math riddles

50+ Top Math Riddles to Test Your IQ

Math riddles are some of the most challenging logic puzzles out there. From a word problem to integers to prime numbers, math brain teasers can be quite frustrating. To get the right answers to math riddles, a person should use logic, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills

Getting kids to understand math can be quite hard, but getting them to have fun while learning math is even harder. If you’re a teacher, it’s important for your students–whether if they’re kids or teens and at different levels in math–to challenge themselves, elevate their thinking, and strengthen their math skills

As a teacher, allow your kids to use their lateral thinking by playing math games, or giving them a worksheet of math problems from riddles books, or adding an easy riddle or brain teaser at the end of a quiz every once in a while. 

Here are some fun math riddles to help get your kids to enjoy themselves a little bit more while they learn: 

Math Riddles for Kids and Teens 

Get a kid’s head out of a math book by challenging them with these fun tricky riddles that are math-based.

Riddle: If you multiply me by any other number, the answer will always remain the same. What number am I?
Answer: 0

Riddle: Which is correct: 18 plus 19 is 36 or, 18 plus 19 are 36?
Answer: Both are incorrect because 18 + 19 = 37.

Riddle: You are given 3 positive numbers. Using addition and multiplication with the numbers will get you the same answer. What are the numbers?
Answer: 1, 2, and 3.

Riddle: When does 11 + 3 = 2?
Answer: On a clock.

Riddle: I am a three-digit number. My second digit is four times bigger than the third digit. My first digit is three less than my second digit. Who am I?
Answer: 141.

Riddle: If there are three cups of sugar and you take one away, how many do you have?
Answer: One cup.

Riddle: Two hens can lay two eggs in two minutes. If this is the maximum speed possible, what is the total number of hens needed to get 500 eggs in 500 minutes?
Answer: Two hens.

Riddle: Ram has five sons and each son has a sister. How many children does Mr. Ram have?
Answer: Six; each son has the same sister.

Riddle: What do math teachers like to eat?
Answer: Pi(e).

Riddle: What does one math textbook say to another?
Answer: “I have so many problems.”

Riddle: When you add eight 8’s, the result you get will be 1,000. When solely using addition, how is this possible?
Answer: 888 + 88 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 1,000

Riddle: What can you put between seven and eight so that the answer is greater than seven but less than eight?
Answer: A decimal point.

Riddle: A soccer fan decided to go to a soccer game. How did the fan know before the game that the score would be 0-0?
Answer: The score is always 0-0 before the game begins.

Riddle: If you buy a rooster for the purpose of laying eggs and you expect to get three eggs each day for breakfast, how many eggs will you have after three weeks?
Answer: None; roosters don’t lay eggs.

Riddle: Ten candles stand burning in a dining room. A strong breeze blows in through an open window, extinguishing three of them. Assuming the wind doesn’t extinguish any more candles, how many are left in the end?
Answer: Three candles. Since the other seven were not extinguished, their wax will melt completely down, causing their demise. However, the three candles whose flames were extinguished will be completely intact.

Riddle: I am an even number. If you take away one letter from me, I become odd. What number am I?
Answer: SIX; remove the “S” and it becomes “IX” or the Roman numeral for nine.

Riddle: Jess’s pencil was wearing out and is now only three centimeters long. Her friend Stan’s new pencil was eight times that length. How long was Stan’s pencil?
Answer: 8 x 3 = 24 cms.

Riddle: Can a mathematical symbol be added between 55555 to make it equal 500?
Answer: 555 – 55 = 500

Riddle: A mouse wants to get in better shape so he starts by climbing stairs. Starting on the fourth floor, he climbs up five stories, down seven stories, up six stories, down three stories, and up four stories again. What floor is he on?
Answer: The ninth floor.

Riddle: Paul the Polar Bear had a birthday party and had each guest bringing five fish. A penguin stole two fish but there were still 198 left. How many people came to the party?
Answer: 40.

Riddle: Rico the Rabbit eats one carrot on Sunday, two carrots on Monday, four carrots on Tuesday, and so on. How many carrots does he eat every week?
Answer: 127 carrots.

Riddle: Ten copycats were sitting on a boat when one jumped out. How many were left?
Answer: None. They were copycats so they all jumped out.

Riddle: If Tom and his father are put together, they weigh 280 pounds. Tom’s dad weighs three times as much as he does. How much does Tom weigh?
Answer: 70 pounds.

Riddle: Which two numbers make a one-digit number when they are multiplied but a two-digit number when they are added together?
Answer: One and nine.

Riddle: If you were born in an odd-numbered year, will you celebrate your 50th birthday in an odd or even year?
Answer: Odd.

Riddle: Four friends are racing. Lisa finishes four hours ahead of Tony with Pete finishing eight hours ahead of Max. Max needed six more hours to finish than Lisa. In what order do they cross the finish line?
Answer: Pete, Lisa, Tony, and Max.

Riddle: 16 players enter into a basketball shootout tournament. How many games must be played before there is a winner?
Answer: Fifteen.

Riddle: A baker carries a bag of flour that weighs 15 pounds. He takes half of the flour out but finds that the bag weighs nine pounds. How heavy is the empty bag?
Answer: Three pounds.

Math Riddles for Adults 

A tricky math riddle is great for a young person or adult looking to strengthen their skills in the subject. Remember: learning different things in new ways can be fun!

Riddle: I have two coins equaling fifteen cents. One of them is not a nickel, so what are the two coins?
Answer: A dime and a nickel; one of them is not a nickel but one of them is.

