Have you ever stayed in the bath or pool so long that your fingers turned wrinkly? Why does this weird thing happen? Scientists asked people with dry fingers and people with wet, wrinkly fingers to pick up and move wet and dry marbles. The wrinkly-fingered folks could move 9 marbles in the time the dry-fingered folks could move just 8. Long ago, these puckered fingers may have helped cavemen catch fish more easily. As for you, it’ll help you grab that rubber ducky.

*Wee ones:*If you pick up the 1st rubber ducky, then the 2nd ducky, then the 4th ducky, what number ducky did you skip in between?

*Little kids:* If you have 2 rubber duckies, 3 toy boats and a beach ball in the tub with you, how many toys do you have? *Bonus:* If a dry-fingered person picks up all the toys but then drops half of them, how many bath toys are dropped?

*Big kids:* If you can dive to the bottom of the pool and stay there 9 seconds, and you pick up 3 pennies off the pool floor every second, can you pick up 25 cents in time? *Bonus:* If instead there are 2 rubber duckies, 3 toy boats and a penny stuck on the floor of the pool, how many different pairs of things can you pick up? (Assume the 2 duckies are identical, and so are the 3 boats – but the order you pick up doesn’t matter.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* The 3rd rubber ducky.

*Little kids:* 6 toys. *Bonus:* 3 toys.

*Big kids:* Yes! You can pick up as many as 27 pennies. *Bonus:* 5 possible pairs: 2 ducks, duck + boat, duck + penny, 2 boats, and boat + penny.