Hog Day Activities
Meta W. encourages language development,
thinking skills, recall and fun with shadows, a pre-science skill during
Materials: Cardboard box big enough for a
child to fit into.
Legend has it that on February 2,
Mr. Groundhog wakes up
Explain this legend so children can understand
and then try these related activities.
from his long winter’s nap and goes outside.
It is said that if he sees his shadow he is
and runs back inside his hole and sleeps for
six more weeks.
This means that winter weather will continue.
If Mr. Ground Hog does not see his shadow he
to play, indicating that winter is almost over
and that warm
weather and spring is coming soon.
Directions: Select a cardboard box that
a child can fit into. Decorate the box if desired. Have a
child use the groundhog box to act out the following rhyme.
Activity & Recall: Discuss questions like these
with your children.
Ground Hog, Ground Hog popping
Ground Hog, Ground Hog can you play?
If you see your shadow inside the hole
If there is no shadow, come out to play.
Ground Hog, Ground Hog popping up today.
Ground Hog, Ground Hog, can you play?
Fun: When the sun is out, bundle up and go outside.
Help your children find their shadows. While looking at the shadows,
do a dance. What is your shadow doing? Jump up and down?
What is your shadow doing? Stand very quietly and then peek at your
shadow. Is it moving?
What will the ground hog do if
he sees his shadow?
Go back inside the hole.
What do you think his home underground might
A dark hole.
What does he do underground?
Hibernate / sleep.
What will the ground hog do if he doesn't
see his shadow?
What does this mean?
Spring is coming.
What are some signs that spring might be
Birds singing and flowers growing.
Play for Groundhog Day
Donna P. suggests this activity for
older preschool & kindergarten children saying,
"Visually track objects as they move and then
move your body."
Materials: flashlight and darkened room
Description: This activity is good to
use around the time you are talking about
Day & shadows. During group activity time, when
the children are
seated on the floor, turn out the lights and
describe the activity. A child will
jump on the flashlight's beam that shines on
the floor. Each child takes an
individual turn to follow the light as the
teacher moves the light from spot to
spot. The teacher should insure that the light
is close enough for the child to
successfully jump with both feet and land on
Day: Fact or Fiction
Discuss the difference between fiction and
fact and investigate shadows during this activity by Roxanne.
Materials: Pictures of groundhogs and depending
on the project used, styrofoam cups, craft sticks, small pictures of groundhogs
to color, glue and markers. A screen and
overhead projector, transparencies with shadows
of different kinds and, if possible,
Description: I show the children pictures
of groundhogs at the beginning of circle
time. I tell them the legend of the groundhog,
and then, I ask them if they
feel this is a true story or not. We
discuss fact and fiction.
We either do the cup project, where the children
color their groundhog and glue him to a craft stick. We cut a slit in
the bottom of a cup, they decorate their cup to look like grass and dirt,
then, put their groundhog down into their cup, so that the stick comes
out of the slit. They can make their ground hog "peek" his head
out, and go back down. We also talk about above
and below, up
and down as we do this project.
We also show the children shapes on a screen
and they must guess what shape it is. They love this. Then,
we let them make some shadows on the screen for fun. We talk about shadows
and then we make the silhouette of each child, and give it later as their
Mother's Day gift.
"Ground Hog Day Puppet"
This hands on approach showing children how
some small animals hide as they hibernate for the winter is from Jessie
Materials: Toilet paper tube, cut out template
in shape of groundhog / woodchuck or mouse, yarn, eyes, glue and
Description: The toilet paper tube is used
as a "hole" that a small animal would use to
hide and hibernate in during the winter months.
Have the children decorate the groundhog / woodchuck or mouse with yarn.
Add google eyes and allow glue to dry. Attach a popsicle stick to
the back of the animal. Slightly fold sides of animal together and
stick the groundhog / woodchuck or mouse up into the toilet paper roll.
The animal peaks out of the top of the toilet paper roll by moving the
popsicle stick up into toilet paper roll.
Comments: Children love this! It is
fun to make and the children can demonstrate
the groundhog's actions.
Barb K. and her classroom of youngsters
make masks for Groundhog Day
during this activity. You can use this fun idea when discussing
animals that hibernate.
Materials: Paper plates, brown crayons, string,
mouth and nose out of construction paper.
Allow children to color the paper plate brown.
Cut out two eye shapes. Glue the mouth and nose on the paper plate.
Tie sting to fit child's head. Pretend that you are ground hogs.
Comments: You can act out that you see your
Enhance the theme of Groundhog
Day by talking about shadows and tracing them.
This activity by Lissa promotes teamwork for
kindergarten & first grade children.
Materials: Large paper, markers, and things
to decorate the shadow print i.e. glitter, stickers, yarn etc. and glue.
Description: Working in partners, ask each
child to trace their partner's shadow onto the paper. A very bright day
is good for this activity. Tell the children,
"After your shadow has been drawn, you may
decorate it any way you want."
