The U.S. definitely has some quirky holidays, but none more infamous than Groundhog Day. On February 2nd, the nation watches to see if a groundhog will see his shadow.
We all hope he does not, because that means summer is nigh! Here are some fun activities you can do with your children and students to get them informed and excited about Groundhog Day.
Watch the video clip below. It is very informative and has great pictures and real footage for the kids to see. All the therapy ideas in this activity will be based on the information provided in this short video clip (2 mins 48 secs).
After the video clip, ask the following questions...
After asking the above questions and/or reviewing the facts with the child or students, tell them they are a groundhog expert who is being interviewed on the news.
Pretend that you are a news reporter (and of course, you must be holding something resembling a microphone!) Ask them the following open ended questions.
Remind them to answer using full sentences, just as they would if they were really on the news.
Print and cut out the following synonyms and antonyms from page 1 of this free download and have the children make matches.
A few of these words may be new to the kids so this is also great vocabulary practice. Send home in a baggie for homework.
Half a dozen
Look at these pictures of a lizard and a groundhog or print out page 2 of the free download.
Then with the child, make a list of all the things that are the same and different about these two animals.
This would also be a great task for using descriptive language and making full sentences with new words, such as "scaly" and "rodent."
Print and cut out the following sentence strips on page 3 of the free download...
A groundhog comes out of her burrow.
She is very hungry!
The groundhog looks for food and eats as much as possible, all summer long.
The first frost freezes the ground.
The groundhog hibernates in her burrow all winter long.
On page 4 of the free download, have the children glue (or write) this sequence of events in correct order around the circle. Explain that it is a cycle; a continuum.
On the inside of the circle, let them draw a picture of the groundhog based on facts they have learned.
Send home for expressive language homework.
Read the (first) sentence aloud and have the child say the sentence using past tense.
Or, print page 5 of the free download and have the children decipher which sentence is past tense by circling it.
The groundhog is hibernating.
The groundhog hibernated.
The groundhog is climbing.
The groundhog climbed.
The groundhog is chewing.
The groundhog chewed.
The groundhog is chasing a bird.
The groundhog chased a bird.
The groundhog is eating.
The groundhog ate.
The groundhog is swimming.
The groundhog swam.
The groundhog is making a den.
The groundhog made a den.
The groundhog is taking a bath.
The groundhog took a bath.
I can't think of many things my own kids love more than turning off all the lights and playing with a flashlight.
Have a little fun with shadow play during your therapy session.
You can use this as a reward for good behavior/correct productions, or you can incorporate it into your speech and language therapy.
Use small objects that you have laying around the therapy room and have the children guess what shadow they are seeing on the ceiling using full sentences ("I see a paper clip!)
Have the child make animals with their hands and give you clues about what the animal is.
Play "I Spy" using the flashlight in the therapy room.
These are some great children's books about Groundhog's Day that encourage language development...
Cast shadows on the walls or ceilings of target sounds as you practice saying them.
Use the flashlight while you are looking at word lists and for every ten accurate productions the child gets to make a silly shadow on the wall, or eat the list of words pac-man style!
Get creative with this...there are so many language and articulation games that could be played using shadows!
Here's to hoping the Groundhog does not see his shadow...I know I'll be watching!
Happy Groundhog Day!
Groundhog Day Movie image courtesy of whatculture.com