Sunday, January 30, 2011

Groundhog Day Unit Study

With February 2 just a shadow's length away, I thought I would share my Groundhog unit that I prepared last year for our homeschool group and held at the community center. I'm holding it again this year, with some new activities mixed in, but here are the highlights from last year.

There are a lot of fun Groundhog day books out there, but the best by far (imo) is "Groundhog Day!" by Gail Gibbons. Accompanying the beautiful illustrations, Gail not only includes the history of the holiday but information about groundhogs and hibernation also. Start off reading this book first so the kids understand the activities more.

Craft: Cut two pieces of brown felt the size of your child's finger and glue them together (instant fast-sticking fabric glue works best), cut small pieces of tan and white felt for the eyes, teeth, hair, etc. and create a groundhog finger puppet. Take a small paper cup and turn it upside down, cut a hole in the bottom of the cup large enough for your child's finger to fit comfortably in and out of. Viola! Your child will love popping their groundhog in and out of ground. (You can decorate the cup to look more like the ground also, by adding green construction paper for grass, brown for the earth etc, but I just used the cups that have flower print on them to simplify.)

Games: Wack-a-mole game and a tunnel for the kids to "burrow" in.

Science Experiments:
Set up a flood light against a wall with large paper taped up. Have each child sit in a chair in front of it while an adult or another child traces their shadowed silhouette. Last year we didn't really have enough darkness to make this as efficient as I would have liked; this year we'll be in my basement so it should work much better.
We also categorized animals that live or sleep below ground and above ground. For each animal that I had printed and cut out, I had the kids guess whether they thought it was an animal that slept above ground or underground. It was fun.

Also printed out lots of coloring pages, a groundhog puzzle, groundhog word searches and scrambles, etc. Here's a great website to find those for free. I found a lot of printable activities at The Official Website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

Snack: Teddy Grahams (bears hibernate!), and juice.

Here are some more I've found for this year, including a great geography activity for Punxsutawney (Link). More free groundhog printables.
Happy Groundhog Day!!!

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