Is that title a mouthful? Maybe. But it's also super fun to say. Try it: hexaflexagon. Hexaflexagon. Hexaflexagon! Sounds like a cool magic word to me.
In fact, hexaflexagons are these cool paper creations that you're going to love. Remember those fortune tellers (or cootie catchers) you made in grade school? These remind me of those, but more mathy and mysterious.
I'm also a big fan of Vi Hart, of YouTube and Khan Academy fame. Here's her video on hexaflexagons:
I did a lesson that included these a few weeks ago. Max saw me watching the videos and was completely fascinated. He insisted we make some. We ended up making quite a few, of both kinds. He colored the different sides and practiced flipping them inside out. He even had me cut one open after coloring so he could see the patterns on the inside. He proudly took one to preschool the next day and showed everyone how there were these cool hidden sides. So freakin' cute.
I love that he was so excited about it. And I love the reminder that kids can get excited about things they don't totally understand. To him, the hidden side is a magic trick; to me it's a math demonstration of some pretty weighty topics. Either way, it's fun!
Here's a link to some instructions on making your own hexaflexagons (seriously; say it out loud).
When you're done playing and amazing your friends, check out some of ViHart's other videos. You don't need to be a math geek like me to enjoy them, but an appreciation for art or puzzles or talking really fast might help.
And then go give your brain a workout at puzzles.com. There are so many kinds there you'll certainly find something you like.
But first; hexaflexagons...
Oh, don't forget to go check out the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway going on! We've got an adorable little mouse Sprout up for grabs!