February 29, 2024 is Leap Day, which only comes once every 4 years! Why? Because our clocks and calendars don’t exactly match the time Earth takes to go around the Sun. Earth ends up about 6 hours behind its spot in space 1 year earlier. That’s 1/4 of a day, so every 4th year we add 1 Leap Day. The thing is, we’re not exactly 6 hours off, so every 100 years we don’t add the leap day…but then every 400 years we have to skip that rule and add it! Over thousands of years, it all works out.

*Wee ones:* How old will you be on the next leap day? Count up by 4 years!

*Little kids:* If February has 29 days this year and 1 day less last year, how many days did it have last year? *Bonus:* How many leap days have you lived through? Whether your age is a multiple of 4 or not, you have to do a little trick!

*Big kids:* How many leap days since your mom/dad/some other favorite older person was born? *Bonus:* Except for non-multiple-of-400 multiples of 100, leap years are the years divisible by 4. Will the year 2030 be a leap year? (Hint if needed: Is 2000 divisible by 4? And if so, can you jump in sets of 4 to get to 30?)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* Different for everyone…count 4 more than your age on Leap Day!

*Little kids:* 28 days. *Bonus:* Different for everyone…If your age is not divisible by 4 (can’t cut it in half twice and get a whole number), find the biggest multiple of 4 less than your age and divide by 4, to get the full sets of 4 years you’ve lived start to finish, then add 1 for today. If you ARE a multiple of 4 today, divide by 4 (the answer includes today), but then add 1 — because you lived on Leap Day when you were 0 years old, too!

*Big kids:* Different for everyone…use the same steps above as you did for your own age. *Bonus: *2030 won’t be leap year, because 2000 is a multiple of 4 (4 x 500), and then 30 adds 7 1/2 sets of 4.