Boo to You!

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Boo to You!

October 20, 2014
By   |   Math Fun, Parent Blog

With the advent of GPS and maps on our phones, our paper maps are gathering dust in the attic. Our kids are so used to an electronic voice telling us when to turn, they might never get the chance to unfold a map or flip the pages of a road atlas. That’s a shame, because old-fashioned map reading teaches many more skills than just finding their way around. This Halloween season, ditch the GPS and give your kids the chance to learn about distance, measurement, estimation and other math skills by developing a Boo Your Neighbors attack plan!

Boo Your Neighbors

Boo’ing neighbors and friends is one of my family’s favorite Halloween traditions. We fill up little bags with candy and treats, attach a You’ve Been Boo’ed note (see above), and, without being spotted, leave the Boo Bags on the porches of our neighbors and friends. Each recipient is supposed to “pay it forward” and Boo another neighbor or friend, so that the mystery, excitement, and math skills can spread all over the neighborhood.

Boo Bag delivery requires strategy. You definitely want to leave your friends guessing which friendly ghost stopped by with treats. It can be a challenge to drop the Boo Bags off without being seen. My kids plan this activity with all the intensity of a military operation! It certainly goes a long way towards developing their mapping, measuring, estimating, and timing skills.

Show your child how useful math can be in preparing a plan of attack!

1) Print out or draw a map of your neighborhood and locate the houses you plan to Boo.

2) Have your child figure out the best order in which to Boo his friends. Which houses are nearest to yours? What is the shortest route that will take you past all their houses? How many steps or miles will you walk or drive on Boo Night? Make an estimate and use a pedometer or old- fashioned map skills to determine the actual distance.

Boo Bag instructions. How to Boo Your Neighbors from Bedtime Math.

3) If you’re fast on your feet, ring the doorbell and then rush to the nearest hiding spot (behind a bush or a fence, etc.). How much time does your child think he’ll have to ding-dong ditch? If you’re not in it for the adventure, simply leave the Boo Bag in a spot where it’s likely to be noticed and head off to the next house.

4) Discuss what time would be best to begin the drop-offs; you want it to be fairly dark, but not so dark that your child risks tripping over unseen objects. Go back to your map and ask your child to estimate how long the whole Boo operation will take. Don’t stay out too late; you want to be alert enough for the evening’s Bedtime Math problem!

With all that preparation, Boo Night itself promises all the thrills of a spy mission. You can add to the excitement by bringing a stopwatch and timing your child as he makes each Boo Bag drop-off. The next day, as he listens to his friends wonder who left that bag of treats, your child can silently congratulate himself on a Mission Accomplished and a job well done.

Images courtesy of Ana Picazo

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About the Author



Ana Picazo first fell in love with math (trigonometry, to be precise) in 10th grade and went on to earn undergraduate and graduate engineering degrees. She met her computer engineering husband at a financial software company and they have passed their love of math on to their three children. Ana blogs at Finding Bonggamom and The Savvy Source for Parents.

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