Creative Child

Fun Groundhog Day Activities and Treats

by Rebecca Eanes

Groundhog Day offers plenty of learning opportunities for kids. Hibernation, weather, light and shadows, seasons, and groundhogs are all fun things to explore on this holiday, and of course hands-on activities is a great way to learn! 

You may want to begin the day with a lesson on how Groundhog Day came to be. I found the story at Education World (educationworld.com) which states (paraphrased):

When the first settlers arrived in the area known today as Punxsutawney Pennsylvania, they brought with them a centuries-old tradition known as Candlemas Day. On Candlemas Day, clergy would bless candles and distribute them to the people. The weather of the day was considered an important indicator of the weather to come. German peoples picked up on the Candlemas custom and believed that if a hedgehog cast a shadow in the sunlight, another six weeks of winter was inevitable. When the Germans arrived in the Americas, no hedgehogs were to be found, so they used a groundhog as a stand-inl. So it is that the tradition was born. Today we call each February 2nd Groundhog Day, and if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow when he comes out of his borrow, we are in for six more weeks of winter, or so the story goes. 

Once the history of the holiday has been told, kick the day off with a delightful groundhog pancake. On a large, round pancake, add smaller round pancakes for cheeks, chocolate chips and marshmallows for eyes, a chocolate chip nose, marshmallow teeth, and banana ears! You can find an example at thejoysofboys.com. These are sure to bring a smile to your little one’s face!

One of the easiest and cutest Groundhog Day snacks your child will love to create and eat are groundhog mini donuts. I saw this at Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons but there are lots of variations online. You can use Scooby-Doo graham snacks, Nutter Butters, Teddy Grahams, or anything with a groundhog-like shape. Stick them inside the hole of a mini donut and add eyes, nose, and teeth using mini marshmallow bits, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or candy eyes. 

Groundhog pudding cups are another sweet snack that is super simple and adorable. You’ll need Nutter Butter cookies, chocolate pudding cups, mini chocolate chips or brown m&ms, and marshmallow bits. All you’ll do is decorate the cookie and stick into the pudding cup. For a little extra pizzazz, you can dye some coconut flakes green and sprinkle on top for grass!

Add a little science to your day with a fun activity of exploring shadows. Get outside if you can, and let your child explore how shadows work by moving their body in the sunlight. Have them walk upright, walk on all fours, and try to create letters or shapes with their shadows. If it’s raining out, use a flashlight indoors for this activity. Next, have them create shadow puppets on the ground or on a wall inside using a flashlight. If your child likes to do crafts, you can help her create a groundhog shadow craft with brown and black construction paper and a groundhog template I found at All Kids Network.

 

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