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  • Melanie Patric

Happy (Belated) Groundhog Day!

We had a full crew today so we celebrated Groundhog Day in grand style!

This morning, we looked at the Groundhog Day picture card that came with our calendar. We talked about what the little groundhog on the card looked like- "furry," "little," and "brown" were all used to describe the little animal. We talked a little about the concept of hibernation and how it helps animals survive during the winter. One of the littles was nonplussed by all the groundhog talk and instead focused on clapping everyone's hands for them. We all took turns letting her do so- it was clear it was very important and enjoyable for her!

A short while later, we practiced a circle time rhyme about Groundhog Day (and a few about Valentine's Day).

Soon it was time for a Groundhog Day art project. The children did a fantastic job of coloring their groundhog pictures in various shades of brown.

I modeled coloring the groundhog part by part- "first we color his nose, then his face, then his ear..." I think doing so helped raise the children's awareness of how completely they were coloring their picture in.

In a toddler's mind, there's really no difference between coloring something in completely and making a few marks on a page- both lay down color, so for them, this exercise was about perseverence and refining their concept of how to color a picture in completely.

Once the pictures were colored, we used a glue stick to stick just the grounhog's feet on a black construction paper sheet. After that, we used white chalk to color all around the groundhog (another exercise in perseverence).

When the grounhog cutout was flipped up, there was his shadow on the paper! Genius!

After that, we talked about the folklore surrounding the whole groundhog/shadow deal. I asked the children if they though grounhogs really could tell the future just from seeing their shadows, and after some discussion, we decided they probably couldn't.

We still thought it was a neat tradition, so we all made our own guess about whether the groundhog would see his shadow or not and graphed it on a chart (names are removed for privacy) to work on some early math skills.

We followed the graphing with one of our very few moments of media use. We watched Punxsutawney Phil's Groundhog Day ceremony. Poor Phil... he was a little nervous and wiggly, and boy, were there a lot of people watching him!

After that, we bundled up and headed for the great outdoors. We had so much snow that it was at times difficult for the children to wade through the snow and I had to break paths for them. I shoveled out a nice, roomy fort for the littles to wander in so they wouldn't have to be in deep snow (and it protected them from the breeze a bit) and we all tried sledding.

The snow was so deep, drifted, and powdery that it was very tough to make a sled run and there were moments of frustration.

We still managed some sled rides, though, and we all had fun making snow angels!

We finished our afternoon by making shadow shapes with a sheet and a flashlight.

We worked on making bird and bunny shadow shapes with our hands, and then we played a game where the children had to guess what toy was behind the sheet based on its shadow. It was a lot of fun, and the children really had lots of fun identifying the toys.

I'm glad we had so much fun celebrating Groundhog Day!

See you tomorrow!

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