Do you like stuffed animals? Do you have a favorite furry friend you bring everywhere? Even though people have had live pets for thousands of years, stuffed animals have been around only since the 1800s. The first ones were first made of cloth, but in 1903 Richard Steiff of Germany made the first soft bear that was “plush,” or fuzzy. We still have teddy bears today, but we have stuffed toys of just about any other animal, too: giraffes, hedgehogs, even this cute furry squid. How many furry feet do they have? How many legs? Try the math below to find out!
Wee ones: If you have a blue stuffed bear, an orange bunny, a purple hedgehog, and a deep pink squid, how many stuffed animals do you have?
Little kids: If the squid has 10 “legs” (tentacles) and the bunny has 4 legs, how many “legs” do they have together? Bonus: How many more “legs” does the squid have than the bunny?
Big kids: If you have 3 bears, twice as many bunnies as bears, and 2 more stuffed puppies than bears and bunnies together, how many stuffed animals do you have in total? Bonus: If you stick your hands under the sheets and grab one of those animals, what are the chances you’ll grab a bunny?
Wee ones: 4 stuffed animals.
Little kids: 14 legs. Bonus: 6 more legs.
Big kids: 20 animals, since you have 3 bears, 6 bunnies, and 11 puppies. Bonus: Your chances are 6 out of 20, which is the same as 3 out of 10 or 30%.
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.