Before this activity talk about shadows.
Make a chart of who thinks the Groundhog will
see his shadow and who doesn't.
"Do you see any shadows in the room?"
"What happens on Groundhog Day?
Children start making other shadows with their hands as they enjoy
decorating and being creative.
Susan K. introduces children to the
idea that bears sleep during the cold winter months with this activity.
Materials: Book: Bear Snores
On by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman,
For Art Activity: Large brown grocery
bag, fiberfill, stapler, white glue, scissors,
white paper and marker.
1. Cut about 4 in. off the
top of the grocery bag.
2. Cut an arched cave opening
from one side of the bag.
3. Fold the two sides of the bag
together and fold 1 inch of the edge over.
the edge to hold the fold in place.
4. Pop the bag open to form a
cave for your teddy bear to winter in. Children
glue some fiberfill
snow along the top of the cave and along the bottom opening.
5. Make a sign for the cave that
Good night, Mr. Bear! See you in the Spring!
it on the outside door of the cave.
6. The children can go outside
for a nature walk, collect pine cones and dry leaves
and also some
sticks to put in the cave.
7. Children put their own teddy
bears into the cave. If they don't have teddy
can put any small stuffed animal inside, preferable one that also
Comments: My 3 year olds love this sleeping
bear to take home. We don't have
enough room in the class to keep them till
spring. The children do the pasting
of the snow, adding nature items and then,
Help teach preschoolers the concept of animals
hibernating through the winter months with this game by S.T. that
encourages large motor development.
Description: Children are accustomed to playing
"Duck, Duck, Goose". Use this to introduce the concept of animals
hibernating through the winter. After the children form a circle, reintroduce
the idea of animals sleeping through the cold winter months. Have them
drop to the floor, put their heads down and pretend to sleep. Choose
one student to go around the circle saying "sleep, sleep, WAKE UP!"
Everything follows just as in a game of "Duck,
Angela P. helps children create this
bulletin board as they learn about animals that sleep during in the winter.
Materials: Construction paper, yarn, hole
puncher and cave drawing.
Description: Children cut out 2 bears from
construction paper and then color them. Next punch holes in the bears,
making sure to do both bears at once so that the holes line up.
Now children take yarn and lace up the bears. The teacher can then
call the children up to the cave to "put their bear to sleep". I
make a bulletin board with a cave that says Shh,
Bears Sleeping! The children love this!
Comments: We wake them up in the spring.
During this collection of preschool and kindergarten
activities Pam D. focuses on
Science Sun Power: Pre-Hibernation
children about the power of the sun. It is actually the
the heat that causes the paper to fade.
paper (the cheaper the better), cut out shapes that will
lie flat, a sunny
Procedure: Have children predict what might
happen when the shapes are placed on the paper in the
sun, record responses on a chart. Lay shapes on the construction
paper in a sunny location. After several hours check and see if
the paper has faded by lifting up a shape. Review predictions and
discuss the results of the investigation. Teachers can set the papers
aside with their shapes for matching activities.
Investigating Acorns: Hibernation ~ Harvest
Guessing, predicting and recording.
acorns for each child to have a few, a clean plastic tub with a
lid for each child,
a sheet of paper for recording information.
Place acorn in container, have children try to guess
what is inside (predictions) Teachers post
this poem near the center and read it to the children to help them
Give each child a recording sheet of paper and several acorns.
Help the child record information about caps/no caps. Then remove
caps and pour water over acorns and let soak over night. The next
day record float/sink.
can find them on the ground,
Or growing on
to eat them,
Or bury them you
Nut Seek: Squirrel Harvest
Assorted nuts, a container for each child, paper for creating a graph.
Counting sorting, making sets and graphing.
Procedure: In advance teachers count the nuts
before setting them out so that you will know that they are all (most)
found. Place the nuts around the classroom then
talk to the children about squirrels and how
they hide nuts away to eat later in the winter when they are hungry.
Give each child a container and tell them they are to be busy little squirrels
and find all the nuts in the classroom.
After the children have found the nuts, gather
the children together and help them count the nuts they've found, sort
the nuts by type and count again. Make a graph of who found how
many of each nut.
Hibernate, Migrate or Stay Active
cut outs prepared for flannel board, flannel board, poem:
groundhog and skunk eat without care,
Procedure: Gather children around and have
them name the animals as you put them on the flannel board. Then read
the poem and sort the animals into groups specified. After the animals
are sorted take a few minutes to discuss how each animal gets ready for
winter and why that action is important for their survival. You can
also discuss what signs they get from nature so that they know it's time
Then sleep through
the winter in cozy dens away from frosty air.
The duck, robin
and goose fly south with all their brood,
They flock to where
there's lots of sun and more delicious food.
The moose, squirrel
and fox stay home throughout the year,
They grow thick
coats to keep them warm when winter's cold is here.
Sing the following to the tune of London
Bridge is Falling Down.
