Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.


January 11, 2015

Whenever there’s a new crazy sport, there’s bound to be new math in it, too. So we’re loving the game called Bubble Soccer. You have to watch the video to believe it, but basically the players each wear a giant clear plastic bubble around themselves while kicking a ball. Since the bubbles are much bigger than the people, players can’t help but crash into each other while running full speed for the ball. No one gets hurt because when a players falls, he or she just bounces like a regular ball themselves. You can buy or rent the bubbles online and at sports stores, so if you like soccer and you like crashing into people to knock them over, this might be the sport for you.

Wee ones: What shape is the bubble around each player?

Little kids: If a bubble team has 10 players plus a goalie like a regular soccer team, how many players are on each team?  Bonus: How many are on the field when 2 teams play each other?

Big kids: If a player crashes into another player every 3rd time he kicks the ball (starting with the 3rd kick), on which kick does he fall for the 7th time?  Bonus: Will he fall on the 52nd kick?

The sky’s the limit: If 3 forwards from each team – 6 players total – crash into each of those other 5 forwards exactly once in a game, how many separate crashes is that?




Wee ones: A ball, officially called a “sphere” in geometry.

Little kids: 11 players.  Bonus: 22 players.

Big kids: On his 21st kick.  Bonus: No, since 52 is not a multiple of 3.

The sky’s the limit: There will be 15 crashes among them, since you count a crash between two players only once. The first player has 5 players to crash into; the 2nd player already crashed into him, so that one has only 4 more to hit; the 3rd player has just 3 more, and so on, giving us 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5, or 15 crashes total.

And thank you Monica L. for telling us about this hilarious sport!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

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 while still in diapers, 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.

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