Best Tricks in the House

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.

Best Tricks in the House

July 19, 2014

We love it when people find simple, clever tricks to solve silly problems. These tricks, or “hacks,” use stuff that’s just lying around the house in ways you’d never expect. On one of our favorite lists, we learned that you can hold a nail with a clothespin while hammering so you don’t smack your fingers. You can strap a bright light to a bottle of water to make a giant glowing lamp. You can fit two wide bowls in the microwave by stacking one on top of a coffee cup so they don’t bump other. The best might be the trick for slicing cherry tomatoes or grapes: lay them on a plate, rest another plate on top of them, then slice a knife across between the plates. From peeling a banana to stacking an evenly thick sandwich, there’s an easier way that most of us don’t know. The grown-ups in your life do most of these things for you, but once you grow up you’ll want to know these tricks yourself.

Wee ones: In this “Good Sandwich Guide,” how many pieces of bologna do they have after cutting the 2 slices in half?

Little kids: The egg one is fun: take a hard-boiled egg, peel a hole off each end, then blow in one end to make the egg shoot out the other. If you’ve popped 6 eggs already and have 3 more to pop, how many eggs did you hard-boil to start?  Bonus: If there are 50 cool hacks on this list and you’ve tried all except the egg-popping one, how many tricks have you tried?

Big kids: To make ice cream sandwiches, slice a whole pint of ice cream, stick the slice between 2 cookies, then peel the paper off. If you can get 6 slices from each pint and you have 2 pints, how many cookies will you need for all those sandwiches?  Bonus: You can dump the unpopped kernels from a bag of popped popcorn by tearing a small hole and shaking them out through it. If 13 unpopped kernels fall out and you have 4 times as many good popped ones, how many kernels did the bag have to start?




Wee ones: 4 pieces.

Little kids: 9 eggs.  Bonus: 49.

Big kids: 24 cookies, since you can make 12 sandwiches.  Bonus: 65 kernels (52 popped and 13 duds).

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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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