Groundhog’s Day provides the perfect opportunity for teaching young children about shadows and how they are formed. Introduce children to this popular holiday in advance by reading age-appropriate books like Groundhog Day by Lisa M. Herrington or Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller to set the stage for the holiday; and Gregory’s Shadow by Don Freeman or Teacher Created Materials’ Shadows book to transition to lessons on shadows.
- Print out the groundhog template from All Kids Network.
- Trace the outline of the groundhog on black construction paper for each child. This creates the groundhog’s shadow.
- Copy the image of the groundhog onto cardstock so there are enough for each child to have a groundhog to color.
- Let children color the groundhog with crayons or markers.
- Instruct children to cut out both the groundhog and its shadow.
- Place the shadow behind the colored groundhog and attach it with a brad near the tail of the groundhog. This will allow children to move the shadow up or down.
After discussing how the sun forms shadows, challenge children to place the shadow in the correct position as you use a flashlight to simulate the sun. Make sure to turn the “sun” off or point it in the opposite direction to give children an opportunity to hide the shadow behind their groundhog.
This fun twist to musical chairs gets kids moving to expend excess energy and helps reinforce the concept of shadows. Place chairs in a circle as you would for musical chairs with you standing in the center of the circle. Use a spotlight or powerful flashlight to simulate the sun.
When the music begins, children march around the outer circle as you randomly flash the light from chair to chair. When the music stops everyone grabs a seat and the sun freezes. The child who lands in sunlight and casts a shadow must run away. Remove one chair each time and continue until only one little groundhog is left standing.
If you have additional Groundhog Day activity ideas, please share them with us!