Bears are growling, Eat lots of food, eat lots of food. Growl, growl,
Groundhogs murmur, Skunks squeak. Ducks quack,
Robins chirp. Moose grunt.
Bears are growling,
Eat lots of food. It's time to sleep!
Geese are honking,
Let's fly south, let's fly south, honk, honk, honk.
Geese are honking,
Let's fly south. It's time to migrate!
Fox are barking,
Let's run and play, run and play. Bark, bark bark
Fox are barking,
Let's run and play. We're staying for the winter!
Squirrels chatter etc.
Brown Bear & Squirrels
Pam D. uses 2 books, Brown
Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle and Squirrels
by Brian Wildsmith, to encourage listening skills, predictability and
Materials: book Brown Bear,
Brown Bear by Eric Carle and pre made pages of class book “Gray
Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, crayons or craypas.
Procedure: Have the children listen to Time
to Sleep by Denise Fleming during
center time. Review the book at circle
time, asking the children to recall which animals got ready to sleep.
Then read Brown Bear and ask the children to make their own book
about animals that hibernate. Have them each make an animal that
hibernates on their page.
Photo copy the pictures to use on the felt board. During book center
time, children can “read” the book, or tell the story using the felt board.
The book Squirrels
by Brian Wildsmith is used for story recall and descriptive words.
Materials: Writing easel
Procedure: Read the story, asking the children
to pay particular attention to how the book describes the squirrel's
tail. Using the easel, ask for the children to recall and dictate
words the book used – both adjectives and verbs.
Ask the children to dictate words to describe other animals.
For example; snake skin, dogs ears, turtles shell etc.
Sleep or Hibernation
Elaine T. brings the words "sleep" or
"hibernation" to life for preschool and kindergarten children so they
can understand it's meaning.
Bear paw prints
Cardboard box for a cave
Teddy Bears for sleeping
Markers or crayons
Word Sleep or Hibernation
written out for the word wall at the end of the lesson with a picture
of a sleeping bear attached.
Description: Before class teachers tape down
bear footprints on the floor around the room. In one corner have some
stuffed bears sleeping in a cave made from a cardboard box. Ask the children
to tiptoe around the room after morning circle to see what they find by
following the bear prints. The children will find the sleeping bears.
Ask them to listen to the story We're Going on a Bear
Hunt. Have them make a story strip about their own bear hunt
in the classroom. You can add tracks and other animals native to your
part of the country.
Comments: I have the children bring their
own bear to school for a bear hunt
party afterwards. We serve berry juice and
"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?"
Keri promotes listening skills, color
recognition, animal recognition and using the sense of sight during this
Materials: The book Brown
Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
by Eric Carle; brown poster board; white poster
board; contact paper; scissors; markers.
Description: In advance teachers cut the brown
poster board into large bear shape. Cut the white poster board into
6" squares. Draw pictures on each square with the
markers, to correspond to the colored animals
in the book (make 2 or 3 of each,
so each child can have one). Laminate
all for durability.
With the children sitting in a circle, place
the bear shape in the middle of the circle.
and pass out the cards to the children.
As you read the story, the children will
listen for the animal on their card to be read.
When it comes to their part, they hold up their card, then place it onto
the bear shape.
Comments: The cards can also be used later
for a "Memory" type matching game.
This game can also be adapted for Eric Carle's
book Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What
do you hear? by using a white bear shape and cards to correspond
what the bear hears.
& Dramatic Play: "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" or
"Polar Bear, Polar Bear"
Teriann T. offers this activity saying,
"Familiarize children with literature, colors, animals, and build individual
language skills, self-esteem, sequencing, peer recognition and public
Materials: Construction paper, markers, scissors,
tongue depressors, Chosen children's books
Description: Re-create the character animals
from favorite children's books.
I use Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Polar Bear,
Polar Bear for our Bear Week!
Cut out each colored animal from construction
paper, detailing each with markers and colored paper, and glued them on
tongue depressors. With older, more skilled
children, they could recreate each puppet!
Read the book to the children, and then ask
for helpers to help you act out the
story. Each child holds one character and takes
turns reciting the phrases in
Sleep or Hibernate
Teach young children about hibernation with
this preschool education activity by Meredith who encourages preschoolers
to let "stuffed" animals hibernate for a portion of the winter.
Materials: a large paper bag, some cotton,
some paint, gray or white.
Description: To show our 3 year old class
how animals sleep or hibernate we made our own individual "caves".
Using a supermarket brown shopping bag, we had the kids paint them
gray to simulate a cave. Then we cut a door in the front, glued some cotton
batting on the top and down the sides to simulate snow and put a stuffed
animal inside. We let the animal sleep for a month or so until Spring,
when we had a Wake Up party! Talk with children about why
animals need to sleep or hibernate and how it helps them survive the cold
Comments: It's a bit hard to convince some
kids to leave their animal in the cave. But once they get the idea, and
know there is a party involved when Spring Arrives, it's a great
Hit with them.
Winter Theme: Penguins