It feels great to pack snow into a snowball, then chuck it at full speed at your buddy. The crazy thing is, sometimes Nature makes snowballs on her own. In 2016, thousands of snow and ice spheres popped up in Siberia. There’s an 11-mile stretch of “beach” along the Gulf of Ob, where the water is reeeeeeally cold. When the wind and water push a piece of floating ice, it rolls around and soon becomes a smooth ball. This can also happen along Lake Michigan. Some of the snowballs have grown to be as big as 3 feet — you’d better hope no one chucks one of those at you!
Wee ones: See if you can find 3 ball-shaped objects in your room.
Little kids: If you throw a snowball, then an ice ball, then a snowball, then an ice ball…what kind of ball is the 6th ball you throw? Bonus: If you’re with 2 friends, and each of you throws a snowball at each of the other friends, how many snowballs are thrown?
Big kids: If you and 5 friends have made 24 snowballs, can you divide them equally among yourselves? Bonus: How tall is a 3-foot snowball compared to you? Find out your height in feet and inches! (Reminder: A foot has 12 inches.)
Wee ones: Answers might include bouncy balls, balls for sports (soccer, tennis), marbles, or a perfectly round light bulb.
Little kids: An ice ball. Bonus: 6 snowballs. You have 3 people in total, and each needs to throw 2 balls.
Big kids: Yes, because 24 is divisible across the 6 people. Bonus: Different for everyone…the snowball is 36 inches high (12×3), so subtract 36 from your height in inches, or subtract your height from 36.
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.