Even Better Than a Purple Bear

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.

Even Better Than a Purple Bear

December 28, 2017

Have you ever noticed how most teddy bears are brown? Okay, once in a while we see a blue or purple one, but real bears don’t come in those colors. But there are real bears that are white: polar bears. These fuzzy, furry giants live way up north in the Arctic Circle, and are the largest meat-eating creatures on land. They eat seals, which they can smell from up to a mile away. They’re also the biggest bear: at 1,500 pounds, they’re even bigger than their 1,400-pound cousin, the Kodiak brown bear. Thanks to big padded feet and a 4-inch layer of fat under their thick fur, the polar bear can live on the ice and doggie-paddle in the coldest waters. That white fur helps them blend into the ice and snow, too – but don’t even think about dying it purple.

Wee ones: If you see a white bear, then a brown bear, then white, then brown…what’s the 6th bear?

Little kids: If a mama bear and her cub go hunting, how many furry feet is that?  Bonus: If polar bears like the weather best from the start of November through the end of February, during how many months are they happy?

Big kids: Polar bears start getting too hot around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. How much would you have to cool down your house to keep one as a pet? See what temp it is now!  Bonus: If a bag has 4 white polar bear stuffed animals and 4 brown teddy bears, and you grab 4 toys without looking, what are all the combinations of brown and white bears you could grab? (Don’t worry about the order — imagine them in a pile in your lap.)




Wee ones: It’s brown, since the 5th is white.

Little kids: 8 furry feet.  Bonus: 4 months: November, December, January, February.

Big kids: Different for everyone…subtract 50 from your indoor temperature at home.  Bonus: 5 ways: all 4 white, 3 white 1 brown, 2 white 2 brown, 1 white 3 brown, and all 4 brown.

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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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