Ground Hog Day--what an American tradition!
Poor Punxatawny Phil!
They wake him from his hibernation to keep up with us all!
This one day theme page is filled with preschool activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom.
Let the planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool lesson plans and activities for your theme.
You can also click on the picture links below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
Paper Bag Puppets
Materials Needed: brown lunch bags, markers
Show the children pictures of a groundhog. Have them draw a circle on the bottom of the paper bag. Show them how to use the bag as a puppet. They can also draw arms and feet by decorating the rest of the bag.
Materials Needed: Brown playdough (store bought or your own home-made batch).
Encourage the children to make their own furry little critters!
With mittens on, have the children make a snow ball.
Add flashlights to the block area. See what sized block shadows you can make with one block or a hugh tower of blocks!
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Ground Hog Day Theme!
Ground Hog Discussion
Discuss these furry critters with your children! Provide pictures and books for them to lok at. They are also called woodchucks. They are furry and a bit bigger than a cat. They are vegetarians. They dig tunnels under ground and hibernate all winter. They are usually brown and sometimes have a gray tone.
There is a legend about the groundhog. It states that they come out of their homes on February 2nd to see if winter is over. If they see their shadow, it scares them and they go back to their homes and sleep for another 6 weeks. If they don't see their shadow, they stay above ground and winter is almost over!
A song to go with it!
Sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star:
Wake up, Groundhog. Time to see
what the weather's going to be.
Time to stretch. Time to think.
Time to eat and time to drink.
Wake up Groundhog. Time to see
what the weather's going to be!
And a tongue twister:
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck...IF a woodchuck could chuck wood!
I See My Shadow
A Poem to act out:
I see my shadow, my shadow sees me. (Hands over eyes like glasses) I wave to my shadow, and my shadow waves to me. (Wave to each other) I run with my shadow, and my shadow runs with me. (Run in place) I love my shadow, and my shadow loves me. (Hug self)
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Materials Needed: lettuce, watercress, cucumbers, ranch or other dressing
Provide these greens for the children to help you to wash and cut and put in a large bowl. Enjoy some at snack time with their favorite dressing!
Food with HOLES
Provide snacks that have holes in them to remind the children of the ground hog's burrows! Some examples are: pineapple rings, swiss cheese, bagels, or make toast and have the children cut out holes using a cookie cutter!
Ground Hog Day would not be complete without some light and shadow play! Set up a burrow by hanging a dark blanket or sheet in your dramatic play area. Provide flashlights and encourage the children to create shadows. Provide different shapes of paper as well as stuff animals to shine the lights on to see if there is a shadow!
What a Scene!
Provide green, brown and white paint! Encourage the children to paint our furry friend coming out of his tunnel...what will he find? Grass? Snow? Of course, it's paint...just let them paint!
Find Your Shadow
If possible, go outside on a sunny day! Help the children to find their shadows. When they do, what happens when they back up, or move their arms or move their legs. Take pictures if you are able to show them later!
Book Suggestions for the Library
Additional Item for the Library
Provide pictures and newspaper articles with pictures in the library area. Save these from year to year!
In advance, cut out a 10-12 shapes all in the same color. Also cut the same shapes out from black paper. Glue the black "shadow" shapes to the inside of a manilla folder. Provide the colored shapes for the children to match to the shadows.
Laminate the shapes for durability. Store the shapes in a ziplock baggie and then store inside the folder for future use.
VARIATION: This could be used when working with numbers or letters as well.
This is a traditional activity and great for fine motor development and name writing.
Materials Needed: Large craft sticks (tongue depressor size), thin markers; paper cups
Make a cut mark in the bottoms of the cups, wide enough for the craft stick to fit through.
Have the children print their name on one side of the craft stick.
On the other side, have the children use the marker to make a face on the top end of the craft stick.
Show the children how to slide the stick up and down through the cup for their Ground Hog to come out and check for its shadow!
Wake Up, It's Spring!
We have this game, but I'm not sure where I got the instructions from. It is a file folder game that three children can use. See the pictures so that you can make one of your own. This may be a little old for your children because of the +1, -1 and lose a turn. You could simply not put them on your game and for the spinner, do not write "lose a turn", pehaps change the wording to "still sleeping, stay where you are!".
Choose a child to stand up and "strike a pose". The other children should copy, or "shadow" that move!
You could start to show them how. For example, stand up with one leg in the air and one arm up to the sky and invite the children to copy or shadow you!
Here's A Little Groundhog Fingerplay
Here's a little groundhog, furry and brown (raise thumb up)
He's coming up to look around (pop thumb up and make it move up and down to look around)
If he sees his shadow (put and over eye as though searching for something)
Down he'll go (hide thumb in fist)
Then six more weeks of winter--OH NO! (put up 6 fingers)
Materials Needed: Sand; small, plastic spray bottle with water in it, sand toys.
Encourage the children to make tunnels, holes, burrows, etc. in the sand. Of course, sand castles are fun to make ANY time of year!
Materials Needed: Ruler, paper, marker, a sunny day!
Take a favorite object outside and place it where the sun creates a shadow. Measure how tall the shadow is with the children and write it down.
Come out and check the shadow and re-measure every 1/2 hour to an hour and compare what happens.
Each time you go out, discuss shadows and the sun: Where is the sun now? Where is the shadow?
VARIATION: If you can, draw the outline of the shadow you are observing with chalk. The children will be amazed that the shadow has moved!
Send home a picture of a groundhog. The children can color it at home with their family. Attach the following note:
I HAVE HOMEWORK!
Today is Groundhog Day! Let's watch the news or read the newspaper together to see if Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow today! I need to write YES or NO on my groundhog and bring it back to school!