What is leap year… and Activities to Celebrate the day.

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What is a Leap Year?  That is the question my 9 year old asked me …and I did not know….

So let’s learn for a second, shall we? Let me summarize my 2 hours of research for all of us:

Every four years we have a Leap Year, which means we have a year with 366 days in it rather than the typical 365.  That day is February 29.  This is done so that the calendar year can keep up with the astronomical year. If we didn’t have this extra day built in every four years, our seasons would slowly change. Can you imagine having to wear a winter coat during a July snowstorm?  Neither can we!

This Wednesday is Leap Year Day!!  And being that it is a day that only comes around once every four years, we are going to celebrate it in style.

When is leap year

Knowing this is a special day, we are planning to have some special fun in observance of it!

Plan a Leap Year Party, any reason to celebrate, right? Plan a special evening to make this ordinary Wednesday really stand out.  Have a fun meal the whole family loves – order Chinese take-out, make a homemade pizza, or have Brinner (our super name for “breakfast for dinner”).

Discuss Leap Year over dinner.  Talk about being born on February 29th – how would you feel having your “real” birthday every four years? How do you think they celebrate? Put on your thinking caps and figure out how many Leap Years old you are!

Happy Birthday Cake

Bake a Birthday Cake and sing Happy Birthday to all the people who are born on Leap Day.  Do you know someone who was?  Call them up and sing to them live!

Would you like to dance? Did you know that in Ireland on February 29th, women were allowed to ask men for their hand in marriage? And a man was fined if he refused! Celebrate this fun tradition by putting on some music and having the girls ask the guys to dance!

Travel on an Adventure.  Are there any day trips in your region that you can take your family on?  Maybe you can visit the same local destination every four years – watch a region evolve.   We recently enjoyed touring the Cathedral of Junk – that is a building that will evolve in time!  It would be a fun “destination” every four years.

Make a Leap Year Time Capsule.  I have always loved the idea of making a time capsule but never have the patience to wait 10-20 years to open it up again.  Four years sounds ideal and I can’t wait to make one as a family.  Our plan is to put items in a shoebox with a letter written by us (to us) and hide it in the back of our closet until February 29, 2016.

I am asking each of my family members to think about a few items they might like to add by providing them with strategic questions,  “What do you want to remember about yourself in 4 years?” What symbolizes the year 2012 best?” Little ones might need a parent’s help with this one.

A few ideas could include a newspaper, currency, family photos, cd with current songs, a grocery receipt, concert or movie ticket stubs, trophies, book, or a favorite toy.

how to make a time capsule

In addition to the items, I am having each family member complete a questionnaire about themselves in 2012.  Typical questions such as “favorite subject”, “best friend”, and “favorite food” are on there along with a few thought-provoking questions, “What do you want to be when you grow up and why?” and “What do you want to be doing in 4 years?”

Survey for your kids to take

Once everything is tucked away nicely (don’t forget to write the letter!), it’s a good idea to tape the box up!  Prevents you from peeking in 2015!

Leap year time capsule

This is a day that only comes around once in four years – whether you make a big deal out of it or not, I encourage you to do at least one activity with your kids out of the ordinary – make it a day to remember!

Rebecca About Rebecca

Rebecca Darling, momma of 3 sassy Texas kiddos, writes a blog dedicated to family travel at R We There Yet Mom?. Although she swears she is not crafty, this momma never lacks in creativity and enthusiasm - her ultimate goal is making exceptional memories for her family. Follow her memory making at R We There Yet Mom?, on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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  1. This is a fantastic idea! Will definitely do the time capsule.

    Thanks Becca!

  2. Love the capsule idea. Do you have a link to the questionnaire?

  3. Great research on Leap Year. Thanks.

  4. Great article. There is a fun video that explains all this too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56zlm9qhVGc

  5. I love the time capsule idea. This is my little guy’s first Leap Year, and starting a time capsule tradition is perfect. Thanks for the inspiration!! Once we complete it, we’ll share :)

  6. This is a great idea! JDaniel will be 8 by the time Leap Year comes around. He will be so different in what he likes and enjoys.

  7. Love the time capsule idea! How fun!

  8. I love the idea of the time capsule! My 5 year old will absolutely love every aspect of that!

  9. I started the time capsule with the Preschoolers today, and with my Son this evening.
    Also, posted about how to make that time capsule, specifically for Preschoolers.
    You can check it out if you’d like,
    Of course I linked back to you as our complete inspiration :)

  10. Wow! These are so fun. Now I have an excuse to make a cake tomorrow! ;) I would love it if you’d link this up on my blog carnival Family Time Tuesday!


  11. In old tradition, Leap year was when a girl could ask the guy to marry her. Am I the only one who has heard of this? Everyone I talk to is surprised when I say that. :)

  12. Great ideas! Not sure if I am celebrating as I usually get my retirement check on the 1st. Now I have to wait an extra day!

  13. Would love for you to email me the questionnaire, too. Thanks!

  14. Great ideas! I love the idea of a time capsule. I linked you up on my blog: http://vixenmade.blogspot.com/2012/02/happy-leap-year-day.html

  15. Did you know that a person born on leap year is called a “Leapling”? Just FYI :)


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