Cozy Toes


The kids and I love to play games on the weekend. Our My favorite is Agricola, a board game about farming in the Middle Ages. We also play a lot of matching games. Saturday morning Elsa invented her own matching game using the cards from Abandon All Artichokes. Then I made up a matching game too. I called it “Cozy Toes”.

cozy toes

It was a money game. Whoever got the most pairs of matching socks won, and everyone else owed that person five cents for each pair they were short.

I explained how you had to compare each sock to each other sock, which meant the work to find one sock’s match was as big as all the other socks. The work for all the socks—say there were n of them—was n times n. So if you let the pile get too big, you have a lot of work to do.

I suppose with several workers—say m of them—the work was less, but I don’t know for sure what it was. In practice it is a hard job for many workers to share. In our own game there was a lot of contention.

Later when they thought they had matched all the socks they could, and only odd singles remained, I asked how they could be sure. They decided to sort the socks from longest to shortest. Then they could see that there were no more matches. But they still compared every sock to every other.

unmatched socks

If we keep playing this game maybe I will teach them how to bubble sort.

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