The kids and I are always on the hunt for good books to enjoy for the holidays. One of the most entertaining holidays, deeply seated in American culture is Groundhog Day. It’s also a fabulous opportunity to teach the kids a bit more about weather and groundhogs.
Non-Fiction Reads for Groundhog Day
Our favorite non-fiction book for Groundhog Day is The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun.
We really enjoy reading one section of The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun over breakfast each morning in the days leading up to Groundhog Day. For my kids (ages 2-5 years), it is overwhelming to read all the way through in one sitting, but perfect in small doses.
Here are just a few of the fun facts we learned from the first chapter.
The Groundhog Sees It’s Shadow-or Not
- Groundhog Day is on February 2nd.
- If Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter, but he’s only right ~35% of the time.
- The very first Groundhog Day prediction was published in 1886 based on a local groundhog hunting club’s tradition.
The other included chapters are listed below:
- The Reason for Seasons
- Deep in the Earth
- Do Groundhogs Really Wake Up in February?
- The Beginnings of Groundhog Day
- More Than Punsxutawney Phil?
- Six More Weeks of Winter?
- Have a Groundhog Party Day!
Gail Gibbons also has a non-fiction Groundhog Day picture book that my kids enjoyed. It’s a great choice for kids that are big on reading the entire thing all the way through in one sitting.
We love to make our very own predictions about whether Punsxutawney Phil will see his shadow on Groundhog Day. Since he makes his prediction before we rise in the morning, we make our “groundhog crafts” and predictions the day before Groundhog Day. Then we watch the results on youtube the following day.
Simple Groundhog Craft
We used heart shapes (it is February after all) to create groundhog faces.
- brown construction paper
- one big heart for face
- one medium heart for ears (cut in half down the middle)
- white construction paper
- one medium upside down heart for teeth
- two circles for eyes
- black construction paper
- one circle for nose
- black felt pen for coloring in eyes
Note: We also used Fiskar’s Squeeze Punches to make the smaller shapes – hearts and circles. The kids adore using these punches for crafting and we have various shapes and sizes, but you could easily cut out the shapes free hand as well.
Directions for Assembly:
- Fold the brown construction paper in half and draw half a large heart on the fold.
- Cut or have the kids cut out on your tracing and then unfold a heart.
- Use the remainder of the brown construction paper to make a medium heart for ears. Cut the heart down the middle.
- Cut or punch out two small to medium circles from the white construction paper for eyes.
- Cut or punch out one small to medium circle from the black construction paper for a nose.
- Cut or punch out one medium heart for teeth.
- Turn the brown heart upside down.
- Use glue or tape to affix the eyes, nose, ears, and teeth.
- The teeth and ears look best if affixed to the back of the larger heart.
- Draw in pupils for the eyes with black marker.
As you can tell from our creations above, the kids have a lot of fun crafting and take plenty of creative license with making their very own groundhogs.
Make Your Predictions:
We divided our dining room window into two teams:
- Punxsutawney sees his shadow = more winter
- Punxsutawney doesn’t see his shadow = early spring
The kids made their predictions and then affixed their groundhog crafts to the window, so everyone in the family could see their choices. Mom, Dad, and Grandma played too!
After watching Punxsutawney make his prediction on Groundhog Day we review that although celebrating Groundhog Day is really fun, that poor little rodent is wrong more than he is right when it comes to being an accurate weather predictor. Over the next six weeks, we track the weather to see if this might just be the year that Punxsutawney gets it right! You can easily make a simple journal, but we love the colorful, image focused “Charting the Weather” activity available in “Preschool Nature By the Season: Winter” from Our Journey Westward.
We also indulge in a few of our favorite fiction Groundhog Day Picture Books!
Fiction Reads for Groundhog Day
These selections are listed in order of preference based on votes taken by my kiddos!
- Groundhog’s Runaway Shadow
by David Biedrzycki
- Secret of the First One Up
by Iris Hiskey
- Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day!
by Abby Levine
- How Groundhog’s Garden Grew
by Lynne Cherry
- Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather
by Bruce Koscielniak
- Groundhog Weather School
by Joan Holub
- Groundhug Day
by Anne Marie Pace
Happy Groundhog Day!
The image below is perfect for saving for next Groundhog Day on Pinterest!