29 Activities to Do with Kids on Leap Day that Require Little to No Planning

This following is a post by Homeschool Classroom founder and editor Angie.

Conventional blogging wisdom is to post about events weeks ahead of time.  But, here I am on February 28th with ideas for Leap Day.  So, in the spirit of it being at the last minute, these will all be things you can do on the spur of the moment (or with only a little planning).

29 Things to Do with Your Kids on Leap Day

1. Cancel school.  This day only comes once every four years.

2. Have a totally normal school day.  Hey — it’s just a Wednesday.  So what if February 29th only comes once every four years?

3. Spend the day reading, whether aloud to the kids or the kids on their own.  Or, mix it up and do some of both.

4. Let the kids choose all of the school activities for the day.  Promise you’ll let them do it each Leap Day as a new tradition.  (See if any of you remember that in four years or not.)

5. Challenge 29 for Leap Day.

6. Free Leap Day Challenge

7. Take a field trip to a favorite location.

8. Or, since Leap Day rarely happens, take the day as an opportunity to go on a field trip to somewhere you have never been before.

9. Play leap frog in the backyard (or in the house, if it’s too cold).

10. Go to the movies during the middle of the day.  (When we did this a few weeks ago, we were the only ones in the theater at Beauty and the Beast in 3D.  That’s always fun when that happens!)

11. Call or Skype with relatives or friends that you rarely see.

12. Have a special lunch or dinner out, or maybe even just dessert (like ice cream).

13. Set up your own modified long jump event.

14. Have you and your kids pretend to be different types of animals that get around by jumping – frogs, kangaroos, bunnies.  Ask the kids for animal ideas.

15. Do a Leap Day Obstacle Course.

16. Work on brief research projects about animals that leap, jump, or pounce.

17. Research and read about why we have February 29th only once every four years.  Also, find out more information about how calendars other than the Gregorian calendar deal with this need to add in extra time.  (Here is one source for some interesting information on Leap Years.)

18. See if you can do any volunteering for a presidential campaign.  That’s another thing that only comes once every four years!

19. Have a dance party (even if it only lasts a few minutes).

20. Bake together.  Even better – take some of your tasty creations to family, friends, or neighbors (especially elderly neighbors that probably don’t do much baking for themselves anymore).

21. Make a trail mix that is made up of 29 pieces of various items like Cheerios, raisins, and so on.  (Unless you’re adding in lots and lots of different ingredients, these will likely be individual snack mixes.  So, let everyone make their own special mixes.)

22. Take guesses on what item in your house is closest to 29 inches.  The one who guesses correctly can be the Leap Day King or Queen.

23. Have your children write a letter (or have them dictate it to you) to themselves to be opened on Leap Day 2016.  Who do they think they’ll be?  What are their hopes and goals?  (Consider writing one of these to yourself as well.)  Consider adding in a photograph of the child from February 29, 2012.

24. Have a board game day.  (Or spend the day creating your own board game.)

25. If you’re normally the one who makes lunch in your house, have the kids make lunch instead.

26. Jump Rope (get fancy with Double Dutch)

27.  Use your extra day to serve others through community service.

28. Go to church or some type of worship service.  If this isn’t available, spend some time in prayer with your children.

29. Go to the dentist.  Oh wait — that’s probably just on my calendar, huh?

Do you have any other ideas for Leap Day activities?

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Angie writes about her life as a nerdy, struggling homemaker at Many Little Blessings.  She is the founder and editor of The Homeschool Classroom and Catholic Mothers Online.  Angie is also an artist and a designer.

photo credit – mountain vaulter, cupcakes


Comments

  1. Sonja says

    Because stores are now selling easter decor, buy your kids bunny ears, because it is a leaping animal.

  2. says

    We’re doing a few of those: taking the day (well, actually, it turned out to be the whole week) off, going out to a special lunch with Dad (since he took off the first half of the week, too) and going to a movie. Can’t wait! It’s going to be a fun family day!

  3. Erin says

    This is exactly why “regular” people don’t take homeschooling seriously. While you’re off doing the other 28 activities, the rest of America’s children will be doing #2…….like they do EVERY day.

