How cute is this? Groundhog's Day is this week!

My kids have the greatest grandparents - one grandma does Grandma Preschool and my preschoolers ask if they get to go everyday!  This week, they came home with this craft for Groundhog's Day.  I LOVE it!  Simply made with a recycled toilet paper roll, green paper, a popsicle stick, yellow pom-pom and googly eyes.  Then the kids could have their own groundhog pop out of the ground.  How cute and simple! 

I don't have a formal lesson plan for Groundhog's Day, but below are ideas I've saved from the internet and school and used in previous years just for fun...

Fun Facts about Groundhog Day
  • When German settlers arrived in the United States in the 1700s, they brought a tradition known as Candlemas Day. Candlemas Day came at the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Superstition told that if the weather was nice on that day, the second half of Winter would be stormy and cold.
  • For the early Christians in Europe, it was the custom on Candlemas Day for clergy to bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of Winter. A lighted candle was placed in each window of the home.
  • The weather continued to be important to the early Christians. If the sun came out on February 2, the day halfway between Winter and Spring, it meant six more weeks of wintry weather.
  • In Europe, it was a hedgehog that was watched with hope that he'd not see his shadow. When settlers arrived in America, there were no hedgehogs to be found. So they adopted the groundhog as the new world's weather forecaster.
  • The groundhog was chosen because it wintered underground like the hedgehog and because the Native Americans in the region respected the animal greatly. They considered the groundhog to be a wise and sensible animal.
  • We taped paper on a wall and had the children take turns standing in front of a flashlight, while we traced each child's shadow on separate papers. The children loved guessing who was who when we displayed the final results.
  • "Guess the Shadow." I drape three sides of an overhead projector with black bulletin board paper (so that the children cannot see what I am placing on the illuminated table.) After turning out the classroom lights, I place a common object from the classroom onto the illuminated table. The children have to guess what the item is from it's shadow. Once I have shown the children how the game works, I let each one of them take a turn selecting an object from a box of items I chose earlier. Things that make a distinct shadow are best: paint brush, scissors, crayon, magnifying glass, small cars, dishes/cups, piece of puzzle, toothbrush, glove, etc. This activity is easy to pull-off when you've planned an outdoor shadow activity and there is no sunshine!
  •  Three year olds loved pretending to the groundhog as they took turns popping out of a medium sized cardboard box.
  • Have each child make a paper or cardboard groundhog stick puppet with a Popsicle stick. First thing in the morning, carefully stick the stick into the ground so that the groundhog is standing up. Then measure the shadows at 1 hour intervals throughout the day. Chart shadow lengths. Then at the end of the day, discuss why the lengths and directions of shadows varied.
  • Have children trace a groundhog pattern on brown paper and add a craft stick to make a puppet. Give children a piece of blue construction paper, a pre-made hill of green construction paper with "Groundhog Day" written on it and a pre-made yellow sun with "February 2" written on it. Have them glue the ends of the hill and attach to the bottom of the blue paper, leaving the middle free of glue so the groundhog has a space to pop through. Have them glue the sun on an upper corner. Have children use their groundhog and set to act out the poem:
    "The Groundhog" 
    The groundhog poked his head up 
    And peeking all around
    Saw his little shadow 
    Lying on the ground 
    The groundhog knew that winter 
    Would last for six weeks more 
    And so he pulled himself back down 
    Inside his little door.  


      (Sung to I'm a Little Teapot)
      I see a little groundhog, furry and brown.
      He's popping up to look around.
      If he sees his shadow, down he'll go.
      Six more weeks of winter- oh, no!
       I'm a little ground hog, short and stout.
      On ground hog day I pop my head out.
      If I see my shadow I don't come out.
      I stay down in my hole and pout.
      (Dramatize by squatting on the floor in a ball, popping up, peering about and returning to hiding.)

     (Sung to Frere Jacques)
    Mr. Groundhog, Mr. Groundhog,
    Take a peek, Take a peek.
    If you see your shadow
    The weather will be awful
    For six more weeks, six more weeks. 
    Mr. Groundhog, Mr. Groundhog.
    Are you there? Are you there?
    Will you see your shadow?
    We all want to know
    On this day, Groundhog Day.

    (To the tune of Ten Little Indians)
    One little, two little Three little groundhogs. 
    Four little, five little Six little groundhogs. 
    Seven little, eight little Nine little groundhogs. 
    Sleeping down under the ground.

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