12 fun ways to celebrate Leap Day with kids

Feb. 29 only comes around every four years, so why not make the most of it? We’ve got all kinds of fun ideas to celebrate Leap Day, and they’re bound to keep the kids smiling until at least 2024.


Jump, jump


What better place to get out some energy than one of Chicagoland’s many trampoline parks? At Epic Air in South Elgin, you can play trampoline basketball, dodgeball or cageball, leap into foam pits, or show off some impressive gymnastics skills. There’s even a play area for kids 7 and under.


Join the movement


Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early by watching the Trinity Irish Dance Company leap and dance on stage at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on Feb. 29. It’s a great way to introduce Irish culture to kids. Another bonus: the family matinee performance at 2 p.m. is offering groups of 4-5 people to save 10 percent on tickets, and groups of 6 and more than people can save 15 percent on tickets.


Free fallin’


Thinking about leaping out of a plane on Leap Day? You can get that same sensation at iFly, which is an awesome indoor skydiving experience. It actually simulates free-fall conditions, but inside what’s called a vertical wind tunnel. It might sound a little scary, but it’s actually open to kids as young as three — and the instructor stays with you the entire time.


Jump to the music


If your little ones love Bubble Guppies or Blue’s Clues, then they’ll be jumping for joy when they say their favorite characters at Nick Jr. Live! “Move to the Music.” The show runs Feb. 29-March 1 at The Chicago Theatre, so snag your tickets before they leave town.

Photo Credit: Altitude Trampoline Park


Let’s bounce


If your kids aren’t quite ready for that level of jumping, you can always go for the trusty standby: bounce houses. We love Pump It Up. which has inflatable obstacles courses, slides, a 5-in-1 bounce house and even a bounce house with soccer goals and basketball hoops. While the Chicago location is temporarily closed, there are actually more Pump It Up locations throughout the suburbs including Glenview, Schaumburg and Orland Park.




If you grew up in the ’80s, chances are you’re familiar with the old-school video game Frogger. You might have thought it went the way of the 8-track, but there are actually spots where you can still play Frogger! One of our favorites is PAC-MAN Entertainment, the Pac-Man themed restaurant at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg that’s all about the classic games. So you can play a table version of Frogger, go bowling and enjoy dinner all in the same evening.


Make a time capsule


Here’s an activity that you’ll enjoy again on the next Leap Year. Collect a few items (photos, letters, flowers, etc) with the kids to give a message to your entire family in the future. When done, close the box and add a note on top, “Do NOT open until Feb. 29, 2024.” Don’t forget to hide it in a good place so no one is tempted to open it.


Monster trucks


Yes, even gigantic cars can fly in the air! Monster Jam returns to Allstate Arena on Feb. 28-March 1. During the weekend, your family can watch high-powered vehicles compete in a fierce battle to become the champion.

Seeing green


You can easily make these Pinterest-inspired frog sweets with your favorite cupcake recipe. You just need gummy rings, brown M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, and some red licorice to make a froggy mouth. They’re so fun to make and delicious to eat — a great way to celebrate another Leap Year!


Hop to it


If there was a mascot of Leap Day, it would probably be the frog. Stop by Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo to see if you can stop the green tree frog hopping around.


Ceramic fogs


At North Riverside Park Mall, kids can create ceramic frog decorations, enjoy a balloon artist and take a photo with Froggy at their Leap into Fun! event 1-5 p.m.


Leap Day savings


Save some money on Leap Day by enjoying the following deals:


    • Visit the Field Museum for free! Illinois residents get in free of charge on Feb. 29. What better way to spend Leap Day than enjoying a free museum day?


    • Great Wolf Lodge is offering a special rate for guests who book on Leap Day. Blackout dates apply but families can enjoy $29 per person (not including taxes and resort fees) for stays from Sunday to Thrusday between April 13 and May 21. Use code LEAPYEAR on Feb. 29 to claim the offer (while supplies last).



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This article originally published on Feb. 16, 2016. It has been updated with the most recent information. 


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