Memorial Day is the holiday where Americans celebrate all the soldiers who have protected our country. In 2021 the holiday falls on May 31 — today! But it isn’t always May 31. Like Thanksgiving and Labor Day, the date changes because the holiday has to land on a certain day of the week. This one always lands on the last Monday of May, so this year Memorial Day is as late as it can be…but how early can it be? Also, did you know that any date falls on the next day of week the following year? If your birthday was on a Tuesday this year, it will be on a Wednesday next year…unless the next year is a leap year. Let’s see how the days and dates get moving!
Wee ones: How many birthdays have you had? Count up from 1 to your age!
Little kids: If today is Monday, what days of the week are tomorrow and the day after? Bonus: May has 31 days in total. How many more days does May have than February, which has 28 days?
Big kids: If Memorial Day is always the last Monday of May, what’s the earliest May date it can be? Bonus: Find out or try to remember what day of the week your last birthday was. What day of the week will the next one be?
Wee ones: Different for everyone…count 1, 2, 3 and so on up to your age!
Little kids: Tuesday and Wednesday. Bonus: 3 more days.
Big kids: May 25. Why? Because if it were May 24, May 31 would be a Monday too, and *that* would have to become Memorial Day – just like this year! Bonus: Different for everyone…find your last birthday’s day of week, and move it 1 day farther into the week.
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.