Try saying “We’re real rear wheels” 10 times fast — not so easy, huh? It’s called a tongue twister, a set of words that’s tricky for your tongue to say, and gets trickier as you say it faster. Try saying “sixth sick sheep” over and over really fast, or even “world wide web.” Scientists timed people reading quietly in their heads, and found that we even *read* tongue twisters more slowly than other words! So tongue twisters are brain twisters, too.

*Wee ones:* How many words do you say in “We’re real rear wheels”?

*Little kids:* If you have 2 cars with 2 real rear wheels on each, how many real rear wheels do you have? *Bonus:* Now try saying “Sixth sick sheep” over and over fast. If you get 6 sick sheep twice, how many sheep do you have?

*Big kids:* Now try “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.” If all 6 sheiks each have 6 sick sheep, how many sick sheep do they have in total? *Bonus:* Now try saying “11 benevolent elephants” over and over fast. If you have 56 animals in total, how many sets of 11 elephants and 6 sheep must you have?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 4 words.

*Little kids:* 4 real rear wheels. *Bonus:* 12 sick sheep.

*Big kids:* 36 sick sheep. *Bonus:* 4 sets of elephants and 2 sets of sheep, for 44 + 12. There’s no other set of 11 that is a multiple of 6 away from 56.