Stumped by a 5 year old

I was just asked a question by my 5 year old son that I couldn’t answer. He said “you told me numbers keep on counting and never end, so how can infinity be the biggest number?” I didn’t have an answer for him, how to you explain the concept of infinity to a young child? This from the kid who asked me who made God at the age of 3. I feel dumb now.

Has anybody else ever been stumped by their young offspring?

Tell your child that infinity isn’t a number except in abstract equations…and only then for neccesity. It is the concept of something going on forever. As for who made God? Tell them no one made God except in abstract equations…and only then for neccesity.

Yeah, that works…


Kids are amazing aren’t they?

Out of curiosity, how did you handle the God one?

Kids are amazing. They actually think about this kind of stuff. Their questions are actually a test to see how smart we are, I suspect.
Gotta love 'em anyway. :wink:

I was very close to giving my first reaction answer (man created God) but paused long enough to spew out “that is a very good question, and nobody really knows the answer.” But I was in shock at the time, so my answer may have come out as “blah blah-blah-blah blah, blah blah”

I give you credit for that answer. That’s a toughie.

Yeah, it is very tough to answer questions like that from youngsters, because the answer has to be something they can comprehend.

Infinity is relative.
Measure an envelope with your ruler. It is finite.
Measure the distance from you to that airplane you can just see the vapor trail of. As far as your ability and tools are concerned, it is infinitely far away.

As you tools become better, say radar, infinity becomes larger.

My aunt told me this is what infinity meant:
It means that there IS no biggest number.
That was how she explained it to me so I got it.

You could have answered the number question and the God question in the same manner as my father did when I asked him perplexing questions as a child.
I remember it like it was only yesterday. <sniff>

I’d say, “Dad, why is the sky blue?”
And this dear, dear man would tell me …

“Shut up. Go to your room and stop being such a smart ass!”

What a font of info he was.

(thank you for playing our little game. In actuality Jack Batty’s father is nothing like that, but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that he has no idea why the sky is blue)

I though infinity was a concept, and not an absolute.

Yeah, infinity is NOT a number, it is a LIMIT.

I always thought it was because God was trying to flush earth down the shitter, but ended up spilling liquid plumber all over the place.

This what worked for my little girl when she was a preschooler:

“Infinity means there is no biggest number. It goes on and on forever.”
“Like bigger than gazillion?”

My dad actually explained this one pretty well to me. this was in terms of time. I think I was about that age when he did so.

Imagine a mountain as big as Mt. Everest. Once, every hundred years a small sparrow comes at pecks twice at the mountain. When the mountain is entirely worn down, a single day of infinity has passed.

It impressed me anyway.

Not my kid, but a 4 year old cousin of mine and I were singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm. We would sing and take turns picking the animals.

I sang, "Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O, and on the farm he had a - "

I point at my cousin who said, “Rabbit”

I continued, "On this farm he had a rabbit, E I E I O, with a – "

And I froze. What the hell sound does a rabbit make? And meanwhile Ryan is staring at me like, “Well, you gonna finish the song or what?”

Just wait until you and your eleven-year-old are in the drive-thru to Taco Bell and he asks quite politely,
“So, what is masturbation anyway?”

Try ordering a chalupah while explaining THAT one.

try explaining to your MOTHER what a blow job is…mercifully, she has obliterated the memory from her mind. I will be, however, forever scared…
Hey, that’s the answer - tell the 5yo that infinity is how long they’ll remember embarrassing stuff about when they were little…

How high is the sky? Just a little higher than an eagle could fly…

oh, I was about 14 or 15 at the time - I think that makes it more embarrassing…
We were watching a TV programme & the comidian made some joke & we both laughed & I said…“Yeah, why do they call it a blow job when you actually suck?”
& she looked at me & I realised that she hadn’t known what the joke was about (or had invented her own clean joke in her head in <cue twilight zone music> parentland) & that I was now going to have to explain!! She’d been laughing at jokes like that for years, I thought she knew! Why does the ground never open up & swallow you when you want it to?

“with a hop, hop here
and a hop, hop there…”

I always make an effort to answer my kids as truthfully and informatively as possible. The problem is when each answer leads to another question. Our standard line was something like, “Well, here we are bumping up against molecular physics again.”

Also, have to always ask if my answer was enough that they understood, or too much that they were bored (Sometines I get carried away hearing myself talk).