See how many of the following nine weird, wacky, and totally fascinating February-inspired facts you and your kids can track down together. Or use the questions for a family-night trivia game.
1. A Roman error or never happened?
True or false: The original Roman calendar did not include February.
True, and it didn’t include January either. Blame Romulus, the first king of Rome, for the egregious miscalculation. It took a while to straighten out, but at one point both January and February were added on to the end of the calendar year, not the beginning!
2. Campaign talk or legit hobby?
Our long, lanky 16th President, Abraham Lincoln (b. February 12, 1809) was a mad-good wrestler. True or false?
Totally true—and he rarely lost a match. Here’s his record. Two more wrestling Presidents? Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor.
3. Fake news or a hairy story?
Back to Lincoln: Was he the first President to sport a beard? Did he have a cat named Tabby? Yes or no?
Yes...and yes, and a dog named Fido.
4. Out cold or just napping?
February 2 is Groundhog Day. Is hibernation for groundhogs a really deep sleep?
It’s more like a coma. Their temperature drops, their heart rate slows, and they’re barely breathing.
5. A low-key day or a time to party hardy?
Another name for the annual carnival called Mardi Gras (on February 13) is: Fat Sunday, Fat Monday, or Fat Tuesday? Select one.
It’s Fat Tuesday, and the next day is Ash Wednesday. Revelers celebrate Mardi Gras with parades, wild antics, over-the-top costumes, regional food, and concerts.
6. Here’s my fave or I love all of them?
Name five renowned African Americans—past or present—to celebrate during Black History Month this month. Consider icons in math, science, engineering, technology, space exploration, the military, government, politics, music, art, education, film, dance, sports, and fashion.
Did you name any of the following: President Barack Obama; philanthropist/media mogul Oprah Winfrey; astrophysicist/author Neil deGrasse Tyson; music impresario Pharrell Williams; or tennis great Serena Williams? Click here for the names of other important game changers.
7. Family few(d) or huge family?
President George Washington, a February baby, was one of several siblings. How many brothers and sisters did our first President have? A) one brother and one sister; B) four brothers; C) six sisters; D) none of the above.
Correct answer: D. Little-known fact: The esteemed GW had nine siblings: three brothers, three half-brothers, two sisters, and one half-sister. However, he had no children of his own.
8. The real deal or pants on fire?
George Washington chopped down a cherry tree. Fact or fiction?
Total fiction! The cherry-tree story was a tall tale made up by one of the former President’s first biographers. The author, Mason Locke Weems, liked the idea of the story (it lionized the President) and was clearly motivated by profits. The Life of Washington was published in 1800. It was an instant hit, anyway.
9. A life lesson or just a saying?
Friday, February 11, is Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day. What does the expression mean and why’s it good to remember it?
It means there’s no point fretting over something that has already happened and can’t be changed now. So, if you spill milk or anything else, don’t cry. Just mop it up and get on with your business.