Riddle writing instructions

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Writing riddles provides a chance to practice several things. It gives the chance to Riddles and riddle writing ideas.brainstorm the qualities of an object. Use them to review the meanings of science terms!

Riddles let kids practice making comparisons between things. Answering the riddles – with clues read one at a time – encourages them to avoid jumping to conclusions.

Riddles also tie in wonderfully with unit studies on Anglo-Saxon England, as the Anglo-Saxons loved riddles. And my theory is that by helping kids practice interpretting hints, they help build the skills necessary for enjoying Shakespeare.

The riddle-writing instructions:

  1. Choose the answer of your riddle.
  2. Brainstorm characteristics of your answer.
  3. Choose a handful of the characteristics to make into a riddle. Think of ways to explain those details differently, out of context or figuratively.
  4. Write the riddle out nicely and pass it to a friend to enjoy, or read it to your friend slowly, one clue at a time. How many clues should it take?

Remember, the goal is to keep the object a secret for a while, but still to allow the answer to be known. Too much or too little information and the riddle isn’t a riddle. Make the riddle interesting by describing things differently, painting little word pictures and encouraging your audience to see things differently.

Sample riddles:

1) I spin and spin but go nowhere.
Light shines on me but I’m more fun to hear than to see.
I have no plug or batteries but without electricity I cannot sing.
I am gobbled up but press a button and the monster’s tongue sticks out and I am there.
What am I?

2) I fall, run, wave, and carry loads but never walk.
I’m part of you.
I have whole ecosystems inside me.
If you’re lacking me you crave me, but too much in the wrong way and you can die.
What am I?

3) I’m bigger than big but still growing
At my start I was smaller than small.
The biggest things look small inside of me.
When I say everything is in me, I mean everything,
From the tiniest nutrino to the filiments of…. oops, can’t say what!
Most of my mass is invisible.
What am I?

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