The Castle Flying over Your Head

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.

The Castle Flying over Your Head

July 28, 2017

Hot air balloons are those fun, floaty shapes that can carry us into the sky.  Usually they’re just round, but the amazing blown-up shapes in this picture are hot air balloons, too! The 433 balloons set a world record for the biggest number of hot air balloons flown at once. There were castles, cartoon characters, and regular balloons covered with checkerboard and stripes. A hot air balloon floats because a flame at the bottom burns gas to heat all the air inside. Smaller balloons hold around 20,000 to 30,000 cubic feet of air, about the same as a house. But the biggest ever made held almost 3 million cubic feet!

Wee ones: How many balloons in the photo are in the air?

Little kids: How many balloons can you see at least partly in the whole photo? Count as high as you can!  Bonus: If we see parts of 12 round balloons and 3 of those are in the air, how many are still waiting for take-off?

Big kids: If there were 2 castle balloons and 400 regular-shaped ones, how many of the 433 balloons were other shapes?  Bonus: If you ride the castle balloon launching at 2:38 pm, and land 57 minutes later, when do you land? (Hint if needed: What if you landed exactly 1 hour later, which is 60 minutes?)




Wee ones: 3 balloons.

Little kids: We think we see 16 balloons.  Bonus: 9 balloons.

Big kids: 31 other balloons.  Bonus: At 3:35 pm.

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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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