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You know it comes on February 2 every year, but do you know why Groundhog Day is a thing? Keep reading for Groundhog Day Facts to impress your friends, and Groundhog Day Activities your kids will love! Make Groundhog Day a fun family celebration your kids will look forward to year after year. After all, life is for celebrating – even the rodents!
Fun Groundhog Day Facts
- It’s not American! Groundhog day is actually a German tradition that was brought over by settlers.
- It wasn’t always a groundhog! Staten Island Chuck and Punxsutawney Phil would really get their fur in a bunch over this one! In Germany a groundhog or a badger would be used.
- Punxsutawney was invented! The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club was founded in 1886 to find a groundhog to determine if winter would end. This particular club proclaimed their groundhog as the ONE and only one that could make this important tradition. It stuck…even to this day!
- How does Punxsutawney Phil live so long? As legend has it, he is given a special fruit punch drink every summer – which causes him to live another 7 years.
- Groundhogs actually make terrible weather predictions. Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions are correct only 30-40% of the time. However, that does make him more accurate than most prominent weather forecasters today. ;-p
- That silly groundhog would never wake up! Groundhogs are one of the true hibernating species of the animals world. They hibernate in a coma-like state that is so deep their body temperature drops to just above freezing! There’s no waking them until spring. Fortunately, men can find and wake unsuspecting groundhogs to determine the length of winter.
- Why Feb 2? It actually is the midpoint between winter and spring. This is also the time during a more mild winter that groundhogs begin to appear.
Groundhog Day Activities for Kids
So maybe you can’t dig holes into your floor, but you can still create burrows for your little groundhogs to hide.
- Use what existing furniture you have to create dens and hiding spots. Place couches together and drape a blanket over them. Take a table and cover it with a blanket or tablecloth that goes close to the floor. Have toy tunnels? Use those to connect the areas. If you don’t already have tunnels think about what you do have, empty boxes, smaller end tables; think creatively and you can make it work.
- Remember, groundhogs like to enter and leave through small exits and entrances packed with loose dirt. So gather up your pillows and make piles around your tunnel entrances. Scatter other piles of pillows around so your little groundhogs can practice their digging skills.
- Add to the fun and celebration of the day by shining a spotlight over one of your entrances. Will your little groundhog see their shadow? Will you?
- Don’t mind noise? Have your children bark, squeal, and whistle as they imitate the sounds groundhogs make when they are communicating or fighting with each other. (Of course, we don’t encourage any fighting with your children, just the playful act of imitation.)
- Attend a local Groundhog Day event in New Jersey.
- After all this work and play your little scavengers will be hungry. Feed them a groundhog special. Crush up some cookies or crackers to represent your dirt and sand. Fill up a cup and then serve with some raw vegetables or fruits sticking out. A groundhog’s favorites are carrots, apples, pears. Any of these will work with your bed of sand. You could even try our recipe for Groundhog pancakes.
- When it’s time to work on dinner the kids can continue their Groundhog Day activities with a groundhog craft kit or groundhog activity book. Amazon has these Groundhog Day products available.
- Have the kids cuddle up to one of these plush groundhogs available on Amazon.
- Read a children’s book about Groundhogs Day. Whether you’re looking for a way to quiet the kids down afterschool or a new book for storytime, consider The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun.
- Watch a Groundhog Day movie like Groundhog Day!: Shadow or No Shadow DVD. It’s an Amazon Prime item with this link. So there’s still time to order it before Groundhog’s Day.
- As the day comes to close, it’s a good time to tell your little ones about how groundhogs hibernate. Remind them before a long night of sleep they must pack away some good food with lots of nutrients to help their bodies stay healthy. After a day like today, they should be plenty hungry and plenty tired.
Here’s hoping that your Groundhog’s Day will be a day of fun, a day where your children eat all their dinner, and then rest a peaceful rest.