Look at your hand. Which finger is the longest? You might say your middle finger, but if you include all 5 fingers, your thumb is actually the longest! It looks like it has only 2 bones, but the third is inside your hand — look at how far down it reaches. So our fan Sydney B. asked, what’s the longest finger anyone has ever had? There doesn’t seem to be a world record for this, but the longest fingers probably live on the biggest hands, which right now belong to Sultan Kosen of Turkey. His hand is more than 11 inches long from his wrist to the tip of his middle finger. That’s almost a whole foot! In fact, if Sultan spreads his fingers wide, his hand spans exactly 12 inches. Football and basketball players wish they had hands like that!
Wee ones: Spot 3 things in the room that are shorter than your middle finger.
Little kids: If you count your fingers starting on your pinky, which finger is 4th? Bonus: If you put both hands flat on the table, which finger is 8th if you start counting on the left pinky?
Big kids: If an octopus’ leg is 3 times as long as Sultan’s 11-inch hand, how long is the octopus’ leg? Bonus: If you give a high 5 to 8 people, how many fingers (including thumbs) touch yours?
Wee ones: Answers might include crayon pieces, barrettes, or Legos.
Little kids: Your pointy finger. Bonus: Your right middle finger.
Big kids: 33 inches. Bonus: 40 fingers.
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.