A Celebrated Creature: The groundhog

Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2nd in both the United States and Canada. The folklore states that on February 2nd if a groundhog emerges from his hole and fails to see his shadow, he will leave his burrow – signifying that winter will end soon. But if the groundhog does see his shadow he will retreat down into his burrow, and winter will last for another 6 weeks!

Groundhog Day occurs on: (U.S.)
February 2nd

Have fun learning about a Groundhog with your whole family with fun and simple crafts!

 

Baby:

Materials: Cut out of a brown groundhog

Peek-a-boo Groundhog! Babies love the game of a peek-a-boo a you can play a quick game of it with a cut-out of a groundhog! Hold the construction paper groundhog for baby to look at. Tell her what it is and then hide it behind your back. Ask her,”Where did the groundhog go?” Is she looking behind you? Quickly bring it back and say, “Here it is! Here is the groundhog!”

LOOK ALL AROUND
(sung to “I’m a Little Teapot”)

See the little groundhog,
Furry and Brown.
See the little groundhog,
Look all around.
If he sees his shadow,
down he goes (hide him again!)
There’s more winter,
Little Groundhog knows.

Toddler:

Materials: paper cup, stickers, popsicle stick, cut-out of a groundhog, glue, scissors

Let your child stick stickers on a paper cup. They can represent spring and winter (snowflakes, flowers, etc.)! He can then cut-out a simple groundhog from brown construction paper (a small circle for a face and a larger circle for the body) and glue it on a popsicle stick. Make a slit in the bottom of the cup to slide the bottom part of the popsicle stick through. When pulled down the groundhog will be in his burrow and when pushed up he will be out looking for his shadow.

Preschooler:

Materials: paper cup, brown, yellow and green construction paper, glue, scissors, tape, crayons

Cut open a paper cup and decorate it like a burrow. You can do this by simply cutting along side the paper cup so your child can color the inside of the cup with brown dirt, some straw and grass. When he is done, he can glue in a cut-out groundhog and glue it in. Then tape up the slit of the cup and you have a great burrow!

School-Age: paper, pencil 

Groundhogs have a fun and important job on Groundhog’s day! They predict the weather! Do you think you can predict the weather? Send your school age child outside to make some predictions of his own. Are there signs that winter will continue on? (frozen ground, bare trees, breathe visible). Are their signs that spring could appear soon? (are some animals out, is there thawing, buds beginning on trees). State your case and make your own prediction!

Facts:

  • The average groundhog excavates over 700 pounds of dirt digging just one den
  • The most common locations of permanent groundhog dens are fence lines and thickets bordering hay and corn fields, vegetable farms, and fruit orchards
  •  small mound of exposed dirt will be packed at the entrance, providing a small rise from which the groundhog can view the world, or sun itself.
  • Grass growing in the den entrance is a good visual cue that a den is no longer in active use.

http://www.terrierman.com/lifehabitatgh.htm

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