As our fan Michael L. just shared with us, there’s a crazy sport called skijoring that combines horse-riding and skiing. The skier straps 2 long, smooth boards called “skis” to his or her feet, and holds a 30-foot rope tied to a horse. The horse starts running, and the skier hangs on for dear life while being pulled across the snow. A horse can run 30 mph or more, so you need to hold on tight!
Wee ones: The skier wears 2 matching skis. Try to spot 2 things in your room that are exactly the same as each other.
Little kids: How many legs do the horse and skijorer have together? Bonus: If you grab 6 hoops on your left arm, then 8 on your right, then 5 on your left, which arm caught more hoops in total?
Big kids: If you can ski 15 miles an hour on your own but twice as fast when pulled by a horse, how fast do you ski with the horse? Bonus: Mystery number: We can’t tell you our horse’s top speed, but if you double it, add 2, and double it again, you get 208. How fast is the horse?
Wee ones: Answers could include socks, building blocks, pieces of Lego, or hair ties.
Little kids: 6 legs. Bonus: More with the left, since it grabbed 11 while the right grabbed 8.
Big kids: 30 miles an hour. Bonus: 51 miles an hour. That last doubling came from 104; before adding the 2, it had to be 102; and if it doubled to 102, it started at 51.
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.