    • says

      I can’t help but admit that I’m a little perplexed by your comment. While two of the suggestions probably include not having school (cancelling school and going to a movie), so then it wouldn’t count as a school day just like when “regular” people have a day off school (for holidays, weekends, etc.), as someone with a bachelors and masters degree in education (and years of teaching in a public school), I feel very confident in saying that I would have been comfortable doing any of them with a classroom of children. Also, having had my children in public school, I know that these are the types of things that happen. (Go to any elementary school on the 100th day of school to see all of these types of activities.)

      I looked back through the list, and these are the types of activities I found — math, reading, composition, physical education, and home economics. There are field trips listed as well, but I can’t really say what subject matter those are without knowing where a person is going.

      If every classroom experience I’ve had has been the exception to the rule, rather than the rule, and all of those “regular” kids across America sit at desks with textbooks and worksheets for 6 – 8 hours each day with no other way of learning, then I’ve never been so glad to not be normal.

    • says

      My daughters went to “regular” school for 4 and 5 years respectively, and there were MANY days during the year that they dropped their “normal” activities to celebrate a real or made up holiday. By this reasoning, homeschoolers shouldn’t take “regular” schooling seriously either.

      The fact is, of course, if they eventually learn what they need to know, who cares how each moment of every day is spent? Happy children learn faster!

    • says

      Your public schooled kids go to school EVERY DAY? I am not aware of any public schools that are open every day!

      Unlike public schooled kids, our kids CAN BE in school every day!

      Homeschooling families (unlike public schools) CAN and often DO work through weekends…leaving them free to take days off during the week if they so choose.

      We can also (if we choose) work through the summer. Our school schedules are our own.

      Erin, YOU are stuck inside the M-F, Sept-June school schedule box. WE are not.

      Think OUTSIDE of the box! :-)

  4. Kate says

    Hmmmm I’m a “regular” person, take homeschooling seriously, and know that public schools do fun activities on leap day… Just as my homeschool will be doing. :)
    Thanks for the ideas!

  5. Erin says

    No, Christina, I don’t think homeschoolers are lucky. Nor do I think the teachers who get these socially inept children in their classrooms years later after homeschooling hasn’t worked out are lucky either.

    Now onto Angie. I know what public schools look like on the 100th Day of School, and every other day. I have been a public school teacher for years. I also know what it looks like today, Leap Day; every other day. I also have a bachelor’s and a double-master’s degree in education, as well as an administration certification. And if you were seriously comfortable doing the following activities in your public school classroom: 1,4,7,8,9,10,11,12,18,20,24,27,28 & 29, than no wonder you moved to homeschooling……you were probably fired.

    For those of you that said the above-mentioned acitvities were regulars in your old public schools, I’d LOVE to know what school districts these were because many of them are actually breaking the law if they occur during a public school day.

    • says

      Why do you need to resort to personal attacks to support your point? Differences of opinion are fine on this site, personal attacks are not.

      My only two notes other than that in regard to your comment:

      1. I left teaching prior to homeschooling. Upon the birth of a child with a heart condition, I needed to be home. I was actually under contract when I needed to leave for that reason. I’m sure that you’ll thank your lucky stars for all of the poor school children that were saved from having me as a teacher because of my sick child.

      2. Numbers seven and eight are not allowed in public schools? Since when do classes not take field trips anymore?

    • says

      My “Socially inept” son, moved over to a public High School, never scoring below a proficient score on any standardized test placed before him. He had one memorable classroom discussion (with a grizzled old teacher whom I HAD in the same school) about homeschooling, where my son informed him he had never been a public school classroom before, he had been homeschooled up until that point.

      My crusty old ad. ac. English teacher stood open mouthed and dumbfounded. He had had my son in his class for most of a year, and had NO IDEA my son had EVER been homeschooled. Much less for his entire LIFE!

      My oldest is in college now, midway to completion on an education degree. He has been asked by more than one college instructor if they could keep papers of his, as an example to future students on how to do this assignment properly.

      He also holds 2 jobs, at the same time. I’ll let him know how socially inept he is supposed to be. He will find that amusing.

