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5 of My Favorite Minute Mysteries

Minute mysteries are riddles where campers ask yes or no questions to try and solve the riddle. They are called minute mysteries because they are usually a bit more complex than your average riddle.

When I worked in outdoor education we would have a list of minute mysteries at the dining hall tables. It was something the staff member could use to get the kids talking and having fun at the first meal of the week.

Below are five of my favorites. Scroll down to see the answers. There are books you can get if you need more.

  1. In the old West a man rides into town on Friday. He stays for three days, and leaves on Friday. How can this be?
  2. There is a man walking down the road dressed entirely in black. There are no lights on anywhere and no moon. A car with no lights comes down the road and manages to avoid the man. How?
  3. A father and son are in an auto accident. The father dies and the son is rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The doctor looks at the boy and says, “I can’t work on him, he’s my son.” How can this be?
  4. You are in a cabin with four walls all facing south. There is a bear outside. What color is the bear?
  5. You walk into a room with only one match. You must light a lantern, a gas stove, the pilot light of a water heater and a fire in a fire place. What do you light first?


1. The horse’s name is Friday.
2. It’s day time.
3. The doctor is the boy’s mother.
4. The cabin is at the tip of the North Pole. The bear is, of course, white.
5. The match, duh.




  • these types of riddles are great. we did a bunch of these trying to entertain campers on a 6 hour ride to mammoth.

    another great one is:
    two men are found in a cabin on a mountain dead, how did they die?

    answer: a plane crash, the men are the pilot and co-pilot and they are in a cabin of a plane

  • Good one, Leslie. Here’s another…

    Riddle: Two archaeologists are in the Antarctic and they discover a perfectly preserved man. After they get him out of the ice one of the archeologists says “This is Adam, of Adam and Eve, the first human ever.” How did he know it was Adam?

    Answer: He had no belly button.

  • Good ones here’s another one
    Theres a two story house both the front door and the back door are opep and all the down stairs windows are open but the man is locked in. How?

    Awnser: he’s on the second floor ????

  • Our campers also love riddles like the Green Door- There is a magic green door that only certain things can go through, campers ask if they can go through ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or certain objects. the trick is only people or things with double letters can travel through the door. Ie) Molly, Sammy, Kelly, and Jenna can go through, but John, Liz, Kate, and Jo cannot.

    Anyone have any other examples of these?

    • The umbrella game! You ask the campers “What color is my umbrella?” They all give you answers, but you only say yes if they say “um” before the color or pattern they choose.

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