Showing posts with label groundhog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label groundhog. Show all posts

Learning about Climate Change on Groundhog Day with Fun Facts about Groundhogs & Craft Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Did you see the Groundhog Day video I shared on Facebook? It is the annual Groundhog Day video of Ms. G, the official groundhog of Massachusetts. I like watching this video more than Punxsutawney Phil. One Ms. G is closer to me and has weather more like mine. Two, she isn't surrounded by all the news cameras with the extra lights to make shadows. Plus I love how they share a bit about groundhogs, animals and more. She lives at Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. We loved visiting Drumlin Farm when Hazel was young. In the video they say Groundhog Day is also Climate Action Day. So today I'm going to share some fun facts about groundhogs with a small craft round-up and share with you a new book about climate change. We all need to be aware of climate change and take action to help stop/slow it. 

A Greyhound A Groundhog -- Book Review

Disclosure: Penguin Random House Books gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. This page contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Today I am sharing with you a beautiful book for a young child A Greyhound, A Groundhog written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Appelhans has simple text that dances through the pages with beautiful watercolor pictures. 

Groundhog Masks inspired by the Wild Kratts with free pattern

Hazel's favorite television show is The Wild Kratts. It is on PBS and features Chris and Martin Kratt in real life who go into cartoon to explore different animals lives. In cartoons they have all sorts of great technology including creature power suits that allow them to change into the animals. Of course it is not on enough for Hazel so we watch it On Demand often. Since she was home all last week we have been watching the four or so shows that are On Demand over and over. One of the episodes is an Episode from Season 2 called Groundhog Wake Up. (You can see the full episode here for $1.99.) I am sure it is On Demand since Groundhog Day is fast approaching. On the show they make a map on their Creature Pods (I think that is what they are called) after scanning a real groundhog's burrow. Hazel decided to use her play tent as her burrow with the tunnel as one of the entrance tunnels. Watching her play groundhog gave me an idea.
Groundhog, eating.jpg
"Groundhog, eating" by D. Gordon E. Robertson - Own work.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Groundhog Day

February 2 is Groundhog Day here. This is the first year I think Hazel will truly understand the tradition and is looking forward to watching television tomorrow morning to see if the Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not. Now interesting enough Groundhog Day stems from Candlemas. Now the first time I heard about Candlemas was in the Waldorf School, but I didn't really understand what it was. According to old European sayings, the weather of Candlemas predicts the length of winter. 

The Old English Saying is "If Candlemas be fair and bright, Come, winter, have another flight; If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Go winter, and come not again." A Scottish version is "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There'll be two winters in the year." A German version is "For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day, So far the snow will swirl until May; For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day, So far will the sun shine before May." American farmers have the saying, "If the sun shines on Groundhog Day; Half the fuel and half the hay." 

Since Punxsutawney Phil moved to Gobbler's Knob in 1887, he has seen his shadow 100 times with not seeing his shadow 17 times and no record 9 years. Groundhogs, also called woodchucks, eat dandelions, clover and grass and are members of the squirrel family. (Sources: Wikipedia and Stormfax)

For Hazel to get some understanding of Groundhog Day, we took some books out of the library. In each of these books (pictured above) a groundhog determines the weather on Groundhog Day. In Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather by Bruce Koscielniak, Geoffrey finds it easy the first year to predict the weather, but the next year he oversleeps and is woken up by the crowd gathered outside his burrow. He has no idea about his shadow with all the lights from the cameras and such of the crowd. He finally predicts the weather by calling his mother. In Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill, Phyllis wants to take over when Uncle Phil retires, but no female groundhog has ever gotten to be Phil. She proves herself to be better at predicting the weather than Uncle Phil and her male cousins. In Gretchen Groundhog, It's Your Day! By Abby Levine, Gretchen is scared to go out to face the crowd. It is her first year at the job and she is shy. It is a wonderful story of how she ends up facing her fear with some United States history thrown in. In Gregory's Shadow by Don Freeman, Gregory is best friends with his shadow. He does not want to go out on Groundhog Day without his shadow, but he knows the people do not want him to see his shadow. At one point the two get separated and lost to one another, but eventually they find each other and Gregory figures out a way to go out with his shadow but not see him.

We also had some fun with groundhog crafts. We made the paper ones from a printable at DLTK Kids. Hazel colored hers and I used the colored template. 

I got the idea of using the paper plate from Kiboomu Kid Songs. I tried to do it from memory and did not get the placement of things and coloring quite right, but Hazel loved drawing the sun.

The idea of cutting a shadow of black construction paper came from All Kids Network. They also have a shadow matching game that we haven't tried yet, but looked like it would be fun.

Are you doing anything for Groundhog Day or Candlemas? I know I am hoping for no shadow tomorrow!! I cannot wait for spring weather to get here. It has been too cold this winter!

Sharing Saturday 14-5

Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week!! We had some amazing ideas shared. I hope you have had time to go check some out. We had a tie for most clicked.

Groundhog Day and Play Again Film

So last night I noticed that Tippytoe Crafts had shared an adorable Groundhog Day Craft. This one was easier than the one we tried last year and she provided two links to pictures of groundhogs to color. We of course had to try both. Hazel wanted to decorate one with snow and color the other with blue and purple snow.

This morning Steve and I went to Hazel's school to see the film Play Again. This is a documentary about the generation growing up with more time indoors and in front of screens then outside and exploring the real world. It is really scary to think abut what the consequences of this may be. If you think about the fact that children in the United States spend 90% of their time indoors and about 11 hours a day in front of a screen (television, computer or video). Many kids are learning on screens now and this is not the same as learning by exploring nature. They are also showing that their brains are being developed differently because of this screen time and exposure to violent video games (I believe the statistic given in the movie was 7 out 10 kids say they have played a video game rated M for Mature). You can read an article in Bamboo Magazine about the film.

Think about it, many children's exposure to nature is on a screen. You can learn many things about an animal or a flower on the computer or a television show, but can you really experience it and understand it that way. Is that really how we want this generation to think of nature?

One of the specialists in the film asked the viewer to think about his/her most magical childhood memories. Where are yours? Most I would guess do not include a television, movie or computer. In fact I would even guess most are outdoors. I know mine are. 

So what are we doing to our children today with their overfilled schedules and very little free time to explore the world and to just be in nature? Have any thoughts? I know I said to Hazel's teacher after the film that I was glad we made the choices we have for Hazel. Her teacher had just mentioned how she was trying not to think about the scary side of the film and where our world could be going. I know I work hard to get Hazel to be in nature as much as possible. Plus our choice of Waldorf education also gets her outside. 

The other day when I picked her up from school she was covered in mud. I mean covered completely. We had an appointment to go get our picture taken at Sears right after school. I took her outer layers off and had luckily brought extra shoes. Her rain pants (first time she wore her new ones) were caked with mud as was her jacket and boots and mittens. I through everything into the trunk and took her to Sears. When we got to the studio I took her shirt that she had under her dress off since the sleeves were muddy and we hid the mud spots on her tights and the ties of her dress. But to me seeing her all muddy meant she had a great day. None of it bothered me, because I know it is important part of childhood to enjoy the mud. I always try to encourage it, so I was happy to see her that way. She is still talking about playing in the mud on Thursday and how much fun it was.

So do you let your children have time to just play outside like we did when we were little? Why or why not? What effect do you think this change in society will have?