  6. Erin says

    And I also never said that public schools don’t do fun activities. Nor did I say that we use textbooks and worksheets all day to teach. That would NEVER happen in my classroom. We try to make school as fun as possible for our students, but WHILE THEY ARE STILL LEARNING. Taking the day, or the week off, or going to the movies, worship sites, etc., is not educating children. You can fool yourself into thinking that it is, but deep down you know the truth.

  7. Marsha says

    I guess I’m confused why someone would come to a website dedicated to homeschooling and proceed to make disparaging, rude comments. Not exactly a good way to get others to see your viewpoint.

    Erin, why are you so opposed to any method of education but your own? Not all children are alike and not all learn in the same way. Forcing children into same-age classrooms learning the exact same things at the exact same time hasn’t been a resounding success. Before criticizing different methods of education, make sure your own produces stellar results. Then maybe we’ll take public education seriously.

    • Christina says

      I’m with you, Marsha. I think that person stumbled here by accident, while looking for something else. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume she/he did not purposely come here to attack. :)

  8. Erin says

    I wasn’t being attackive, I was being honest. Sometimes the truth is tough to hear.

    I’m sorry to hear that you have a sick child. You are fortunate that you are financially able to step away from your career to give your child the attention and care he/she deserves. The women and men that I teach with have children too. We have dealt with deaths of a children, murder of a child, sick kids, dying parents, etc, etc.. We are human beings too who face the challenges that other people face. But we know that the children in our classrooms need us almost as much as our own children. So we leave our own children, come back here every day, make BIG strides with very LITTLE resources, and occassionally, when we don’t have it in us to come up with a creative activity for Leap Day because maybe our own child was up sick all night, we’d like to turn to the internet and get some reasonable activities.

    And we do go on field trips. One per year because of budget cuts. They are scheduled and planned months and months in advance, and are educational in some way. Never, ever, ever, ever would a field trip be permitted or approved for Leap Day.

    • says

      Erin – I will agree with you on something — I was very blessed to be able to have the financial means to stay home when a medical need came up. We have gone without a lot of things because of those choices, but I am well aware that some people can’t make that choice.

      And, I’m afraid that you misunderstood one thing that I thought was implied in the post. I wasn’t suggesting that people take a Leap Day themed field trip. I simply meant that it would be a good day for scheduling a field trip of educational value.

  9. Erin says

    Marsha, while children are grouped by their age, public schools teaching and learning the same exact things at the exact same times hasn’t happened since the 90’s. We meet the needs of all of our students, it’s the law. And our test scores, at least the ones in my school district, prove it.

    And I didn’t visit this site knowing that it was a homeschooling site. Unfortunately, I was looking for something for my classroom and was led here.

    • Marsha says

      The website’s name is The Homeschool Classroom. If you didn’t find what you were looking for, you could have backed away graciously and refrained from insulting some very dedicated, qualified, successful homeschooling parents. But you didn’t.

      I’m happy that your district has decent test scores. That isn’t true in every school district, sadly. Two schools in my district were “taken over” by the state recently. Should I subject my children to a sub-par education or should I take their eduction in my own hands so they can thrive and pursue their talents and interests? And if each grade isn’t expected to learn the same thing, why are standardized tests administered each year with funding tied to results? There are clearly goals to be met at certain grade levels. If that isn’t cookie cutter education, I don’t know what is.

      See, I could make a judgment about all school districts based on the ones in my district. I could paint every school with the same broad brush of failure, as you have done with your comments about socialization and methods of education. I hope you will at least consider how insulting some of your comments have been.

      I’m glad my field trips aren’t based on funding from agencies that don’t know my children and their needs. I’m glad I can encourage my children’s interest in art and science by taking them to museums, science centers, aquariums, state parks, etc. whenever I choose. My hands aren’t tied by faceless bureaucrats who think they know how to educate my child better than I do. I’ll take homeschooling over the current public education system any day of the week. And my kids will be the better for it.

  10. Dawn says

    thanks for the ideas!
    One has to wonder why Erin has so much time on her hands to come to a homeschooling blog to trash homeschoolers. Jealousy, perhaps? Insecurity in how much time she spends with her own family? Well, i will pray for your happiness. My family is studying Marie Curie today, but we took a few days off last week. Oh, and we went on a cruise for 10 days last oct and surprisingly, not one person remarked at how maladjusted my children are. But with Erin’s advise, i will be sure to beat my kids up for their lunch money at least twice this week.