Riddle: The combined age of a father and son is 66 years. The age of the father is the age of the son but with the digits reversed. How old are they?
Answer: There are three possible answers: 51 and 15, 42 and 24, or 60 and 06.

Riddle: A man is found hanging dead from the ceiling of a room. The room’s dimensions were 15 x 15 x 15 and the man is only six feet tall with the rope being two feet long. There are no windows in the room and there is only one door. The door is found bolted shut and there is a puddle of water beneath the man. How did he kill himself?
Answer: The man stood on a block of ice and waited for it to melt so he could hang himself.

Riddle: What is special about the number 854,917,632?
Answer: It’s the numbers from one to nine in alphabetical order.

Riddle: If you are eight feet away from a door and with each move you advance half the distance to the door. How many moves will it take to reach the door?
Answer: It will never be reached because you will always be half distance.

Riddle: Joe has ten coins totaling $1.19. From these coins, he cannot make exact change for a dollar, half-dollar, quarter, dime, or nickel. What are the coins?
Answer: A half-dollar, a quarter, four dimes, and four pennies.

Riddle: Tom was asked to paint the number of plates on 100 apartments which means he will have to paint numbers 1 through 100. Can you figure out the number of times he has to paint the number eight?
Answer: 20 times (8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58, 68, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 98).

Riddle: If 9999 = 4, 8888 = 8, 1816 = 3, 1212 = 0, then 1919 = ?
Answer: 1919 = 2. This problem has to do with closed areas on the number. For example, 9999 has four closed areas (tops of the nines); 8888 has eight closed areas (tops of the eights and bottoms of the eights). Therefore, 1919 has two closed areas (tops of the nines).

Riddle: My twin lives at the reverse of my house number. The difference between our house numbers ends in two. What are the lowest possible numbers our house numbers can be?
Answer: 19 and 91.

Riddle: I am a three-digit number. My tens digit is six more than my ones digit. My hundreds digit is eight less than my tens digit. What number am I?
Answer: 193.

Riddle: When shipping something, Tom can place ten small boxes or eight large boxes into a carton. A total of 96 boxes were sent in one shipment and the number of small boxes was less than large boxes. How many cartons did he ship?
Answer: 11 cartons.

Riddle: A zookeeper had 100 pairs of animals in her zoo. Two pairs of babies are born for each of the original animals but sadly, 23 animals don’t survive. How many are left?
Answer: 977 animals (100 x 2 = 200; 200 x 4 = 800; 800 + 200 = 1,000; 1,000 – 23 = 977).

Riddle: A certain number has three digits. The sum of the three digits equals 36 times this number. Seven times the left digit plus nine equals five times the sum of the two other digits. Eight times the second digit minus nine is equal to the sum of the first and third. What is the number?
Answer: 324.

Riddle: Can you arrange four nines to make it equal to 100?
Answer: 99 + 9 / 9 = 100

Riddle: If you see an electric train heading east at 70 mph but there is a wind blowing west at 80 miles per hour, which way is the smoke going to blow from the train?
Answer: It’s an electric train so there is no smoke.

Riddle: If days on Mars are as long as two weeks on Earth, how long is an hour?
Answer: 14 Earth hours.

Riddle: Cara leaves New York at 8 AM, driving 35 mph. Nancy starts driving to New York at 50 mph. When they meet, which one will be furthest away from New York?
Answer: When they meet, they will be the same distance from New York.

Riddle: A teacher says that there are fewer than 30 students but more than 20 in a classroom. The children can be divided into groups of two, three, four, six, and eight with no leftovers. How many students are in the class?
Answer: 24 students.

Riddle: Seven brothers were born two years apart. The youngest brother is seven. How old is the oldest brother?
Answer: 19.

Difficult Riddles 

Ask a riddle question like the ones below to any person in your life and they will definitely be stumped. They are no joke hard but give them a try!

IQ Test 

Riddle: What is x? 1 + 4 = 5; 2 + 5 = 12; 3 + 6 = 21; 8 + 11 = x
Answer: x = 96; (a + b) to (a + ab)

The Snail Problem

Riddle: A snail is at the bottom of a 20-meter pit. Every day the snail climbs 5 meters up but at night it slides down 4 meters. How many days does it take before the snail reaches the top?
Answer: The snail reaches the top of the pit on the 16th day. On the first day, the snail reaches a height of 5 meters and slides down 4 meters at night, and thus ends at a height of 1 meter. And, on the second day, he reaches 6 meters but slides back to 2 meters. On the third day, he reaches 7 meters but slides back to 3 meters. And, on the fifteenth day, he reaches 19 meters but slides back to 15 meters. On the sixteenth day, he reaches 20 meters, so now he is at the top of the pit.

3 Balls

Riddle: There are eight balls with eight different numbers in them: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15. Select three balls that equal 30.
Answer: Flip the nine and turn it into a 6 and then the three balls are 6, 11, and 13.

Science and Math Riddle

Riddle: When Manish was three years old he hammered a nail into his favorite tree to mark his height. Six years later at age nine, Manish returned to see how much higher the nail was. If the tree grew by five centimeters each year, how much higher would the nail be?
Answer: The nail would be at the same height since trees grow at their tops.

Tricky Math Puzzle

Riddle: Can you make 24 from the numbers 3, 3, 8, and 8? You can only use the operations + – x / (). You have to use all four numbers.
Answer: 8 / (3 – 8/3) = 24.

Did you enjoy these math riddles? Here are some more puzzles to test your smarts:

More Riddles

About the author
Katee’s passion for writing and fascination for language has forever guided her path in life. Follow Katee on Instagram or read more articles from Katee on Thought Catalog.

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