25 fun leap year activities to celebrate this year's bonus day

25 fun leap year activities to celebrate this year's bonus day

As most everyone knows, there are typically 365 days in a year. The exception, of course, is leap year, which adds a bonus day to the month of February once every four years.

If you've ever wondered why leap years have 366 days, it all boils down to simple math.

Let's break it down: The Gregorian calendar follows the earth's orbit around the sun, which takes 365.25 days. To keep things simple, that number is rounded down to 365. And the extra .25 or six hours? Well, after four years, those six hours add up to one whole day, which is added to the calendar in February.

That's why in a leap year, February has 29 days instead of the standard 28.

Since it only rolls around every four years, commemorate the occasion with one of these fun leap day activities for adults, kids and anyone else you plan to include in your February festivities.

From making a time capsule to trying your hand at leap-day inspired crafts with the kids, we've collected a variety of interesting ideas and activities to help celebrate the sporadic date.

Try one or two, or check all of them off of your to-do list. Either way, you're sure to make lasting memories this leap day and perhaps even start a new tradition for leap years to come.

Leap Day Activities for Adults and Kids

Create a time capsule

Since February 29 only rolls around once every four years, preserve the moment by putting together a time capsule. Add photos, letters, mementos and anything else that reminds you of this time in your life. Seal it up and open it on Feb. 29, 2028.

Meet up with far-away loved ones

Since you've got roughly four years to plan it, make a plan to gather with far-off friends and family every Feb. 29. Go someplace exotic or meet at a mutually-agreed upon destination or beloved restaurant. While together, start planning for the next one. Best of all, it's a date no one will forget.

Do something completely new

Get outside your comfort zone and try something you've never done before. Whether it's a new restaurant, hobby or simply visiting a place you've always wanted to go, use Feb. 29 as an excuse to expand your horizons.

Play leapfrog

Portrait of woman jumping over the top of man (Flashpop / Getty Images)
Portrait of woman jumping over the top of man (Flashpop / Getty Images)

Even though this one's for the kids, adults are more than welcome to get in on the fun of this childhood game. Never played? All you need is two (or more) participants. One person bends over and rests their hands on their knees, while the other presses down on their back and jumps over them. Repeat until everyone has had their fill.

Make plans for 2028

There's no time like leap day to make plans for, well, the next leap day. Settle on a meetup, activity or tradition and put it into place for the following leap year, which, in this case, lands on Feb. 29, 2028, giving you plenty of time to fine-tune your plans.

Learn more about leap years

Everyone knows about leap year existence, but not why it’s on the calendar. Learn all about why an extra day is added just once every four years. Hint: It has to do with the earth’s orbit around the sun. Find out more about why there’s a leap day right here.

Host a leap day party

Since leap year is such a rare occurrence, make it one for the history books by throwing a soirée for friends, family or anyone else you'd like to celebrate the occasion with. Hang streamers, make a cake, hand out 2024 party favors or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Play games

Use February's extra day as an excuse to break out your board games, cards or to play a few rounds of trivia. Whether you favor movie trivia or music is more your speed, it's a group activity everyone can participate in. Offer prizes or trinkets for winners of whichever game you settle on.

Arrange a photo shoot

However you decide to spend leap day, preserve the memories by snapping plenty of photos. In fact, why not plan a photo shoot in honor of the occasion? Gather your favorite people, go someplace scenic or special and snap away. Make it a tradition to return to your leap year place every four years to take new photos.

Shake up a leap day cocktail or mocktail

Toast to 2024’s extra day with a special cocktail or mocktail made in honor of the occasion. Give your favorite drink a new name or get creative and whip up something completely original for leap day. Save the recipe and serve it up again in 2028.

Reminisce about past leap years

Grandmother and grandchildren looking at photographs (Jose Luis Pelaez / Getty Images)
Grandmother and grandchildren looking at photographs (Jose Luis Pelaez / Getty Images)

Take a walk down memory lane and try and recall what you did on previous leap years. If you don't remember when they were, we're happy to help remind you. The past five have occurred in 2020, 2016, 2012, 2008 and 2004. That's 20 years! Take it one step further and see if you can remember songs, TV shows and other artifacts from each of the leap years.

