In the movie Toy Story, battery-run astronaut Buzz Lightyear thinks he can actually fly – and when he does try to fly, he yells, "To infinity and beyond!" So what is infinity, exactly? In math, infinity means that numbers just keep on going: no matter how big a number you can think of, you can always add one and just make a bigger number. We're sorry, Buzz, but there's no way to go beyond infinity. But as we look at some other milestone numbers, we'll see that even non-infinite numbers can be pretty big and pretty cool.
Wee ones: What is the biggest number you can count to on your fingers and toes altogether?
Little kids: What is the largest two-digit number? Bonus: What is the largest three-digit number?
Big kids: While you may know "Google" as a search engine, there is actually a very large number called a "googol" that is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes! How many more zeroes does this number have than in a thousand? Bonus: How many more zeroes does this number have than in a million?
Wee ones: Count your fingers and toes!
Little kids: 99. Bonus: 999.
Big kids: 97 zeroes. Bonus: 94 zeroes.
A message from Laura: Bedtime Math is a 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. 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 we email parents a fun, lively math problem every day to do with their kids – and every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!