2016 is a leap year. Yes, it means this very month, February is going to have 29 days this year.
I casually mentioned this to my 5 years old daughter and then the flood gates of questions opened as expected! It was not easy explaining it to a young child who still only knows the names of the months.
I researched about it on internet and thought of explaining it in a very basic way. She can learn about the technicalities as she grows.
What is a leap year?
How I introduced number of days to a 5 years old?
My daughter loves calendars. She loves playing with them. So, first of all, we collected a few calendars. She has also started reading simple words, so we started with observing calendar months and the number of days each month has.
I kept calendars of 2015 and 2016 together and then we started comparing them.
She herself pointed out that the new calendar has 29 days in February while old calendar has 28.
“WHYYY? “ was the expected reaction and rightly so.
I simply told her that the month of February leaps forward like a frog so it goes a day longer that’s why we call it a leap year.
I am planning to do some activities to strengthen the concept of leap year.
Activites for Leap Year
To explain leaping, we found some activities on internet and found this leaping frog, which is so much fun.
Leaping From Origami
I am planning to use plenty of those pamphlets which come with newspaper everyday and make these leaping frogs. What a fun way to understand leaping!!
Color a leaping Kangaroo
Books to Read:
There are also some excellent and entertaining books on the subject for young children. Both these books are fun reads to introduce the concept of Leap Year.
It’s My birthday Finally!
It’s My Birthday Finally! A Leap Year Story 2nd Edition
Leopold’s Long Awaited Leap Year Birthday
Explaining Leap Year to Older kids
For older kids, you may actually explain why we have an extra day in a leap year.
A leap year occurs every 4 years other than century years. Century years are leap years if they are divisible by 400, but not others. A leap year has 366 days, while other years have 365 days. The extra day is included in the month of February making it 29 days in place of 28 days.
Why Do We Have Leap Years?
Children know that the Earth revolves around the Sun. 1 year is the time the Earth takes to complete one revolution around the Sun.
In exact terms, It takes the Earth about 365 1/4 days to make one entire orbit around the sun (a day is one rotation around the Earth’s axis).
Since it is not possible to add a quarter of a day to each year, that quarter keeps getting accumulated, thus making one whole day at the end of four years. By adding one extra day about every 4 years, the Earth is in the same point of its orbit at the same time of the calendar year each year.
We found this really nice video to explain Leap year to kids!!
Hope this will help you guys in explaining about leap year to your children. Do let us know any other ideas that you have used!!
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