How to Get Hopping

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.

How to Get Hopping

April 16, 2016

Do you know how to hop? Jumping up and down on just one leg isn’t as easy as walking, that’s for sure. Even bunnies don’t “hop” for real: they really jump off both back feet, because one foot is a lot trickier. That’s why hopping is a key part of a game that’s been around forever: hopscotch. More than 1,000 years ago, soldiers in the Roman army got exercise by hopping through numbered squares drawn on the ground. Little kids liked the game so much that they drew their own smaller squares, and that’s where hopscotch came from! In hopscotch you can write whatever numbers you like, throw rocks to block squares, and make up your own rules. So the math can get as tricky as the hopping.

Wee ones: If you write the numbers 1 through 8 in order on your hopscotch board, what number do you write before the 6?

Little kids: If you and your 3 pet bunnies start hopping, how many feet in total are hopping? (Remember: bunnies hop on 2 feet, but you don’t!)  Bonus: If your hopscotch board has spaces 1 through 10, how many hops do you do if you land only on the odd numbers once each?

Big kids: If you number 1 through 12, and skip all the multiples of 4 as well as the non-4-multiple square your rock landed on, how many hops do you do to hop to the end and back?  Bonus: If a bunch of people and bunnies play hopscotch, and there are 8 players in total but 1 more bunny foot than people feet hopping, how many bunnies are playing?




Wee ones: The 5.

Little kids: 7 feet.  Bonus: 5 hops: on the 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.

Big kids: 16 hops, since you do 8 in each direction. You skip 4 squares: the 4, 8, 12, and rock.  Bonus: 3 bunnies, who hop on 6 feet while the 5 people hop on 5. You can start with 8 people on 8 feet, and each time you swap in a bunny for a person, the bunny feet go up by 2 while the people feet go down by 1, so the gap grows by 3. The gap started at +8 for the people and you need a gap of -1, so you have to change the gap by 9. You’ll need 3 swaps to do that, so 3 bunnies.

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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 while still in diapers, 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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