**What is Bedtime Math? A message from Laura:** Bedtime Math is a pretty simple idea: We all know we should read to our kids at night, but what about math? My husband and I have done fun, mischief-loaded math problems with our kids at night for years, and when at age 2 our third child started hollering for his own math problem, we realized we were onto something: In a world where so many people say, "Ewww, math!" we had created a household culture where kids don't just tolerate math, they actually seek it out. Now, every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!

Today we're talking about cutting our food to be shaped like houses and other things. Sure, at dinner we're supposed to pick up our knife and fork and eat politely. But that doesn't mean we can't get creative. There are all kinds of shapes we can cut out of our food, and that can make your meal a lot more interesting. You can slice brownies into triangles and squares to make houses, or trace a rocket ship out of your grilled cheese, or cut a pancake into a checkerboard and eat every other bite. As we see above, if you cut 4 or 5 long grooves out of a carrot, when you slice the carrot you'll make little flower shapes.

Hungry for more? Try challenging your kids to take a bite out of these food-inspired math problems.

*Wee ones: *If you use a square piece of toast as the body of your house, a triangle for the roof, and 2 triangles to make a chimney, how many pieces does your house have?

*Little kids:* If you cut a baby carrot into 5 little flowers and keep the 4 long, skinny carved-out sticks as "grass," how many carrot pieces do you have for your salad? *Bonus:* If you eat every other carrot flower starting with the first, how many do you get to eat?

*Big kids:* If you cut a pancake into 6 rows and 6 columns and eat half the bites, how many checkerboard bites are left on the plate? *Bonus:* If you cut 8 rows by 8 columns, you'll probably lose 3 shapes at each corner since the pancake is a circle. If you then eat half of the bites you did make, how many are left?

**Answers:**

*Wee ones:* 4 pieces of toast.

*Little kids:* 9 carrot pieces. *Bonus:* 3 carrot flowers (the 1st, 3rd, and 5th).

*Big kids:* 18 bites. *Bonus: *26 bites, since you will have made 52 in total (i.e., 64 minus 12).