February is full of special days. Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents Day. Add in Fat Tuesday (Feb. 25) and Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26), and the month fills up pretty fast. This year add in Leap Day.
Leap Day only comes once every four years. This year Leap Day will be celebrated on a Saturday. With kids out of school, why not plan something fun to celebrate this unique day?
Create a mini time capsule
Collect items to put in small plastic bin to be opened by your children on the next day, which is Leap Day, Feb. 29, 2024. Have your children write letters to themselves that they can open then.
Put a copy of The Signal newspaper from this year’s Leap Day into the bin, as well as favorite magazines, including this magazine. Add a list of your current favorite books, television shows, films and music.
Write a note that explains what you do on a regular day. This can include what time you get to school, your favorite subject, the name of your teacher, the names of your friends and more about your day.
Take a photo of you and your family and friends on Leap Day, and put that in the capsule. Lastly, write a list of 10 goals you want to accomplish in the next four years. They can be small accomplishments, such as promising to make your bed every day or feeding the family dog daily. Seal up the bin with mailing tape and write “Do Not Open Until Feb. 29, 2024” on the top of the bin. Store the bin in a closet for four years.
Play leap frog
Keep the kids busy and have them burn off excess energy by playing Leap Frog. To keep it interesting have the kids compete to see who can “leap” the longest in time and distance.
Frog’s Eye Salad
A favorite dessert salad in Utah, this peculiarly named salad celebrates the “frog” theme of “Leap Day.”
1-1/2 cups dried acini de pepe pasta, (you can substitute orzo, any small soup pasta or Israeli-style cous-cous).
1 (20 oz.) can of pineapple chunks in juice
3 Tbsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges
2 cups mini marshmallows
Cook pasta according to directions, drain and rinse in cold water. Strain pineapple juice over pasta and mix. Set pineapple aside.
Combine cornstarch, salt and sugar in a saucepan. Slowly add milk over medium heat, stir constantly to dissolve sugar. Then, whisk in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
Stir constantly until mixture forms a thick pudding. Remove from heat and place in refrigerator to cool for about an hour. (If pressed for time substitute instant vanilla pudding instead of making your own.)
Pour cooled pudding into bowl with pasta mixture, stir well. Just before serving mix in pineapple chunks, mandarin oranges and marshmallows. Serve chilled.
Plant a Leap Year tree
Go to a nursery and purchase a bare root or container tree to plant this Leap Year. Not only will it be easy to remember how old your “special” tree is, this is a good time of year for tree planting. You can choose from any number of available trees. Consider purchasing a fruit tree.
Showing children where food comes from and encouraging them to eat the fruit from the tree, gives a child a personal connection to “good” food. Encourage your children to take care of the tree. Learn about how much water and fertilizer it needs. Give your children “ownership” of the tree. Each year, take a photo of the children with the tree to create a special memory.
Leap Day facts
People born on Leap Day are called “Leapers” or “Leaplings” and can celebrate their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1, during non-Leap Day years.
The twin cities of Anthony, Texas, and Anthony, New Mexico, are the self-proclaimed Leap Year Capital of the World.
Famous Leap Year (not Leap Day) events: George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876), the Titanic sank (1912), Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity (1752) and gold was discovered in California (1848).
In the Chinese calendar, a leap year has 13 months. Every three years or so, a leap month is added, and its name is the same as the previous lunar month.
The Jewish calendar also has 13 months in a leap year, which has 383, 384 or 385 days. In the Jewish leap year, the extra month called Adar I is believed to be a lucky month.