Bathtime is always more fun with a rubber duckie. But what would happen if those rubber ducks went out onto the ocean? Well, we found out when a giant load of rubber duckies fell off a ship near Hong Kong in 1992. The toys floated off every which way, and everyone thought they were lost forever. But decades later, the rubber duckies started washing up on beaches all over the world. As the waves pushed the ducks, it showed where ocean currents flow and how fast. The ducks took only 4 years to reach the west coast of the U.S., but about 15 years to reach England. They’ve been nicknamed the Friendly Floatees by scientists watching their path. We hope the people who catch a duckie bring it home for a nice warm bath.
Wee ones: Rubber duckies are usually yellow. See if you can find 4 yellow things in the room.
Little kids: If 5 ocean-floating rubber duckies bump into 1 more friend, how many duckies does the group have now? Bonus: If starting now some of the duckies float for 3 years before reaching a beach, how old will you be when they arrive?
Big kids: If 2 ducks, Squirty and Squeakles, start 500 miles apart, and each one floats 300 miles from their starting point, could they meet up? Bonus: If 28 rubber duckies start floating from Hong Kong, half of them make it to California, and then half of those make it to Mexico, how many duckies make it to Mexico?
Wee ones: Items might include clothes, socks, pillows, or a picture on the wall.
Little kids: 6 rubber duckies. Bonus: Different for everyone…add 3 to your age today!
Big kids: Yes! Because if they swim straight at each other, they each need to travel only 250 miles. Bonus: 7 rubber duckies, since 14 make it to California.
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.