Do you remember when you first learned about Leap Years? It was kind of mind-blowing for me as a kid: the idea that we have an extra day every four years, the possibility of someone being born on Leap Day and only getting a real birthday every four years, and (when I really got it) the thought that the way we measure time is so imprecise we have enough leftover hours to make a new day.
This year, that extra day falls on a weekend, which means it’s up to us parents to decide whether to explain astronomy and contemplate how time is relative, or to make this a day of silly frog-themed kids crafts and activities — because it’s Leap Day, get it? You might actually decide to do both, because children are pretty good at leaping back and forth between the trivial and meaningful, taking in the whole of human existence while playing games. That’s their job.
We’re taking this opportunity to help you with your job of entertaining and teaching them on this Leap Day. So, while your brain might be whirring along in bafflement as you realize that whoa, another four years just passed when you blinked, you can also be helping your little ones bake cupcakes or constructing a ball pit for them. You might even try writing out little time capsule notes together, so that they too will one day wonder at how much and how little changes in four trips around the sun. Enjoy!
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We’ll start with the easy symbolism here. Folding paper into frog shapes connects you to a time-honored art of origami but also keeps you firmly in the present as you make each little crease. Pick up some origami paper and follow these instructions at Easy Peasy and Fun.
‘It’s My Birthday … Finally!’ by Michelle Whitaker Winfrey
The mother of a Leap Day baby wrote this kids book. Those of us with less special birthdays can get a peek at what it’s like to have to wait so long for your own big day.
For those of trapped inside on a wintry February Saturday morning, hopscotch is not as simple as using a piece of chalk on the sidewalk. Crafty parents can try to make this indoor version, following the instructions from KidsActivitiesBlog.com.
Frog Beanbag Toss
Cornhole is another game we might associate with warmer days, but this is a great excuse to get out those tools and create an indoor version, too, using these simple instructions from Home Depot. What’s the connection? Green beanbags turn this into a leap-frog game!
Oreo Frog Cookies
Two great things about this frog recipe from Made to Be a Momma: 1) There are no frogs in it. 2) Oreos.
Green frosting, Twizzler mouths, and candy eyes turn this recipe into another Leap Day favorite. Made to Be a Momma has many talents, and frog treats are one of them.
Frog Pond Cookie Cups
Here’s one more sweet idea before you leave the kitchen. You top cookies baked into muffin molds with a pudding “pond,” gummy frogs, and lime-flavored Tootsie roles to create these hilarious little scenes, according to the recipe on FindingZest.com.
DIY Ball Pit
Once your kids are sugared up, you might want them to do some leaping of their own. This homemade ball pit from Lovely Indeed will certainly entertain the little ones.
Backyard Obstacle Course
If you live in a temperate climate (or global warming has made it so), you might already be able to do some of that jumping outside. This PVC pipe course from Molly Moo Crafts is just the thing to keep you all on your toes.
Leaping Potato Sack Race
This is a backyard or park favorite that doesn’t have to wait until school field days and company picnics. Oriental Trading Company sells frog-themed sacks, just to suit the occasion.
Then again, this might be the perfect occasion to get into the car and head out to a trampoline park, like SkyZone, or whatever is in your area. Don’t forget the extra socks!
A Verbal Time Capsule
When it’s time to chill out, you can return to contemplating the meaning of Leap Day. Even your little ones can help you fill out one of these “About Me” questionnaires, which will be fascinating to read in another four years. Download the printables from TherapyFunZone.net.
Verbal Time Capsule, Version 2
The fact that this version was originally published in 2012 might make you feel like time just took another leap. These printables from Sm are so nicely designed and laid out, we thought you wouldn’t mind crossing out the year.
Explain Leap Day With a Model
You and your kids can discuss how days and years work — and how old you’d be if you lived on Mars. You can either buy and build a model of the solar system, or make your own out of papier mache.
Let the Professionals Explain Leap Day at the Planetarium
Do you live near a planetarium? Someone there knows how this all works. At the very least you can watch a very pretty show and learn something entirely different about the universe.
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