Today is a unique day on the calendar. It is leap day. This is a great learning opportunity for your children. They can learn about the history of the day, why it has been added into the calendar, and use the Internet to create their own leap year calendar.
This year will be 366 days long instead of 365. Leap day is added into our calendar every four years. This additional day was added to the calendar to keep alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun over 2,000 years ago by Julius Cesar. It takes 365.242199 days in order for the earth to revolve around the sun. If leap days were not added, the calendar would actually be off in comparison to the revolutions. Within 100 years, it would be off by over 24 days!
Math Activities for Leap Day
Scholastic has a page for math questions about leap year. This includes questions like what are the next leap years, comparison of leap years to birthdays, and days of the week that leap days fall on. This could be a fun challenge activity to do over dinner on leap day.
Online Calendar Creator
DLTK has an online calendar creator that is easy for kids to use. They can select the theme of their calendar ranging from animals to popular cartoon characters. Once they print their calendar, you can use this for learning activities. You can have your child circle leap day and other popular holidays on the calendar. They can also compare several years of calendars to see when the next leap day and leap year will occur. You can then hang their calendars on a pin board in their bedroom.
Great Leap Day Resource
Home School Coach has a very extensive blog post about leap year and leap days based on her personal experiences with leap day. This site has great ideas for home learning and leap day. The information on this site includes why we have leap years, when they are, trivia based on leap days, rhymes, party ideas, activities, and books.
Animal-based Leap Day Activities
For younger children, many activities about leap day involve using animals that leap to help to explain the idea. Typically, frogs are used as a leaping off point for learning about leap day. eHow has a site with several frog-related activities.
Enchanted Learning has a great visual diagram and explanation of leap year. This picture includes an explanation. The page also contains facts, rhymes, and trivia. This activity would be perfect for upper elementary and middle school students.
Leap day can be celebrated at home through learning activities and crafts. It is easy to incorporate math, history, science and crafting while learning about leap day and leap years.
Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont
Picture By i_yudai
Free Educational Resources by SmartTutor.com