Celebrate Leap Day 2024 with your class! We only have a leap year every four years, so use this opportunity to teach your students about this fun day. Use these activities with your class on February 29th!
What is a Leap Year?
Every 4 years the month of February has one extra day – February 29th which is Leap Day. A calendar year is 365 days because that’s how long it takes for the Earth to orbit around the sun. But it actually takes slightly longer than 365 days. The exact length of time is 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 56 seconds. So, what happens to these extra hours? Every 4 years we add a day to the calendar to count for the nearly 6 hours. That’s why we have a Leap Day!
If we ignored those additional 6 hours, eventually the seasons wouldn’t match up with the dates on the calendar. For example, you would celebrate New Year’s Eve in 90 degree weather or you’d spend Memorial Day snowed in. It would take a long time for that to happen, but eventually the seasons would be off. Adding one extra day solves this problem!
Celebrating Leap Day in the Classroom
If you happen to have a student with a leap day birthday in your classroom, make sure you incorporate their birthday into the celebration! I’ve had a student with a February 29th birthday and it’s so fun to celebrate their birthday on the true date!
A leap day is a great way to teach about calendars! This is a skill that little ones are still learning, so kindergarten, first, and second grades are a great age to teach about calendars. Fill out a calendar for the month of February together. Point out February 29th and what day that it falls on. Discuss with your students how many days February has on a non-leap year.
It’s also fun to make leap year predictions with your students. Ask them to make a prediction or goal for the next leap day. This year, you and your students could make predictions for the year 2028 when we will have the next leap day.
Because leap years have an extra day, you can talk with your students about something they would want to have extra and something they would not want to have extra.
Leap Day Read Alouds
There are some great books to help you teach about leap day! Read some of these books with your students to help them understand why we have leap years. You can find more February books here!
Leopold’s Long Awaited Leap Year Birthday by Dawn Desjardins
It’s My Birthday…Finally! A Leap Year Story by Michelle Whitaker Winfrey
Leap Year Writing
After learning about leap years, students can write about what they’ve learned! Create a list of all the facts you’ve discussed and students can record them like the leap day frog below. These cute frogs look great on a bulletin board display!
Leap Day Headbands
Finish the day by decorating headbands! Students can color their headband and wear it home to celebrate leap day. You can find this freebie headband in my free library!
Want more activities to celebrate leap years? Check out this Leap Day Unit!
It includes the activities pictured above plus two sets of task cards to review leap day facts and get students moving, number design pages to spark creativity, and an interactive flip book to learn about leap years.
I hope these ideas help you in your classroom. Have a great time celebrating this fun day with your students!
Hi, I’m Libby!
I’m so happy you’re here! I love all things first grade – the curriculum, the content, and the sweet kiddos. I’m passionate about helping K-2 teachers save time in the classroom with fresh ideas and fun, engaging resources.