11 Groundhog Day Activities for Kids Plus Fun Groundhog Books for Your Classroom! (2024)

Do you have your Groundhog Day activities and crafts ready for the classroom yet? It may be one of the quirkier holidays on the American school calendar, but February 2 is a fun one to mark in the elementary classroom — and not just because kids love finding out whether there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring.

It’s a great chance to discuss everything from the concept of why animals hibernate to the changing of the seasons, cover the phases of the moon with 4th gradersand discuss shadows during your 1st grade light unit. So where do you begin?

The teachers who create all theprintable worksheets, digital activities, and other teaching resources on the Teach Starter website hail from all around the US, and that means they’ve got a variety of takes on this quirky February holiday. While some hail from places where there’s no worry about a long winter (phew), others can’t wait for spring to, well, spring outside those classroom windows.

With that in mind, our team has put together some of our favorite Groundhog Day crafts and fun activities for kids from kindergarten through sixth grade for you to try in your classroom this year!

Short on time? Skip straight to printables from ourGroundhog Day 2024 collection!

How Does Groundhog Day Work?

Maybe you haven’t paid much attention to this holiday in years? It’s OK. We know you’ve got a lot on your plate! Our teacher team put together a quick refresher just in case!

The tradition of depending on a marmot to predict the weather dates back to the 1800s. While origin stories vary, the officialPunxsutawney Groundhog Club — that’s the one you might have seen in the Bill Murray movie centered on the holiday — say it’s related to a German tradition, whereby if a hedgehog saw its shadow on the religious holiday of Candlemas (traditionally celebrated on February 2), there would be six more weeks of winter.

The holiday is said to have traveled to the US with German immigrants and translated into a groundhog spotting his shadow as a predictor of whether winter weather would continue into the spring, or warmer temperatures would prevail.

These days the official groundhog lives inPunxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Named Phil, he’s brought out every February by the club at a spot in town calledGobbler’s Knob to “prognosticate” (aka predict) the weather. If his handlers determine the groundhog has seen his shadow, that means there will be six more weeks of wintry weather. If he didn’t see his shadow, spring temperatures are on the horizon.

Simple enough, right? So, how do you translate this to the classroom? Let’s dive in!

Groundhog Day Books for Kids

This is an obvious activity, we know, but we love to pull out a book that’s related to the holiday for a read-aloud.

Of course, that means we have a list of our favorite Groundhog Day books to share! Here are a few classic groundhog books you may want to check out from the school library or add to your own reading nook this school year:

  1. Groundhog Gets it Wrong by Jess Townes
  2. Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill
  3. Groundhog’s Day Off by Robb Pearlman
  4. Groundhog’s Runaway Shadow by David Biedrzycki
  5. Grumpy Groundhog by Maureen Wright (check out the read-aloud on YouTube!)
  6. Substitute Groundhog by Pat Miller
  7. Go to Sleep Groundhog by Judy Cox
  8. Groundhog Gets a Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow

11 Groundhog Day Activities for Kids Plus Fun Groundhog Books for Your Classroom! (2)

Groundhog Day Activities for Kids

Observe Groundhog Day Shadows Throughout the Day

11 Groundhog Day Activities for Kids Plus Fun Groundhog Books for Your Classroom! (3)

Photo courtesy of Tennessee third-grade teacher Theresa Gaughan

How adorable are these outdoor groundhogs from Tenessee third-grade teacher Theresa Gaughan? These popsicle stick and paper creations are intended for shadow observation with students.

Here’s how Gaughan explained her activity: “Our shadow observation was always a hit with my students. We would create our groundhog figures in the morning of the day before. Then, on Groundhog Day, we would stake our groundhogs near our classroom. After observing the morning shadows, we would compare them to the shadows at lunchtime and the end of the day.”

Create Your Own Punxsutawney Phil

11 Groundhog Day Activities for Kids Plus Fun Groundhog Books for Your Classroom! (4)

Photo courtesy of homeschool teacher Shawna

Homeschool teacher Shawna used everyday items from home to create these adorable Groundhog Day crafts with her kids! To recreate these furry friends, you’ll need:

  • Toilet Paper Roll
  • Green and Brown Paper
  • Glue (or tape)
  • Googly Eyes
  • Markers
  • Popsicle Stick (or straw)

Graph the Groundhog’s Predictions!

