Just about every crazy animal gets its own holiday, and today we celebrate International Sloth Day. A sloth looks like a walking shag carpet with a face. It’s famous for being the slowest, laziest mammal out there. Sloths sleep 20 hours a day, and can’t move any faster than 6-7 miles an hour — only a little faster than we people walk. They sit still for so long that tiny green plants called algae grow in their fur! Extra toes don’t help, either: the 3-toed sloth actually moves more slowly than the 2-toed sloth. While adult sloths look green, hairy and gross (like the one in the picture here), baby sloths are almost cute, as shown in the top picture. It’s too bad they’ll grow up to be as slow as their parents.
Wee ones: Who has the most toes on 1 foot: a 2-toed sloth, a 3-toed sloth, or you? Count your toes to find out!
Little kids: Sloths hang from trees by their 4 arms. How many more arms than you does a sloth have? Bonus: A day has 24 hours. After sleeping 20 hours, how many hours that day does the sloth stay awake?
Big kids: If sloths have either 2 toes on every foot or 3 toes on every foot (with 4 feet in total), how many sloths could be in the room if they have 32 toes in total? Bonus: Is it possible for a group of sloths to have 30 toes in total?
The sky’s the limit: If a sloth hustles along at 6 miles an hour, and you can run at 10 miles an hour, how much faster than the sloth can you cross a 30-mile forest?
Wee ones: You have the most toes, since you have 5!
Little kids: 2 more arms. Bonus: 4 hours.
Big kids: There could be four 2-toed sloths (8 toes each), or one 2-toed sloth and two 3-toed sloths (12 toes each). Bonus: No, because the total number of toes is always a multiple of 4, and 30 isn’t divisible by 4.
The sky’s the limit: 2 hours faster. The sloth will need 5 hours to “run” the 5 6-mile chunks, while you’ll need only 3 hours.
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.