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.

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 *numbers*can 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).

Answers:

*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!

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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