  11. Christina says

    Thanks for all the ideas! When we looked at the calendar yesterday and saw that today was Leap Day, my kids (kindergarten & preschool) asked what we do to celebrate and I didn’t have an answer because I never remember celebrating this unique day. So this morning after breakfast they decided we should play games to celebrate Leap Day. What fun we had!

  12. Jen ~ Gricefully Homeschooling says

    Am I the only one stuck on the “socially inept children” comment?

    Maybe that has happened to you Erin, respectfully as a teacher of many, many students over your career. But I tell you as a mother, my kids were the ones that were punished for “socializing” in school. My kids have NO problem with socialization, as they are far from socially inept! I would not doubt {not attacking just making an educated guess} that you too discipline your students for “socializing” during school time. And I’ve also seen where kids were told to be quiet during lunch. How does one become non-socially inept if they can’t socialize? Just curious.

    When I write I do not attack those who chose and still choose to educate their children in the public school or even private school system. Nor do I attack teachers. Many of my good friends do exactly what you do, teach inside a school. One of my good friends even does it year-round, because she works in a pilot {public} school that is trying this out. They may even have had today off. =) After knowing my children, and the issues they had inside of a school and with their blessing, I pulled my kids out to home school. They knew NOT ALL kids fit into the public school {and private school} mold. I think if you were honest with yourself, you would have to agree with that also.

    Lastly, please don’t judge our home schooling choices. Because maybe, just maybe, if you’d walked a mile in our shoes, you’d make the same choices. Never know! =)

    Thank you! And I will be praying God enlightens you on this subject!

  13. Kristina says

    It isn’t a matter of taking public or homeschool seriously. Homeschooling allows for more freedom-such as the above mentioned activities. We are working one on one with our kids, verses the 20-30 kids in a regular classroom. So that allows us to play catch up, or slow down, or just take a break because we are all getting burnt out on working hard-something public/private schools aren’t able to do. So this post was FOR HOME schoolers who would just like some creative things to add to their day because we are able to be so flexible. But everyone can agree to disagree and move on.

  14. Paula says

    I just have one question. Is attackive a word? I can’t for the life of me find it in the dictionary.

  15. Dawn says

    Jen, I agree. We go on field trips at least twice a month. My children interact with all ages and adults, and they do not discriminate against possible friends simply because they are a year younger, or even two or three. They are respectful to adults. They volunteer at church. And yet they are unsocialized vs the kids who interact with only their own age and go on field trips once a year? Dear Erin, Your attacks are without merit and give a hint into the mindset that only those who have learned to micro-manage other people’s children are worthy to teach. Teaching is about inspiring, people educate themselves. Throwing a marshmallow
    At someone’s mouth and calling it eating is the same as teaching without a willing participant. Thanks be to God, I have made the sacrifices and commitment to educate my children, and it is amazingly rewarding every bit of hard work.

  16. Kate says

    Thanks for the ideas! I love, Love, LOVE #23 so now I am scouring the web for an interest inventory that will work for a three-year-old and still be interesting and fun when he is 7, 11, and 15! ;-)

    Just to let you know the links for # 5 & 6 won’t work for me….but maybe that is just my computer or the website being funky. I really want to see what they are though! LOL

    Erin, I hear you. I was a third grade teacher for three years. I know it’s hard. I hear your defensiveness. Please don’t think that the sheer act of homeschooling diminishes the work and sacrifice that you put into teaching each day. I’m sure you are doing a wonderful job being a great teacher.

    HS Moms, I hear you. I was homeschooled K-12 and have been parenting/homeschooling for 3 1/2 years now. I know it’s hard. I hear your defensiveness. Please don’t think that others’ reactions to homeschooling diminish the work and sacrifice that you put into teaching each day. I’m sure you are doing wonderful jobs being great teachers.

  17. Julie Kelton says

    Erin, I have a degree in education and my kids attend public school- because it’s the right choice for THEM. I found this site while looking for some LEAP DAY fun. The writer never suggested that homeschoolers take EVERY day off. Taking 1 day off every 4 years, or even every holiday/extra special day, cannot hinder students who get their work done on schedule. Most of the people I know who homeschool are actually ahead of schedule, doing up to two years of work each year. If your words come from a concern for children, please consider stating your case in a kinder manner. People listen better when they don’t feel insulted.

