Groundhog Day: 15 Fun Teaching Resources
Discover the history of Groundhog Day, as well as resources to help you teach about the holiday, hibernation, and Punxsutawney Phil.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
Origins of Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on February 2 in the United States and Canada. While the exact origins of Groundhog Day are not known, the tradition is believed to have started in Pennsylvania in the late 1800s as an annual custom of settlers of German descent. Similar folk beliefs in which an animal — such as a badger or a sacred bear — predicts the weather can be traced to other parts of Europe and are presumed to be rooted in the early Christian holiday of Candlemas.
Interpreting What the Groundhog Sees
According to folklore, if the groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day, it will retreat back into its burrow to hibernate for an additional six weeks of winter. If the groundhog does not see its shadow, it will emerge from its burrow, signifying an imminent end to winter and an early start to spring.
The Largest Celebration in the United States
In the United States, Groundhog Day is celebrated throughout the country, with the largest celebration held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney Phil, the official weather prognosticating groundhog, has made some 115 official predictions to date, since the first official celebrations began in 1886.
More Web Resources for Teaching About Groundhog Day
In addition to the Scholastic lesson plans, activities, and reproducibles listed below, you can find groundhog-related games, crafts, and other fun activities on the official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club website. For fast facts and other information you can use to teach about the groundhog, visit the National Geographic website.
Activities, Books, and Videos
A "Where Is Groundhog" read-along and singing activity, as well as a a burrowing animals graphing exercise, are included in this digital issue of the popular children’s magazine.
A video from Let’s Find Out magazine about the groundhog's diet, habitats, behaviors, and other traits.
Recommended books for teaching about Groundhog Day and its infamous weather-predicting rodent.
With state testing in the near future and state standards constantly looming over our shoulders, it can be hard to find time to fit seasonal activities in. We hope that by sharing some of our Groundhog Day ideas, you will find it convenient to work these standards-based activities into your lesson plan.
This interactive craft is a fun way to teach your students about Groundhog Day.
Your students will bring everyone’s favorite February critter to life with this interactive craft.
Explore the strange and secret worlds of animals’ winter habitats with activities that reinforce skills across the curriculum.
Have students work with partners on an Animals in Winter scavenger hunt to learn how animals cope in winter.
The legend of Groundhog Day and accompanying activity ideas.
On this quirky holiday, the groundhog is our gauge to tell us if spring is nearly here. Students will love the mascot, and you can weave in a quick lesson about weather and tradition.
A decorative calendar title for the month of February with depictions of decorative hearts and flowers. The title is accompanied by a blank calendar, already labeled with the month name and the days of the week, and large decorative symbols such as a tooth, toothbrush, heart, cherries, Lincoln's hat, a valentine, and a sleeping groundhog.