“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
By Beth Pinyerd
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, is Groundog’s Day. Yes, this is Groundhog’s Day. Groundhog’s Day is celebrated every year on February second. The official groundhog lives in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. His name is Punxsutawney Phil. According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow (the day is bright and sunny) there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow (the day is overcast), there will be an early spring.
On Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Kno — in front of thousands of followers from all over the world — to predict the weather for the rest of the season.
One thing young children love to do is to be amateur meteorologists. Have your young children look outside and predict what they think the weather will be like that day. This can make for early morning conversational learning and using appropriate thinking skills as children take what they have learned to decide what clothes they need to wear that day or whether they need an umbrella.
Young children, at home and in the classroom, love to be weather helpers. They love to look outside and draw what the weather looks like. Children love to study the different shapes of clouds, such as cumulus which look like cotton candy; cirrus clouds which look feathery; and stratus clouds which are black and gray. An all time favorite activity young children love to do is to make out shapes out of clouds. You would be surprised at how creative your little one is.
Young children love to observe and learn about different kinds of precipitation suc as rain, sleet, snow and hail. Children love to do experiments with evaporation by wetting a surface like a blackboard and watch the water disappear. They wonder where the water goes. This gives parents the opportunity to talk about the water cycle, in which water drops evaporate in the air and go up into clouds to make different forms of evaporation which fall back to the earth.
Outside thermometers are valuable teaching tools for how cold or hot it is in degrees.
Going back to our groundhogs, you can explain hibernation. Ask your young child what they like to do when winter comes and weather becomes really cold? We go on with our business despite how cold it is outside but many animals choose to stay home and sleep through the entire season. We call this hibernation. Bears, groundhogs, frogs, turtles, bats and snakes all hibernate.
When talking about shadows, young children love Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem on “My Shadow” I remember how much I loved this poem. Children love to act this out and they will want you to read it over and over. Simply turn off the lights and get a flashlight out to create hours of fun. I love to share this poem each year with early childhood classes and I know families will enjoy doing this poem with their children at home. This poem is a timeless treasure to share with my readers. Many Baby Boomers remember memorizing this poem. To honor Groundhog’s Day, I would like to share this poem again.
“MY SHADOW” BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow,
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an India-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there’s none of him at all.
He hasn’t got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he’s a coward you can see;
I’d think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me.
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
Also we kick off this wonderful month sending love to our friends and family by sending out love greetings. Feb. 7 is “Send a Card to a Friend Day” and Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day. As an early Childhood teacher, I look forward to the month of February because of the many creative opportunities it offers for children to express love on Valentine’s Day. Beautiful lace doilies, heart stickers, drawing and cutting out paper hearts to celebrate this day in the classroom as well as at home is an annual winter holiday we look forward to. Why wait to Valentine’s Day to send love notes? Let’s celebrate every day in sending notes of love to our children.
Children love to find surprise notes in unexpected places. As a teacher, I love to stick encouraging notes under desktops, chairs and student folders. As a parent you can slip notes in lunch boxes, backpacks, sticky notes on bathroom mirrors, a child’s pillow when they wake up in the morning, by their breakfast plate and even in their clothes or shoes.
In sending a love note, let your children know that you unconditionally love them for “who they are” and how God made them with their personalities and gifts. As we know praise and compliments go a long way in encouraging young hearts.
Happy Groundhog’s Day everyone. Let’s go out and see if the Groundhog will see its shadow. Make this a family event with your young children.
Beth Pinyerd, Classroom Observer