With 2016 being a leap year, it’s important that you take advantage of all the learning opportunities Leap Day presents and mark the occasion with your students on February 29. If you’re looking for ideas on how you can celebrate in the classroom, we’ve come up with a great list of 10 fun things to do with your students on Leap Day:
1. Share Fun Facts About Leap Year
What makes this year so special? Why do we have a leap year every four years? Exploring these questions and sharing other fun facts about leap year is essential in helping children understand why there’s an extra day in February. Check out our Insights and Inspirations article “Teaching Children About Leap Year” for some great information and facts about leap year and tips on how you can incorporate leap year into your lesson plans.
2. Have a Leap Day Celebration
Throw a party for your students to help celebrate Leap Day! You can also choose a Leap Day theme to celebrate in the classroom (e.g., Leap into Reading or Leap into Spring).
3. Learn About Animals That Leap
Frogs are typically the animal most associated with leap year, but there are plenty of other animals that leap and jump! Lemurs, kangaroos, and grasshoppers are just a few of the leaping creatures you and your students can learn about on Leap Day. Watch a video or read a book about the animal(s) your class chooses to learn about, or have students do individual research on a chosen animal.
4. Play a Fun Game of Leapfrog
If the weather is nice on Leap Day, take children out to the playground and play a fun game of leapfrog. You can also play other games that require leaping or jumping.
5. See Who Can Leap the Farthest
Have several contests to see who can leap or jump the farthest. This is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your lesson plans while also celebrating Leap Day! Another idea is to document how far everyone jumps by recording it in a table. You can then have students make different graphs and charts to represent that data visually.
6. Think Back on the Last Four Years
Leap Day presents a wonderful opportunity to look back on the last four years with your students. What have they accomplished in the last four years? What are they most proud of? What event from the past four years stands out to them? Have each student write a short essay, or make a list of students’ verbal responses.
7. Make Predictions about the Year 2020
Once you’ve reflected on the last four years as a class, it’s important to look to the future. Have everyone make predictions about where they’ll be and what they’ll be doing in 2020 (the next leap year). Will they be starting middle school or high school? What sports and/or activities will they be participating in? What do students think the world will be like in 2020?
8. Have Everyone Write a Leap Day Letter
Another fun activity would be to have everyone write a Leap Day letter to their future self. They can write about their hopes for the future or include some motivational advice for themselves, but they won’t be able to open the letters again until the next Leap Day.
9. Make Foam Cup Frogs as a Class
We love this cute foam cup frog craft from Crafts by Amanda! Foam coffee cups, green pompoms, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, craft paint, black markers, red felt, scissors, white craft glue, and round sponge applicators are all you need for students to make this fun craft.
10. Try Your Hand at Lily Pad Math
No Time For Flash Cards has a great math activity for Leap Day! Use green foam circles, permanent markers, plastic frogs, and scissors to create lily pads with different math equations for children to solve.
We hope you have a great Leap Day with your students!