A Backwards Day

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.

A Backwards Day

August 18, 2018

A palindrome is a word that is spelled the same backwards and forwards, like toot and racecar. Can you think of any others? It turns out numberscan do the same thing — like today’s date! Today is written as 8/18/18, which means the 18th day of the 8th month of the year (August). In fact, we’re in a week-long stretch where every day is a palindrome,  starting with 8/10/18 all the way until 8/19/18. Don’t forget, 8/1/18 was a palindrome, too! We’ve been having cool stretches of dates for the past few years, like 7/13/17, and 6/11/16…but these streaks don’t happen every year forever, as we’ll find out below. See if can you figure out when the next streak will happen!

Wee ones: How do you say “123” in backwards order?

Little kids: If you say “221” in backwards order, is it the same or different? How about 454?   Bonus: How old will you be the next time your age is the same backwards and forwards?

Big kids: After 8/19/18, what’s the next date that will be a palindrome?  Bonus: How long is that from our last palindrome this year?

The sky’s the limit: If you’re allowed to write both the month and year as 2 digits, when’s the first year when we won’t have any palindromic dates? (For example, in 2020 you can write February as 02).













Wee ones: 321.

Little kids: 221 then reads 122, so it’s not a palindrome. But 454 does work!  Bonus: Different for everyone…any single digit works, like 7, 8 or 9! Or your next age might be 11, or 22…or 101!

Big kids: The next one will be 9/1/19.  Bonus: Counting from 8/19/18, that’s 1 year and 13 days later (378 days).

The sky’s the limit: We’ll have the same kinds of dates in 2019 (/10/19, 9/11/19…), and in 2020 we can have them in February (02/1/20 through 02/9/20, plus 02/11/20). We’ll also have a couple in 2021 (for example: 1/2/21, 1/21/21, and 12/1/21 through 12/9/21, as well as 12/11/21 and 12/22/21). Then in 2022 we’ll have 2/2/22, 2/20/22, 2/21/22 and so on. That’s true throughout the ’20s, with dates like 3/20/23, all the way through 9/29/29. In 2030 we start over with 03/1/30, then 1/3/31. This pattern will continue through the ’40s, ’50s, all the way to 9/9/99 in 2099. 2100 is the first year we won’t have one, because we can’t have 0/0/00!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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