How to Explain Leap Year to a Kid

My youngest brother was born on February 29th. Given 2012 is a Leap Year, my kids are fascinated with the fact their Uncle is “only 9-years old.” Technically, he’s really 36, but who’s counting :-)

The concept of Leap Year is confusing. In explaining why we have Leap Year to my Kindergartener, he quizzically asked, “So…the reason he [meaning his Uncle] is 9-years old, but looks older than most 9-year old’s is that when he was born, he was really 10?”

I love how children fill in the gaps by making up and testing assumptions. Though I wasn’t quite sure about the soundness of the reasoning (LOL!), my Kindergartener was on the right track when thinking about making up time.  I wondered how to simply describe Leap Year. Here’s where I’ve landed.

A calendar year has 365 days

English: Calendar

While, a solar year, or the length of time it takes the Earth to travel around the sun, is 365-1/4 days

NASA exploration of sun earth magnetism

 

Every four years, one extra day is added into the calendar year to catch up to the solar year  (i.e 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 = 1)

A pie-chart showing fourths split into pieces

I’m going to try this description with my Kindergartener tonight. Wish me luck.

 

 

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One Response to How to Explain Leap Year to a Kid

  1. Pingback: Wise Men Talk When They Have Something to Say… « A Little Tour in Yellow

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