Punxsutawney Phil predicts spring's arrival with surprising accuracy.

How to Explain Groundhog's Day to Preschoolers

by Kathryn Hatter

If you're looking for an excuse to throw a party, try Groundhog Day. This day in February appeals to preschoolers who love animals and are eager for spring to arrive. Although the history of Groundhog Day might not spark a big reaction, you can give a kid enough details and history so she understands the holiday and enjoys the celebration. Whether the groundhog predicts an early or late spring, make Feb. 2 a party with your little one.

Talk about hibernation with your little one to give a little background into the premise of the holiday. Keeping it simple, explain that some animals, including groundhogs, sleep during the winter to escape the cold. Also explain that when spring approaches, the animals awake from their sleep to greet the warmer weather.

Tie hibernation in with Groundhog Day to make the connection. According to Cornell University, Feb. 2 is the midpoint of winter and groundhogs are often starting to wake up from their winter sleep around this time.

Talk about shadows with your preschooler. When the sun is shining, people and objects can make a shadow on the ground. If its sunny outside, go out to make your own shadows so your child can see the concept in live action. Mention the fact that if it's cloudy, you won't see shadows because of the lack of sun.

Explain the history of the holiday to your little one. Back in the 1800's, people in Pennsylvania decided that if groundhogs coming up out of their burrows saw their shadows, they would get scared and scurry back into their burrows, making spring come late. If groundhogs didn't see their shadows, they would stay out and about and spring would come early.

Watch the news with your little one on Groundhog Day to see what happens with the groundhog. Mention the weather on the day -- sunny or cloudy -- to help your child connect the presence or absence of the groundhog's shadow.

Offer groundhog activities to your kid to help celebrate the day. Groundhog.org provides lots of different activities for kids to create craft projects and color pictures.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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