The folks at the National Centers for Environmental Information know a thing or two about climate — we daresay a bit more than a groundhog. The federal agency has tracked Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions and offers up a look at how often he’s gotten his weather predictions right or wrong, making for a fun graphing activity for the class!

Present your students with the count of how often Phil’s shadow sightings have been right or wrong, and have them create bar graphs ongrid paper, shading inbars that represent each option. Ask them to answer the question: Is Phil right or wrong more often?

You can also create a class graph with student predictions, tallying how many students predict an early spring vs. an elongated winter.

Practice Using Positional Language

Pull out a flashlight and a stuffed animal, and turn off your classroom lights to practice using positional language with shadows.

Challenge students to explain where the shadow is in relation to the stuffed animal. Is it next to? Behind? Beside?

Set Up a Groundhog Anchor Chart

Help your students through the process of prediction with a fun anchor chart activity. South Carolina kindergarten teacher Lexe Sims (@lexeslittlelearners on Instagram) shared this fun Groundhog Day anchor chartthat she created with her students featuring their predictions. This is a fun way to get kids thinking about what will happen in the future and tallying data!

11 Groundhog Day Activities for Kids Plus Fun Groundhog Books for Your Classroom! (6)Photo courtesy of South Carolina kindergarten teacher Lexe Sims

More great topics you can focus your anchor chart on include:

  • Groundhog characteristics
  • What groundhogs “can do,” what groundhogs “have” and what groundhogs “are”
  • Anatomy of a groundhog

Draw Groundhog Day Shadows

A perfect Groundhog Day activity for the pre-school or kindergarten set is to learn about shadows with some shadow drawing! Print out a few photos of a groundhog (you can grab one in this Groundhog Day Writing Craftivity!), place on your window with some clear tape, and roll out a long strip of tabletop or butcher paper near the window, where the groundhogs can “cast their shadows.”

If it’s a sunny day, set your kiddos to work on the ground, tracing the shadows created by their groundhogs. No sun in the sky? It’s OK! You can skip the drawing part of the activity and head right into a discussion of how the sun affects shadows — and lack of sun, well … you get the picture!

Of course, shadow drawing is on theme for Groundhog Day, but this isn’t just fun for fun’s sake. This type of activity offers a host of benefits to your primary-aged students, from boosting their obervational skills to developing their understanding of how light and shadow interact and how light sources affect the shape and size of shadows.

Teaching older students? Try a light and shadow experiment to cover the same topic in a more age-appropriate way.

Dig Into Groundhog Vocabulary

Groundhog? Woodchuck? What’s the difference? And what does it mean to predict?

It may be a somewhat silly holiday, but Groundhog Day has a surprising number of vocabulary words associated with it. We put together a whole list of suggestions for your classroom.

Write About Groundhogs With a Roll to Create

Practice writing a narrative text for Groundhog Day with a creative roll to create about a groundhog family. Also sometimes called a roll to build, these activities add an element of fun to the writing process that tests students’ creative thinking skills.

11 Groundhog Day Activities for Kids Plus Fun Groundhog Books for Your Classroom! (8)

Practice Opinion Writing

Practice persuasive writing with letters to Mr. Groundhog explaining why he should — or shouldn’t — see his shadow!

This writing center activity gives kids a chance toexplain why Mr. Groundhog should listen to their opinions and persuade him to agree with them. Encourage your students to use descriptive adjectives while describing the reasons they have for making their particular plea.

Get Familiar With Groundhogs

Challenge your class to cut and sort out facts about groundhogs and elephants to better understand the difference between these two types of mammals. Can they identify the different traits of these animals?

Get the printable template here.

Groundhog Day Crafts for the Classroom

Are you looking for something a little more fun to welcome the most popular prognosticator in the US to your classroom? Here are some Groundhog Day crafts that will do the trick!

Complete a Groundhog Directed Drawing

Want to take drawing activities in a more direct, um, direction? Work on students’ listening skills with a directed drawing activity that’s been designed to help them draw their own groundhog.

Download the directed drawing worksheet here!

Create Groundhog Puppets

Put on shadow puppet plays, or just have fun with paper bags with a Groundhog Day paper puppet craft! After using the printable template, students can work in groups to write small skits and use their puppets to act out the play in front of their classmates.

11 Groundhog Day Activities for Kids Plus Fun Groundhog Books for Your Classroom! (2024)
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