Just because 2013 isn’t a Leap Year doesn’t mean you can’t share some “Extra Day” fun with your child! Use this as an opportunity to sneak in a little learning about the calendar cycle; with some math, storytelling, and pattern-recognition lessons along the way. Here are our 4 creative play tips:
Before you play, share with your kids the truly wacky facts of Leap Year. There are 365¼ days in every year—but since we don’t have a way to count a quarter day of the week, we save up those extra pieces until they make a whole. That happens every four years, when we add February 29 to the calendar on Leap Year. (But this year we “leap” straight to March 1 instead.)
Then share some wacky “leap”-themed fun!:
1) Leap to four: Explain how every four years, we “leap” (by including an extra day—February 29) to correct the calendar. Then play a Steps and Leaps game by counting aloud as everyone takes three small steps and then one giant leap on “four”! (A Hopscotch mat would work well, here.)
2) Play “27, 28, 29”: Play a Leap Year version of Duck, Duck, Goose by having all but one player sit in a circle, while the other player walks around them, saying “28” as she pats each player on the head. When she calls out “29” instead, the player tapped must jump up and chase her around the circle, both players hopping all the way!
3) Spot the leap: Use beads, coins, or blocks to create a repeating pattern, then remove one piece. Ask the children to find the place where the pattern makes a “leap” and add a piece to correct it.
4) Take a leap of imagination: Tell the kids the beginning and end of a story, and ask them to imagine what comes in the middle. Encourage them to use words, drawings, and even puppet shows to express their big ideas!
Enjoy! For other calendar-themed activities and tips, join the conversation on our Facebook page!