**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!

Out of all the kinds of insects, probably one of the better-liked ones is the ladybug. They're colorful and cute, they're quiet and harmless, and they eat the "bad" bugs (aphids) that hurt our rose plants. Even if you think other bugs are kind of gross, you might let a ladybug walk around on your hand, on your lap, or as shown here, on your recipe for crumb cake. By the way, the spots on ladybugs aren't actually circles. If you use a magnifying glass, you'll see that they're blotches with raggedy edges. Also, ladybugs can have anywhere from zero to 24 of them. And that can make ladybug math pretty tricky.

Challenge your kids to these ladybug-inspired math challenges:

*Wee ones*: If you have 2 ladybugs, and each one has 6 spots, how many spots do they have in total?

*Little kids*: If you have 1 ladybug with 7 spots and 1 ladybug with 9 spots, how many spots do they have together? *Bonus*: How many spots would one ladybug have to give the other so they have the same number?

*Big kids*: If you have 4 ladybugs who together have 37 spots, and one is different with 1 more spot than any of the other 3 ladybugs, how many spots does each ladybug have? *Bonus*: If a crowd of ladybugs has 42 legs and each bug has 10 spots, how many spots do they have altogether? (Reminder: Insects have 6 legs apiece.)

**Answers:**

*Wee ones*: 12 spots total.

*Little kids*: 16 spots in total. *Bonus*: 1 spot, then they would both have 8.

*Big kids*: 3 of the bugs have 9 spots each, and the last has 10 spots. *Bonus*: 70 spots, since there are 7 bugs.