Watch the sunset

If it's been a while since you mindfully took in a sunset, there's no better time than leap day to set aside an hour to view the sun going down in all its pre-spring splendor. Given it's the only one you're going to witness on Feb. 29 until 2028, make it special by popping some bubbly or toast the occasion with a mocktail.

Eat out

Skip cooking this leap year and go out to eat instead. Enjoy a special leap-day themed breakfast, lunch or dinner at your favorite restaurant or try someplace new. Who knows? Maybe it'll become a tradition to return to that eatery in years to come.

Make crafts

Leap Day Activities (Getty Images)
Leap Day Activities (Getty Images)

Plan a craft or two with the kids or get the whole family involved. Paint, draw or do a leap year themed project like making frogs or calendars to commemorate 2024's bonus day. Save them to display the next time Feb. 29 occurs.

Cook a special meal

Take advantage of the extra calendar day by trying a fancy new recipe or indulging in a special meal. After all, leap day only comes but once every four years, so treat it like the special occasion that it is. Break out the good dishes, light some candles, serve dessert, get dressed up or engage in any other celebratory tradition that's meaningful to you.

Host a dinner party

Leap day lands on a Thursday in 2024, which means it's pretty darn close to the weekend. Get a head start on celebrating by hosting a Feb. 29 dinner party for family, friends, loved ones or anyone else you'd like to mark the occasion with.

Write a letter to yourself

Future you will love getting a letter from 2024 you. Sit down and compose a letter that details your life as it looks right now. Include current favorites like TV shows, movies, music, food and anything else that captures the moment, including goals for where you'd like to see yourself four years from now. Seal it up, then don't open it until Feb. 29, 2028.

Watch a leap day movie

Wondering if there's a leap-year inspired movie to watch in honor of Feb. 29? You're in luck: the 2010 romantic comedy, fittingly titled "Leap Year", stars Amy Adams as a woman who goes to great lengths to get a marriage proposal on, you guessed it, leap day. Set in Dublin, Ireland, this movie will help get you into the spirit for the next holiday: St. Patrick's Day.

Get outside

Leap Day Activities (Getty Images)
Leap Day Activities (Getty Images)

Whether you plan to hike, ski, play pickleball or leisurely stroll, plan an outdoor activity in honor of leap day. Get the whole family involved or do a solo activity to make the most of the day.

Make leap day t-shirts

Celebrate leap year by making on-theme t-shirts for you, the kids, your friends, family and anyone else in your life. Make it a group craft project or make t-shirts ahead of time and deliver them on Feb. 29 so everyone can get into the spirit. Better yet, you'll have your very own souvenir to commemorate this once-in-every-four-year event.

Make a leap day playlist

Collect your favorite songs of the moment in a leap-year playlist that serves as a fun compilation of tunes you love, as well as a music time capsule that you can listen to down the road to remember what your preferences were. Or, instead, make a playlist of songs that use the word “leap,” mention time, or anything else that feels leap day adjacent.

Host a scavenger hunt

Who doesn't love a scavenger hunt? Plan ahead and pick up small trinkets or other fun leap-day inspired mementos, then strategically hide them for friends or family to find. Print off clues or directions on where to find said treasures or allow players discover them on their own.

Get organized

Leap Day Activities (The Good Brigade / Getty Images)
Leap Day Activities (The Good Brigade / Getty Images)

If you've been wishing for just one extra day to help accomplish all the tasks on your to-do list, well, voilà, today is the day. Use February's bonus day to catch up on closet purging, organizing cabinets or any other chore you've been putting off.

Make a scrapbook

Whether you do this as a solo project or ask friends and family to join in, collect favorite items, memories and photos from 2024 and put them together in a scrapbook. Stow it away until 2028, before taking it back out to remember days gone by.

Prepare for spring

Use the very last day of February to prepare for spring. Start packing up those winter clothes and dig out the shorts because the equinox occurs just ten days later on March 19, which means sunshine and warmer weather aren't far behind. If you're up for it, dive into some spring cleaning in anticipation of the season change.

Volunteer or extend a kindness

Set aside leap day as a day to volunteer or extend a kindness to a loved one or neighbor. Sign up for a shift at a local food bank or animal rescue, or simply do a favor for a friend. Other ways to give include making care packages for military service members or offering to help someone in need.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com