Monkey Bars in the Sky

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.

Monkey Bars in the Sky

March 29, 2019

Hey, are those people flying through the sky? Not quite: they’re climbing through it! What you see is a set of ropes crisscrossing the inside of a big poofy blow-up dome. On monkey bars, you can swing only forwards or backwards (1 dimension). And on a rock wall, you can climb only up and down, or side to side (2 dimensions). Here you can go up and down, front to back, AND side to side. Best of all, you can let the air out of this giant jungle gym, roll it up, and carry it somewhere else. Maybe they’ll make a smaller size that can fit in a kid’s bedroom…

Wee ones: What shapes can you see the ropes make in the top picture?

Little kids: If you climb up 2 ropes, then up 3 more ropes, then up 2 more ropes, how many ropes have you climbed? Bonus: If the ropes are all spaced 2 feet apart, how far do you climb if you reach the 5th rope? Count up by 2s!

Big kids: If one wall has 12 rows of ropes with 10 ropes in each, how many ropes are coming out of that side? Bonus: If there are the same number of ropes running up/down and back to front as there are side to side, how many different ropes are there in total?











Wee ones: Triangles, then all kinds of 4-sided shapes like rectangles, squares and trapezoids; you might even find a pentagon (5 sides)!

Little kids: 7 ropes. Bonus: 10 feet.

Big kids: 120 ropes. Bonus: 360 ropes.

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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 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.

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