Ground Hog Facts and Activities for Children
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Ground Hog Facts and Activities for Children

Learn facts about ground hogs and a brief history of the holiday tradition of Ground Hogs Day. Add activities to fun days like this to make learning science a cinch for kids and enjoyable for parents.

Ground Hogs Day is a fun time to get kids involved in a tradition that will get them learning. Start with explaining a brief history of the day. The tradition passed down goes something like this:

The holiday began when German settlers came to America. They had celebrated this mid-winter tradition using hedgehogs. With hedgehogs nowhere to be found on new American soil, they chose to use a ground hog instead. The basic idea is that when the ground hog comes out of his burrow, he will either see his shadow or not. If the ground hog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If not, there will be an early spring. The tradition continues today on February 2 each year.

Of course, this is all done in speculation and jest. However, there is some scientific factual learning to be done through it all. It is fun to know some factual information about the animal at the center of this tradition.

1. Ground hogs are also called woodchucks

2. The ground hog is part of the Marmota monax classification of animals

3. A ground hog is considered to be a rodent and is similar to a prairie dog, chipmunk or squirrel

4. The average life span of a ground hog is 6 to 8 years.

5. A baby ground hog is called a cub or a kit

6. They wipe their feet before entering their burrows and hibernate just below the frost line and emerge naturally around mid-February

Some fun activities to play on Ground Hogs day that also incorporate learning of science include:

· Discuss the seasons of the year and what a winter solstice or a spring equinox is.

· Discuss weather, specifically the sun and how it can cast shadows.

· Make a shadow portrait. Shine a line on the side of your child’s face, with the shadow casting upon a piece of paper you have taped to a wall. Carefully trace the outline of the shadow onto the white piece of paper, using a pencil. Cut along the pencil line to form a template you can use to trace onto black and white paper. Layer the black and white paper to form a picture portrait shadow of your child’s face.

· Play shadow puppets, making animals and shapes out of your hand. Shine a flashlight toward a wall. Place your hands in between the flashlight and the wall and begin forming shapes with your hands.

· Make your own burrow. Place a sheet over a table, and have some fun pretending you are inside your own burrow. Don’t forget to wipe your feet before entering.

· Get out your dictionary and have some fun discovering names of other animal babies.

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Comments (1)

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.