Don’t Trip over Your Tongue!

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.

Don’t Trip over Your Tongue!

May 23, 2019

Who has the longest tongue? It may be 20-year-old Adrianne Lewis, whose tongue sticks out 4 inches past her mouth. She can lick her own nose, chin, eyeball, and even her elbow. Just about no one can do that last one — try licking your own elbow! But some animals do much better. The honey bear’s tongue is 5 inches, when the whole bear is just 20 inches long — it’s 1/4 of its whole height! The real winner may be the anteater, whose tongue can be as long as its whole head and stick out 2 feet! The anteater uses it to eat, you guessed it…ants. We people would probably rather lick our eyeballs.

Wee ones: Try to lick your left elbow. Now try to lick your right elbow! Did you reach either one?

Little kids: If your tongue is 3 inches long and it needs to be 7 inches long to reach your eyeball, how much longer a tongue do you need?  Bonus: If your pet anteater’s tongue is 3 times as long as your 3-inch tongue, how long is it?

Big kids: If you lick your eyeball, then your chin, then your nose, then your elbow, then start over with your eyeball to repeat…which part gets the 27th lick?  Bonus: If YOUR tongue were 1/4 as long as your whole body, how long would it be in inches? (Hint if needed: To divide by 4, which is 2 x 2, you can cut the number in half, then cut in half again.)

The sky’s the limit: If your pet anteater’s body and its tongue are together 80 inches long, and the body is 3 times as long as the tongue, how long is each one?




Wee ones: See if you can learn your right from left!

Little kids: 4 inches longer.  Bonus: 9 inches.

Big kids: Your nose, since it’s before your elbow which lands on all the multiples of 4 (including 28).  Bonus: Different for everyone…divide your height (or the closest multiple of 4) by 4.

The sky’s the limit: The tongue is 20 inches, and the body is 60 inches. The body is like 3 tongues, so the body plus the tongue are like *4* tongues all together. These 4 tongue lengths add up to 80 inches. So 1/4 of 80 is 20 inches for 1 tongue.

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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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