Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Leap Day

If you haven't figured it out yet, I have a thing for obscure, under-celebrated holidays, and Leap Day is no exception. Even as an adult (who just celebrated her 8th Leap Day, by the way), I still find it sort of exciting when February 29th rolls around.

As a kid, I read an article in American Girl Magazine that showed pictures of different girls born on February 29th. For each girl, it would list her name, her age (say, 12-years-old), and then state that she was just celebrating her third birthday. Or 8-years-old and just celebrating her second birthday. It boggled my mind. It was SO COOL. I was oddly jealous and insanely fascinated.

Anyway, yesterday's program was for pre-schoolers. And, unfortunately, the concept of Leap Day was completely over their heads. I was able to explain that the date, February 29th, happens only once every four years so it's a special day, but that's about where the explanation ended. So to celebrate Leap Day, I went for the frog angle instead. Because frogs leap!

While, a program about frogs for pre-schoolers may not be quite as impactful as that American Girl Magazine article was for little me, I still think it's fun (and possibly important?) to acknowledge this special day.

So. Leap Day!

I started with a little storytime. First I read The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Keith Faulkner, then we sang Five Green & Speckled Frogs (with the monkey mitt) and last, I read Big Frog Can't Fit In by Mo Willems. I had such a small group that the storytime part of the program lacked the normal "pep" that I'm used to, but I think that deep down, the kids liked the books.

Anyway, then we moved onto the activites. I had two crafts, plus a little game.

The first (and main) craft was a frog mask with a red, blow-out tongue. I am super extra proud of this craft because I designed it completely myself and cut all the pieces out on our new Cricut machine.

The different pieces (pictured below) are: One really large head piece, two big green eye circles, two medium-size white eye circles, two really teeny black eye circles, and a red blow-out (which, no, I did not make on the Cricut but ordered from Amazon).


It's a pretty simple craft. You layer the eye circles from biggest to smallest (black on top), then glue them to the top of the frog's head, above the nose holes (which is where the kids peek out of). Stick the red blow-out through the little hole at the bottom of the head and voila! A frog face! I also put out sticks for holding on to and markers for adding smiles and spots.

Once the masks were made, it became quickly apparent that chasing me around with the blow-outs was going to be the next activity of the afternoon. So this is how it feels to be a fly! Here are my attackers, mid-attack: 

Not everyone moved on to the next craft (like I said, chasing me around with the blow-outs was just more appealing), but this was a simple one. I just put out some pre-cut frogs, lily pads, and little pink flowers, some crayons, markers, and glue, and let the kids create a pond scene. Here's one of the nicest ones. Its shy creator chose to stay unpictured.

Last, I had a super-simple game for them. We had a ton of those little plastic jumping frogs lying around from something a while ago, so I painted a paper plate blue to represent a pond, put a piece of masking tape on the table in front of it, and asked the kids if they could leap the frogs into the pond. It may have been too easy for them because they all did it within one or two tries, but eh, it's nice to feel successful, right? Here's the game below:

Then I let them keep the frogs (because we seriously have a TON of the things). The game was fun but short-lived. Like I said, they were really just more into chasing me around with the blow-outs.

What worked least: I had such a small group (three pre-schoolers, three parents, and two younger siblings) that the whole storytime part of the program was just less lively than I'm used to. And nobody sang Five Green & Speckled Frogs with me! I have to admit, I felt kinda dumb singing it totally alone!

What worked best: The blow-outs. I could have just put those out and nothing else and that would have been enough! Chasing me around with giant "tongues" trumped all. It doesn't take much, folks!

So that's it, Leap Day, see you again in 2020.


  1. Jump! by Scott M. Fischer is a fun jumping book, in case you're ever doing another frog-themed story time :)