It’s National Doughnut Day, which might be our best holiday yet. This sweet treat was invented in the 1800s, when a sailor’s mom, Elizabeth Gregory, was trying to fry cakes more evenly. Sometimes the outside of the cake would cook too much before the inside did, leaving it goopy in the middle. So she put a wad of walnuts in the middle of the ball of dough. Since she wrapped dough around a nut, she called it a “dough-nut.” Now America eats billions of doughnuts every year. The Salvation Army started National Doughnut Day in 1938, as a thank-you to women who served doughnuts to soldiers. They put the holiday on the first Friday of June, and we still celebrate it today…but you can eat doughnuts any day of the year!
Wee ones: What shape is a donut?
Little kids: If you order 2 chocolate donuts, 2 sugar-glazed, and 2 cinnamon, how many donuts do you have? Bonus: What is the latest day in June that National Doughnut Day can happen?
Big kids: People always eat up the chocolate donuts faster. If you serve 18 donuts, all chocolate or powdered, how many should be chocolate if you want twice as many chocolate as powdered? Bonus: If instead you put out 3 dozen donuts, and want the same number of powdered and jelly, but as many chocolate as the powdered and jelly put together, now how many of each do you need?
Wee ones: A circle — or in 3D, a “torus.”
Little kids: 6 donuts. Bonus: On June 7. Starting June 8, the day would be the second Friday.
Big kids: 12 chocolate, leaving you 6 powdered. Bonus: 18 chocolate, 9 powdered and 9 jelly. You need 36 donuts (3 x 12), and if there are the same number of chocolate as everything else put together, then the chocolate will be half the pile. Then the powdered and jelly split the other half.
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.