How does a vacuum cleaner work? The machine has a really strong fan spinning inside. Instead of blowing air out at you, the fan pulls air — and dirt, and Lego, and little fuzzies from your sweater — up into the vacuum. A normal vacuum cleaner can lift about 5 pounds with the hose attachment, and can suck up about 12 gallons of milk every second, so that’s a lot of cleaning up!

Wee ones: Vacuum cleaners suck up tiny bits of things. Find 3 things in the room that are smaller than the tip of your finger.

Little kids: If the vacuum sucks up 5 Lego bricks and a sock, how many things has it eaten?  Bonus: If the vacuum eats up 8 chocolate chips from the kitchen floor, how do you count down the chips from 8 to 1? Try it!

Big kids: All the junk sucked up by a vacuum has to be emptied out. If you do this every 3rd day starting on a Sunday, on what number cleaning do you empty it on a Thursday?  Bonus: If on every 4th emptying you find a Cheerio and on every 5th emptying you find a penny, what’s the 1st emptying when you find both? (Assume you count every 4th emptying starting with the 4th, and every 5th emptying starting with the 5th).