Of all the funny, furry pets you can have, the ferret might be the funniest. These long, skinny cousins of the weasel are in the news for being cloned for the first time. But they’ve been pets for possibly as long as 2,500 years. Even though they sleep up to 18 hours a day, they’re very playful at sunrise and sunset. Our friend J.B. found that his 2 ferrets love to hide inside long socks. Years ago, airplane maker Boeing used ferrets to run wires through tight spots when building planes. The problem was, the ferrets kept falling asleep on the job since they nap so much. They’d much rather lie around in a sock.
Wee ones: Ferrets love long socks. How many long socks do you have in your room? Count them up!
Little kids: If you have 8 ferrets and 6 socks, how many ferrets don’t get to snuggle in a sock? (Assume only 1 ferret can fit in each sock.) Bonus: Ferrets have a 15-inch-long body, plus a 5-inch tail. How long is a ferret in total?
Big kids: If your 4 20-inch ferrets lie nose to tail on the floor, how long is your ferret chain? Bonus: The word “ferret” comes from the Latin word furittus, which means “little thief,” because ferrets like to steal small objects and hide them. If you have 48 Lego blocks and the ferret hid 1/2 of them last week, then 1/4 of what was left this week, how many pieces has your little thief taken?
Wee ones: Different for everyone…you can count all your socks that go higher than your ankle.
Little kids: 2 ferrets do not get a sock. Bonus: 20 inches total.
Big kids: 80 inches of ferret. Bonus: 30 pieces. The ferret stole 24 last week, and then 6 of the remaining 24 this 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.