and after 15? 10 and 16.
  • I add five to nine and get two. The answer is correct, so what am I? A clock.
  • What can you put between four and five so that the result is more than four, but less than five? A decimal point.

Word riddles

  • What is the longest word in the dictionary? Smiles, because there is a mile between each “s.”
  • Where is the only place where today comes before yesterday? The dictionary.
  • What do you see once in June, twice in November, and not at all in May? The letter “e.”
  • What is at the end of a rainbow? The letter "w."
  • Forward, I am heavy; backward, I am not. What am I? A ton.
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  • What starts with “t,” ends with “t,” and has “t” in it? A teapot.
  • What do the letter “t” and an island have in common? They’re both in the middle of water.
  • What comes at the end of everything? The letter “g.”
  • What starts with a “p,” ends with an “e” and has thousands of letters? The post office.
  • What begins with an “e” and only contains one letter? An envelope.
  • Where does Thursday come after Friday? The dictionary.
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  • Which letter of the alphabet has the most water? The letter “c.”
  • Which word in the dictionary is spelled incorrectly? Incorrectly.
  • What is in seasons, seconds, centuries and minutes but not in decades, years or days? The letter “n.”
  • What word is pronounced the same if you take away four of its five letters? Queue.
  • A word I know, six letters it contains, remove one letter and 12 remains, what is it? Dozen.
  • What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment, and never in 1,000 years? The letter “m.”
  • How do you make the number one disappear? Add the letter “g” and it’s “gone.”
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  • What word contains 26 letters but has only three syllables? The alphabet.
  • What common English verb becomes its own past tense by rearranging its letters? Eat.
  • I am an odd number. Take away a letter and I become even. What number am I? Seven.
  • How many letters are there in the alphabet? Eleven: three in “the” and eight in “alphabet.”
  • You’ll find me in Mercury, Earth, Mars and Jupiter, but not in Venus or Neptune. What am I? The letter “r.”

Riddles for kids

  • What gets bigger the more you take away? A hole.
  • If you don’t keep me, I’ll break. What am I? A promise.
  • My teddy bear is never hungry. Why? He’s stuffed.
  • Kids can make it, but never hold it or see it. What is it? Noise.
  • What has to be broken before you can eat it? An egg.
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  • What is so fragile that saying its name will make it break? Silence.
  • I sometimes run, but I cannot walk. What am I? Your nose.
  • What has a head and a tail but no body? A coin.
  • What room do ghosts avoid? The living room.
  • I will fill a room, but take up no space. What am I? Light.
  • The more of this there is, the less you can see. What is it? Darkness.
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  • Everyone has it, but no one can lose it. What is it?A shadow.
  • What has many keys, but cannot unlock a single door? A piano.
  • What kind of tree can you carry in your hand? A palm tree.
  • What two things can you never eat for breakfast? Lunch and dinner.
  • What’s bright orange with green on top and sounds like a parrot? A carrot.
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  • What has many rings but no fingers? A phone.
  • People buy me to eat, but I cannot be eaten. What am I? A plate.
  • What building has the most stories? A library.
  • What has holes all over, but still holds water? A sponge.
  • How do you catch a school of fish? A bookworm.
  • What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire? Frostbite.
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  • Nobody empties me, but I never stay full for long. What am I? The moon.
  • When the water comes down, I go up. What am I? An umbrella.
  • What kind of cup doesn’t hold water? A cupcake.
  • What gets wet while drying? A towel.

Try even more brain teasers

  • 125 riddles for kids that will keep them busy and entertained
  • 265 fun trivia questions and answers to rule game night
  • 100 interesting facts to entertain adults and kids

Sarah Fielding

SarahFielding, MS,is an acclaimed journalistfocusing on mental health, gender rights, and social issues.She's also the co-founder ofEmpire Coven, a space for highlighting trailblazing women across New York.She has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, Insider, Verywell, The Guardian and more.

Sophie Caldwell

Associate Lifestyle Reporter

The best brain-busting riddles for adults and kids (2024)
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