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You can't talk about Groundhog Day and not talk about shadows!  I'm sure your little ones are aware of their shadows and maybe even the spooky ones on their bedroom walls at night.  Have they ever asked what makes a shadow?

Here are several fun, educational activities to do to learn more about shadows.  These activities work on science discovery, visual discrimination (deciding which shadows go with which object), and gross motor skills.

Here's a little song to get things started.

I'm a LIttle Groundhog
sung to "I'm a Little Teapot"
The Mailbox Magazine, submitted by Heather Graley

I'm a little groundhog
On Groundhog Day.
I peek from my hole
On a winter day.
If I see my shadow,
in I go!
Winter's going to stay, I know.

I'm a little groundhog
On Groundhog Day
I peek from my hole
On a winter day.
If I see no shadow
Out I'll stay.
spring will soon be on its way!
Step Outside
idea from The Mailbox Magazine, submitted by Julie Koczur

Take your child outside to see if he/she can see his/her shadow.  Guide your child to explore around the yard to see what other things are making shadows.  Once you return inside, dim the lights and shine a light source, such as a flashlight, toward a light-colored surface.  Lead your child to discover (by allowing him/her to block the light with his/her body or other objects) that a shadow is formed when something is placed in front of a source of light.  When something (person, animal or object) blocks the light from the sun, it creates a shadow.  So, that's how the groundhog gets a shadow.

Take it further:  Have your child bring out his/her toilet paper tube groundhog to see if it sees its shadow.

Here's a fun poem to act out while your outside checking out your shadows.

I See My Shadow
I see my shadow, my shadow sees me. (Hands over eyes like glasses) 
I wave to my shadow, and my shadow waves to me. (Wave to each other) 
I run with my shadow, and my shadow runs with me. (Run in place) 
I love my shadow, and my shadow loves me. (Hug self)

Take it further:  Take some sidewalk chalk out with you and trace each other's shadows. Can you make your shadow "fit" the tracings again? Take pictures of your child's shadow and tracings to look at later.

Your child has already seen his/her shadow outside, but now it's time to "catch" it and make a special keepsake shadow--a construction paper silhouette.

The more still your child sits, the better the results.  Even if the results are not perfect, your child will still love hanging his/her "caught" shadow up for all to see!

"Catch" a Shadow - Silhouette Craft

Supplies needed:  large sheet of black construction paper, a light-colored piece of construction paper, Scotch tape, white chalk or crayon, scissors, glue stick, light source and a chair or stool for child to sit on

What to do:
  1. Tape a large sheet of black construction paper to a wall.
  2. Set up a light source to shine on the construction paper.
  3. Seat your child in front of the light so his/her shadow is cast on the paper.
  4. Using a piece of white chalk or a white crayon, trace around the shadow.  Remind your child to sit like a statue!
  5. Cut on the shadow outline.
  6. Glue your "caught" shadow onto a light-colored piece of construction paper.

Take it further:  Trace the shadows of some other objects and line them up to see if your child can identify what they are.  Have the objects available for matching the shadow with the object.  Let your child use a flashlight to create shadows of his/her toys.  Can your child figure out how to make the shadows bigger (move object toward the light) or smaller (move object away from the light)?

Get the batteries ready for your flashlight because your child is going to want to make all kinds of shadows--just like the groundhog!

**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.  
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