Why Riddles Are Important for All Ages

Do you love riddles? If yes, that’s a good thing! A riddle is a phrase, question or statement with a double meaning to serve as a word puzzle. In general, puzzles are very beneficial for everybody. To go further, let’s learn how important riddles are for children, adults and old people.

All about Riddles

Before heading to the benefits, we must first understand completely what makes a riddle. Actually, there are two types of riddles: enigma and conundrum. Enigma is an allegorical or metaphorical puzzle that requires deep thinking. Conundrum, on the other hand, comes in puns.

Experts consider riddling as a “universal art.” How? Almost every culture has local riddles. Some countries that have many riddles are Philippines, Netherlands, Russia, China, Hungary and Finland. Many cultures already realized through riddling that everything is not what it seems.

Even ancient and medieval cultures had riddles. Here are some examples:


Babylonian riddles are considered to be the oldest based on today’s records. According to research, ancient school texts from Babylon were riddles that sound too enigmatic for modern people because answers were not preserved. That only means that riddles in the ancient world were passed from one generation to another verbally. An example of a Babylonian riddle is “My knees hasten, my feet do not rest, a shepherd without pity drives me to pasture.” Speculated answers are rowboat or river.


When it comes to the first ancient poetic and complex riddles with answers, we have the Sanskrit Rigveda. An example from the Rigveda goes this way: “Who moves in the air? Who makes a noise on seeing a thief? Who is the enemy of lotuses? Who is the climax of fury?” Believe it or not, these questions go together, not separately. Why? The answers for the first three are combined to answer the last question. The answers in the right order are bird, dog and sun. In Sanskrit, the answers are vi, çva and mitra. If combined, the answer to the final question is a famous man that time with a short temper – Viçvamitra.

Benefits of Riddles

Finally, we’re now going to find out why riddles are beneficial for different people. Let’s start with:


Riddles can obviously improve how kids think. After all, they are oftentimes called brain teasers. Here are specific reasons why riddles are beneficial for children:

Parent-Child Bonding

Children usually develop behavioral problems if their parents don’t bond with them much. With parents giving riddles, kids are not afraid to blurt out answers. They get more confident in expressing themselves. That’s why riddles are useful to develop children’s social skills.

Opportunity to Teach

One thing that makes a riddle is that it can be passed on to different people until it reaches the next generation. It is an endless chain. A factor that contributes to this is children telling riddles they know to other people. It means that riddles can develop a child’s memory.

Improve Vocabulary

Riddles are usually told in a creative way with more advanced words. When kids want to share riddles, that’s after they understand the whole context. Riddles also encourage kids to ask about words they can’t understand yet.


Many kids can read at such a young age but can’t fully understand context. In order for a child to share riddles with other people, he must fully understand the riddle first. With great understanding comes great comprehension.

Preparation for Advanced Tests

Most tests in schools rely on creativity, logic and comprehension. Riddles can improve a kid in all those areas. They can improve the critical thinking and problem solving skills of a child.

Intellectual Humor

You know how most kids are when it comes to funny things. Children tend to love slapstick comedy and childish jokes. To improve a child’s taste in humor, you can give creative riddles to them. Riddles can entertain a child and get his brain working at the same time.


Some people may get surprised that riddles can still be beneficial for adults who have fully developed mental capacities already. Here are factors to prove that riddles can still be important for adults:

Memory Enhancer

Let’s face it, our memory as adults can be rusty sometimes. Riddles can actually help sharpening our minds. Experts suggest that puzzles such as riddles can reinforce the ongoing connection between brain cells. Riddles can enhance thought process because of mental alertness.

Accelerated Logic

Some riddles can be tough for adults. But, they can make a person think about the answer in all angles. They allow a person to think outside the box. Every trial and error in answering questions follows a system.

Encourage Imagination

To answer a riddle, you must recognize the details and combine them to form a bigger picture. That triggers a person to work with logic and imagination.

Release of Dopamine

Answering riddles enables the brain to produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine helps in improving motor skills, concentration, positive thinking, confidence, memory and understanding. That’s why some people won’t give up even if they answer the riddle wrong several times.

Old People

Being old is associated with poor memory and recognition. On the other hand, riddles can help in sharpening mental capacity once again. Check out the benefits of riddles to old people:

Reduce the Risk of Dementia

Studies suggest that in the year 2050, 37 million people over 65 years old will have experience mental illness due to old age. Puzzles, in general, can either slow down the effects of dementia or avoid it if done continuously. So, with riddles, our grandparents can read word puzzles from time to time to keep the mind sharp.

Exercise the Brain

Alzheimer’s is a critical disease among old people. If you know someone who already displays early stages of the disease, you can help exercise his mental faculties by giving riddles. Riddles can enhance cognitive functions such as memory because they can help increasing the number of new neurons inside the brain, especially in the hippocampus.

Riddles are definitely not just for children. Exercise your mind from time to time by reading tricky word puzzles. Now that you know more about the benefits of riddles. Let’s play some. 😀