Better Than the Video Game

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.

Better Than the Video Game

June 22, 2019

Mario blanket closeupUsually when people love a video game, they just play it all the time. But then there’s Kjetil Nordin, who instead knitted a giant blanket picturing the game Super Mario 3. The blanket, which is 7 feet by nearly 6 feet long, took him 800 hours to crochet spread out over 6 years! He made each stitch of the blanket match each colored dot on the computer screen. We see the full scoreboard, trees, and a castle with the word “HELP” yelled out the window. During those 6 years, Kjetil also graduated from college with two degrees and won the Norwegian Sky Diving team championship twice. Kjetil may love Super Mario, but he’s not wasting much time playing it.

Wee ones: If the scoreboard has white, black, blue, yellow and red, how many colors of yarn does it use?

Little kids: If the water around the castle is 11 stitches wide, what numbers would you say to count them?  Bonus: If the last 3 stitches are dark blue, what number is the 1st dark blue stitch?

Big kids: The castle looks about 20 stitches wide by 20 stitches tall. How many stitches does that little castle have?  Bonus: If Kjetil had crocheted a whole 10 hours a day every day, in about how many weeks could he have finished?

The sky’s the limit: If there are 50 stitches per 1 foot length of blanket (and 50 rows per foot as well), and the whole piece is 7 feet long by 6 feet wide, how many stitches does this crazy blanket have? How would you try to multiply that out?




Wee ones: 5 colors of yarn.

Little kids: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.  Bonus: 9. Remember, if 3 are dark blue, then there are 11-3 or 8 stitches that are NOT dark blue, so it can’t be 8 (this is the “fencepost problem”). Count down from 11 to prove it!

Big kids: About 400 stitches.  Bonus: Just over 11 weeks. He would have taken 80 days, and 77 days fill 11 weeks.

The sky’s the limit: 105,000 stitches. There are 2,500 in each square foot (50 rows with 50 stitches in each), which means every 4 square feet have 10,000 stitches. There are 42 square feet in total (7 x 6). So the 40 square feet have 100,000 stitches, and the last 2 square feet add another 2,500+2,500, or 5,000.

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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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