There was a time when math was taught by presenting a child with a page of equations and having them sit and work out the answers. Thankfully, math is now taught in a more engaging way, and math riddles are one of the tools used to achieve this.
But did you know there are more benefits to math riddles for kids than solely being able to crunch numbers at a faster pace?
The Benefits of Math Riddles for Kids
Math can be frustrating, but math brain teasers for kids can also result in a variety of benefits.
They can help your child:
Learn About Language
Language skills may not be the first thing you think of when you are considering math riddles for kids. However, the wording of math riddles is often critical to the ability to solve them, so working on them can help your child pay closer attention to words, their meanings, and their flexibility (1).
Bond With Parents
Any activity that encourages parents and children to spend time together, interacting, and discussing ideas, can help to strengthen bonds.
Strengthen Basic Math Skills
Most math riddles for kids require basic math skills, such as addition or multiplication. Using these skills in the more creative context of riddles, rather than through pages of equations, can also be more fun, and less intimidating.
Promote Creative Thinking
When you ask your child a riddle, finding the answer is not as simple as repeating a fact they have previously learned. Instead, they have to form associations between pieces of information, link ideas, and use the facts they have to reach a conclusion (2).
Easy Math Riddles For Kids
Easy riddles are an excellent way to get your math-phobic child engaging in math. They are also a wonderful way to flex your own brainpower if it has been a while since you last had to explore a math problem.
Then, once your children discover math can be more fun than reciting bland facts, you may both start to enjoy yourselves.
If I am four times as old as my child today, and I will be twice as old in twenty years’ time, how old are we both today?
I am 40 and my child is 10.
Taylor has saved $29.00 for art supplies. After buying four coloring books at $3 each, four boxes of coloring pencils at $2 each, Taylor spent the rest of the money on markers. If markers are .50 cents each, how many markers did Taylor buy?
18 – Taylor had $9 left to spend on markers.
If 10 peanut butter cups and 6 bars of chocolate cost $10 and 10 bars of chocolate and 6 peanut butter cups costs $9.20, how much does one chocolate bar cost?
50 cents, peanut butter cups cost .70 cents.
Bo works at the aquarium. If Bo puts each turtle in their own tank, there will be one turtle without a tank. If Bo puts two turtles in each tank, there will be one tank without a turtle. How many turtles and tanks are there?
3 Tanks and 4 turtles.
A boy has the same number of brothers and sisters. Each sister has half as many sisters as they have brothers. How many brothers and sisters are in the family?
Three sisters and four brothers.
What is the next number in the pattern — 2, 3, 5, 9, 17?
33 each number is double the previous number minus one.
If rooster number 1 laid 22 eggs during the month, rooster number 2 laid 18 eggs during the month and the farmer took half of each rooster’s eggs at the end of the month, how many eggs did the farmer have?
None, roosters don’t lay eggs.
A cell phone and case cost $110. If the phone costs $100 more than the case, how much does the cell phone cost?
Which weighs more — 16 one-ounce bags of candy or 2 half-pound bars of chocolate?
Neither, they weigh the same.
Seven people meet at a party. If each person shakes hands with every other person, once, how many handshakes will there be?
Challenging Math Riddles For Kids
If your child is already a bit of a whiz at math, break out these more challenging math riddles. One word of caution though — be sure to read through the question and answer before giving them to your child.
That way you’ll be able to discuss the riddle answering process and the answer itself, with confidence.
What can you put between a 3 and a 4 so that the number is greater than 3, but less than 4?
A decimal point — 3.4 is greater than 3 but less than 4.
One-quarter of the animals on a farm has four legs. The rest of the animals have two legs. If there are 60 legs in total, how many animals are there on the farm?
Riley has to paint the numbers onto 100 homes. They will have to paint every number from 1 to 100. How many times will Riley have to paint the number 6?
19 times – 6, 16, 26, 36, 46, 56, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 76, 86, 96.
A zoo has 100 pairs of animals. If two pairs of babies are born for every one of those original animals, and then, rather sadly, 23 of those animals die, how many animals are left in the zoo?
977. Here’s a breakdown.
- 100 pairs of animals = 200 original animals.
- 2 pairs of babies born for each original animal = 4 babies for each animal = 800 babies.
- 800 babies plus the original 200 animals = 1000 animals in total.