  18. Misty says

    I love these ideas! I love this site! I am a homeschooling mom and I can’t not tell you how blessed I feel to be able to be a part of my children’s education. To the negative people, I don’t know your story therefore I can not judge why you are so angry or intent on upsetting other people. Please know that today you are loved. I am praying for you and sending kind thoughts your way. I hope that one day you will be able to see and understand that everyone’s journey is their own. It is not for you to judge or even try to understand. Please remember, once your words are said and actions done, they become your cross to bare.
    “The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person’s entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself.” James 3:6

  19. Jean says

    I’m a little disappointed by Erin’s comments. She has attacked every idea on this list. I’m not sure which district she lives in, but in our district kids go on field trips. They play games like board games and leap frog. Erin I think you are confused on how much flexibility homeschoolers have. Just because we might take the day off doesn’t mean it’s a lost day. We can have school on the weekends or even in the summer. You on the other hand do have to keep to the schedule the board has preapproved for you. You have been commenting on this site from 9:00am to 11:30ish. What have your students been doing while you have been trashing homeschool??
    My children attended a public school for the first years in elementary. They came home and knew more about eBay than they knew about their lessons. Their teachers favorite thing to do on the Internet. They had movie days in class, and much to my surprise they were movies I would have never let them watch. Every year the school took the whole school on a field trip. Not to a museum or other educational arena, but to the movie theater. So I never feel guilty about what we do in our homeschool. My children are teens know. For valentines day our local High School had a dance during school hours. So if your school is so strict that you would never do anything on this list. Than I am so thankful my kids aren’t “regular kids”. And by the way it’s this kind of narrow thinking that says just because you are different you are “socially inept”. My kids are different than SOME “regular kids” not all but some. But “socially inept” never. They can socialize with little kids all the way up to the elderly. They can enter a nursing home with no fear and wheel a resident to the dining hall and carry a conversation with them. Let’s face it once we leave school we are no longer separated by age groups.

  20. Dia says

    Angie,
    I just wanted to send out a big thank you for this list…it completely slipped my mind to find a way to recognize what Leap Day means for my kids. We only did one of the things on your list, which was writing a letter to themselves. All three of them were excited to look forward to how different they may be by the the next Leap Day…especially the changes brought about by the ages they will be by then. We were particularly surprised to realize that my oldest will be just about to graduate from high school and that he will be able to vote in the election that year…wow! Their letters are safely tucked away until we open them four years from now.
    Anyway, thank you again for this great site, and this list of ideas to spark some fun in this special day.
    I have also watched the list of comments grow today, and many great points have been made in reference to homeschooling. I would just like to add that it reminds me of how very grateful our family is to have the choice to homeschool, rather than have our children be surrounded by such narrow mindedness every day. As someone said, we are all on our own journey, and there is no one right way. Perhaps by the next Leap Day that notion will have a better foothold in our society…here’s to hoping!

  21. says

    I’m sorry there have been so many sad things written about how someone could or shouldn’t do something fun on leap day. It only comes once every four years. Therefore I thought it should be treated as special.

    I’d like to share what we did and it was educational. We talked about Leap Year and why we have it and how it works. Then we had “leaping” activities. You can read about them on my blog at http://family6-time.blogspot.com/2012/02/leaping-today.html

Trackbacks

  1. […] HS Classroom.net has a fantastic list of 29 easy things you and your family can do for Leap Day, that require little to no planning! When you have twins, this can be a lifesaver! From skipping school, to making board games, there are tons of extra special things to do on this extra special day, but these in particular sparked our interest: Take guesses on what item in your house is closest to 29 inches.  The one who guesses correctly can be the Leap Day King or Queen. […]

  2. […] HS Classroom.net has a fantastic list of 29 easy things you and your family can do for Leap Day, that require little to no planning! When you have twins, this can be a lifesaver! From skipping school, to making board games, there are tons of extra special things to do on this extra special day, but these in particular sparked our interest: Take guesses on what item in your house is closest to 29 inches.  The one who guesses correctly can be the Leap Day King or Queen. […]