We think Groundhog Day can tend to be a bit forgotten and neglected as far as holidays go. And it involves the types of things we at Playground Hunt are very into: the outdoors, animals, seasons, weather, and more…
Here are some ideas on ways to acknowledge it this year:
This is the official website for the holiday. It has links to a great Weather Discovery Center, information on history, tourism, lesson plans, and more.
Here is a Punxsutawney based souvenir shop where you can pick up everything from mugs and hats to slippers and golf balls. And, er, bags of chocolate posing as groundhog poop!
There are actually dozens of great Groundhog Day books out there for kids. Ask your local librarian! But one of our favorites is The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old, which is just a nice overview of the holiday and the animal in a kid-friendly format. Gretchen Groundhog, It’s Your Day by Abby Levine is another favorite, in which she bucks convention and saves the day.
Take some time to learn about groundhogs themselves (also known as woodchucks) and include some other North American wildlife in your studies while you’re at it. The National Weather Service website has a special section for kids, to learn more about weather and the seasons.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can invite some friends over for some celebrations!
–If your kids are old enough, play the Groundhog Day movie. Once will probably do. But then you can play this really awesome song called I Hog the Ground by Steven Drozd from the Flaming Lips and Stephen Burns from Blues Clues.
–Make Porcupine Balls (yes, I know they are called porcupine balls but they kind of look like curled up groundhogs) or make Dirt Worm Cups or just serve any hearty mid-winter comfort food. Decorate cookies and give half a winter theme and half a spring theme and guests can choose their favorite and make bets on what the groundhog will predict.
If it is sunny, go outside and play shadow tag. If not, stay inside and play “Pin the Shadow on the Groundhog”.
We have lots of fun in the snow–but let’s face it–by the end of winter, many people are missing spring. If you are all starting to get a bit tired of it all, make a pinata representing winter (like a snowman shaped one, for example, but be creative) and beat the stuffing (well, candy) out if it to release your frustrations and get some treats!
We used to host an adult version but admittedly never adapted it for kids, but we’re not ruling that out! While it did break up the cabin fever, we remembered there are other party excuses this month to break up the tedium as well–Mardi Gras, Superbowl, Chinese New Year…so while we are always sure to do well acknowledging Groundhog Day, we might pick yet another “forgotten” holiday to throw a bash around. April Fool’s? Daylight Savings Time? May Day? Flag Day? The solstices? What would you pick? Let’s hear your ideas!