Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone!  I was excited that Maggie is finally old enough to understand the concept of this holiday (especially since we just finished up our study of the sun), and we did lots of fun things to celebrate it!  Obviously, I wish I had made this post a few days ago for all of you, but we are still playing catch-up and you can still do these things this weekend or tuck it away for next year. 
 
First, of course, we did some reading.  Of the books we read, I would recommend Groundhog Day by Michelle Aki Becker (We learned that in Europe, they used to use hedgehogs to predict if the Spring was close!  My friend, Tiffani, would appreciate knowing this!) ...
... Groundhog Day! by Gail Gibbons ...
... Wake Up, Groundhog! by Susan Korman ...
... Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather by Bruce Koscielniak ...
... Gregory’s Shadow by Don Freeman ...
... and Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill.  I was shocked to find so many great reads on Groundhog Day, but each one of these was fun and informative!
After our reading, we checked online to see what Punxsutawney Phil's report was for this year, and it seems he predicts Spring will be early!  Let the Spring Fever begin!  (Although, statistics say he is only accurate 39% of the time.  That's not so good.)  Here is a link for a great slideshow of Phil's pictures from this morning: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/50676774/displaymode/1247?beginSlide=1.  Isn't he cute?
We also listened to John McCutcheon's "Groundhog Day" song.  Here is a link with the lyrics: http://www.folkmusic.com/lyrics/groundhog-day.  (His album, Wintersongs, is one of our favorites!)
 
To start our crafts, we made the "Groundhog Shadow Craft" as seen at http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/groundhog-day/groundhog-shadow-craft.asp.  For the same, you will need the groundhog template from that site, black construction paper, a pencil, scissors, crayons, and a brad.  (On the site, they used paint to color their groundhog, but we just used crayons.)
First, you want to color your groundhog.
Once he's colored, cut out your groundhog, place against the black paper, trace, and cut out his shape from the black paper.  Finally, add the brad to the bottom of your groundhog.  Cute!
For our snack, I used the idea at http://littlepaperhouse.com/2010/02/groundhog-day/, using a chocolate pudding cup, Oreo cookie crumbs, a Nilla wafer, sliced almonds, and a little bit of chocolate for the groundhog's face.  (This snack is quite easy to put together and very, very cute!)  For the little bit of chocolate, I just microwaved a small handful of chocolate chips.  Then, using a toothpick, I smeared a little bit on the back of the cookie to hold the ears (the sliced almonds) in place.
For the face, I used the toothpick dipped in my melted chocolate chips again, then dabbed on two eyes and a nose.
Finally, I sprinkled the top of my chocolate pudding cup with Oreo cookie crumbs for "dirt," and placed my groundhog's head in the top of the dirt!  Adorable!
 And Mags loved it! :)
Another craft we did was make a "Pop Up Groundhog" as seen at http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/animals/forest/pop-up-groundhog.asp.  You will need the template found on their site, a Styrofoam or plastic cup, a Popsicle stick (I had some green ones), scissors, tape, glue, and crayons.
First, color your groundhog.  Once colored, cut him out and use your glue to adhere to your Popsicle stick.  (Maggie insisted on a rainbow-colored groundhog for this project!)  Then, make a hole in the bottom of your cup, large enough for your Popsicle stick to go through.
Measure your green paper to fit around your cup and adhere to your cup using tape.  (Unlike the site, we decided to let our paper stick up at the top so we could use our scissors to fringe it to look more like grass.) 
Very cute!  We said this poem with ours, that I found online:
"Here's a Little Groundhog"
Here's a little groundhog, furry and brown,
He's coming up to look around;
If he sees his shadow, down he'll go,
Then six more weeks of winter -- OH NO!
For our last Groundhog Day activity, I used the idea found at http://thefirstgradeparade.blogspot.com/2011/02/groundhogs-their-burrows.html, using construction paper in brown, blue, green, and white, scissors, glue, googly eyes (which they did not use but I enjoy googly eyes on everything!), writing paper, a pencil, and colored pencils.
The first thing I did was set up our paper, like the pictures on the site, with the blue piece being our background and the smaller, green piece centered on the same. 
 Then, I cut out the burrow (bladder-shaped), fit to be inside the green piece of paper, as well as the writing paper, to fit in the blue space under the green paper.  (Don't adhere those before your child can draw and write on them!)
Then, I cut out my hearts, one large brown heart for the groundhog's head, a medium-sized one for the ears, and a smaller white heart for the teeth.
 They will be put together like this.
 Then, we got to work.  I asked her, "If you were a groundhog, what would your burrow look like?"  She answered, "In my burrow, I would have furniture and food."  Then, I helped her write out her sentence onto the piece of writing paper.  We then glued it to the bottom of the blue sheet.
Next, I had her illustrate her borrow in the bladder-shaped piece of paper.  (I love it, with its orange couch, television set, hanging lamp, and vase with flowers.  She put herself as a groundhog in there, too, holding a nut and orange.  Cute!)  We then adhered that to the inside of the green piece of paper.
Finally, we put together our groundhog head, adding a nose, whisker marks, and googly eyes.
I think it turned out great!
 
We did a bit more homeschooling today, as well, to catch up.  To start, here is another character in our "Letter Critter Series," T, also inspired by the Oriental Trading Company catalog, as seen here: http://www.orientaltrading.com/t-is-for-tractors-craft-kit-a2-48_8081-12-1.fltr?Ntt=tractor.  I simply cut my own pieces from construction paper to simulate it, and we put it together.  I had her write "Tractor" across it, as well, so both the uppercase T and lowercase t would be written on it.
And we also studied the -ed word family, complete with one of my prepared Easter eggs for her to use as a manipulative ...
 
... and the following books: -ed as in bed by Amanda Rondeau ...
... Ted's Shed by Phil Roxbee Cox ...
 ... and The Big Red Sled by Jane E. Gerver.
Happy homeschooling!  See you next week!  :)
 

2 comments:

  1. If I had to judge by Ferris the hedgehog, I would say there would be 6 more weeks of winter! Today he REFUSED to uncurl out of his tight spikey ball! Hopefully he is in a better mood tomorrow!

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  2. Well, he has such a tough life, you know! :)

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