How to Have the Most Birthdays

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.

How to Have the Most Birthdays

June 3, 2014

If you love celebrating your birthday, try living 111 years – lots of birthdays, lots of parties. Maybe that was the plan for Dr. Alexander Imich, who is now the world’s oldest living man. He lives in New York City and is 111 years old. That means he was born just after the year 1900, when most people still didn’t have cars, phones, cameras or even electricity. But Dr. Imich isn’t the oldest person: right now that honor goes to a 116-year-old woman, Misao Okawa. She was born on March 5, 1898, so she’s had birthday parties in three different centuries!

Wee ones: Who’s been around longer, the 102-year-old Oreo cookie or the 111-year-old Dr. Imich?

Little kids: If Ms. Okawa is 116 and Dr. Imich is 111, how many years older is Ms. Okawa?  Bonus: How many years older than you is Ms. Okawa? (If those are big numbers for you, try counting down from 116!)

Big kids: If Dr. Imich is 111 years old, in what year was he born?  Bonus: Dr. Imich’s birthday is February 4. How many days ago did he turn 111 as of today (June 3)?

The sky’s the limit: The previous oldest living man, Arturo Licata, was older than Dr. Imich, but passed away on April 24, at the age of 111 years 357 days. On what date was Mr. Licata exactly twice as old as Dr. Imich?




Wee ones: Dr. Imich is older – no Oreos when he was a little kid!

Little kids: 5 years older.  Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract your age from 116.

Big kids: In 1903.  Bonus: 119 days. May 3 was exactly 31 days ago, April 3 was 30 days before that, March 3 was 31 before that, and Feb. 3 was 28 days before that, for 120 days total. So Feb. 4 was one day less than that, or 119 days.

The sky’s the limit: Arturo Licata’s 112th birthday would have been just 8 days later this year, on May 2. So he was born almost 9 months before Dr. Imich. To be exact, he was born 31+30+31+31+30+31+30+31+31 days before Feb. 2 (276 days), so he was 278 days before Dr. Imich’s Feb. 4 date of birth.

Since they were always 278 days apart, Mr. Licata was double Dr. Imich’s age on the day when Dr. Imich reached 278 days old, since then Mr. Licata was 278+278 days, or 556 days old. That’s 1 year 191 days (luckily we don’t bump into any leap years here). Counting from Mr. Licata’s first birthday on May 2, 1903, we count off 31 to June 2, then 30, 31, 31, 30, and 31 to get to Nov 2. That’s 184 days, so we need 7 more, taking us to Nov. 9, 1903 as the date when Mr. Licata was twice as old as Dr. Imich.

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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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