- 23 animals die = 1000 – 23 = 997 animals.
Dana’s friends are throwing her a birthday party. The friends spend half of their money, plus $2 on the cake, half of what they had left, plus $2 on food, and half of what they had left plus $1 on drinks. Now they are out of money. How much did they have to start with?
$20 – $2 on drinks, $6 on food, and $12 on the cake.
I have more than two animals in my garden. All of them are cats, except for two. All of them are dogs, except for two. All of them are rabbits, except for two. How many of each animal do I have in the garden?
One cat, one dog, and one rabbit.
A bag of candy weighs one pound plus half of the weight of the bag. How much does the bag of candy weigh?
If you said 1.5 pounds, you are wrong! The bag weighs two pounds. Because the bag of candy weighs one pound, plus half of a bag, the one pound gives us the weight of the other half of the bag. As half a bag weighs one pound, the entire bag weighs two pounds.
A farmer has a farmyard full of chickens, all of whom are laying lots of eggs. The farmer decides to give away the eggs to some friends and wants to give them all the same number of eggs. The farmer figures out they must give seven friends eggs, otherwise, there will be one egg left over. What is the lowest number of eggs the farmer needs for this to be true?
301 eggs. The total number of eggs must be one more than a number that is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. That is because each of these numbers leaves a remainder of 1.
If that’s true, one less than the number must be divisible by 5, 4, and 3.
5 x 4 x 3 = 60.
Then you just must find a multiple of 60 so that 60 x n + 1 is divisible by 7.
61/7, 121/7, 181/7, and 241/7 all leave remainders, but 301/7 does not.
There are seven children on the bus. Each child has seven backpacks. In every backpack, there are seven large cats. For each large cat, there are seven small cats. How many legs are on the bus — not including the driver?
10,990 legs. Here’s a breakdown.
- Seven children each with seven backpacks = 49 backpacks.
- Seven big cats in each backpack = 49 x 7 = 343 large cats.
- 4 legs for each large cat = 1,372 legs.
- Seven small cats for each large cat = 7 x 343 = 2401 small cats.
- 4 legs for each small cat = 7 x 2401 = 9,604 legs.
- 2 legs for each child = 14 legs.
- 1,372 legs + 9,604 legs + 14 legs = 10,990 legs.
What is the next number in the pattern — 1, 11, 21, 1,211, 111,221, 312,211?
13,112,221 — When you say the number aloud, it describes the number before it, so 1 = One, one, which is written as 11, then you have two ones = 21 and so on.
Funny Math Riddles For Kids
There is a fine line between a funny math riddle and a math joke. One or two of the examples here may straddle, or even cross that line.
Nevertheless, these funny math riddles for kids are sure to raise a smile, or maybe a groan, and are an excellent way to show your child that math can be fun.
Why are 1999 $10 notes worth more than 1993 $10 notes?
Because there are more of them.
How many times can you take 10 away from 100?
1, because after you take 10 away from 100, it isn’t 100 anymore, it’s 90.
If I have seven daughters, and each daughter has a brother, how many children do I have?
Eight — seven girls and one boy.
What’s the difference between $1.50 and $0.35 cents?
Nothing, they are both the same because 30, five-cent-pieces are $1.50.
If a butcher is 6 feet tall and has a size of nine feet, what do they weigh?
It takes 12 builders one week to construct a wall 60 feet long. How long does it take 9 builders to construct the same wall?
No time, because they cannot construct the same wall, it is already built.
If you have five watermelons and six strawberries in one hand, and four watermelons and 19 strawberries on the other hand, what do you have?
Very big hands!
Two children go to the same school. Child one left for school ten minutes before child two. They bump into each other at the park on the way. At the time they meet, who is closest to school?
Neither because they are both in the same place and therefore are the same distance from school.
How many sides does a circle have?
Two, the inside and the outside.
A grandfather, two fathers, and two sons went to the movies. Each of them bought one ticket. How many tickets did they buy in total?
3. The grandfather is also a father, and the father is also a son.
Math + Riddles = Fun
If the thought of math riddles is enough to tire your brain, a quick search of the internet will bring up plenty of fun examples, for all age levels and abilities.
Now that we’ve got you going with our first 30 math riddles for kids, why not make up your own?
Be sure to read through them first so you can explain the answer to your kids.