Hello everyone! How has your challenge to connect been going? Have you been getting outside every day? Did you find a way to Go Green last week? My daughter and I had a great time getting places on our bike… Lucky for us the weather was gorgeous last week in Northern California.
This week we are honoring the groundhog and his special day by having some fun with our shadows. According to tradition on February 2nd the groundhog is said to emerge from hibernation; if it sees its shadow, it returns to its burrow for six weeks as a sunny day indicates a late spring, while a cloudy day would mean an early spring. If the sunny days we have been experiencing in our neck of the woods as of late are any indication of the weather we’re in trouble — but it sure does feel like an early spring around here!
Below I have listed five fun activities to do with your kids this week in honor of groundhog day on February 2nd. Feel free to choose one or do all five — up to you. I will be doing these activities with my family and coming back to post some pictures for your enjoyment. Don’t forget to bookmark this page so you can come back to see what we have done. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss next weeks activity!
Update February 5, 2015: The goundhog saw his shadow this year… be ready for 6 more weeks of winter! I have added some pictures of activities we have done with our shadows this week below, but I don’t think I will be able to any more for a while… We have 4 days of heavy rain expected here in Northern California thank goodness. We need it!
Activities for week #5 — Five ways to have fun with shadows
1. Play with your shadow
There are so many fun ways to play with your shadow. The imagination is an endless source of inspiration. You can have a tea party with your shadow, play games with your shadow, and even go on a nature hunt with your shadow.
My daughters favorite play time activity with her shadow is to be chased by it. On our morning walk her shadow falls behind her perfectly on one of our walking routes at this time of year. She loves to run away from it as if it were chasing her. She continually looks over her shoulder as she runs and runs chirping with excitement and giggling with joy. Below I have added a picture of her running and playing with her shadow this week. Oh to be a kid again!
2. Dance with your shadow
Put on some fun music in an outside area where you and your kids can see your shadows and have fun dancing with them. Feel free to add in shaker eggs and other musical instruments of choice. Kids love this activity. Add in more fun by turning off and on the music and having your kids freeze when the music stops — they will have a hard time not giggling at their silly frozen shadows.
3. Make shadow art
Use paper and any one of the following: paints, pens, pastels, charcoal, or crayons. Bring these outside to an area where the sun is shining and look for objects and plants to trace, shade, or paint the shadow of. Place your paper in the shadow, pick your artistic medium of choice, and get creative!
4. Take pictures of your shadow antics
This one is always a hit with my daughter — you can see some of our recent shadow fun in the featured photo above, and a picture of my family in the shadow below. It’s tough to find a way to take the picture without the camera being obvious. It’s also hard to take pictures of other people’s shadows without finding some part of your own shadow in frame, but it is sure is fun to try! Below is a picture that I added of my family taken while we were on a hike this week.
5. Trace your shadow
This one is both fun and educational. I can remember enjoying tracing my friends shadow on our designated spot on the playground in elementary school.
- Find a cement or asphalt area near you home where the sun shines most if not all day so you can become a human sundial. Driveways are the best if you have one that’s not shaded because shadows can grow quite long.
- Use Chalk to trace each other’s shadows at least 3 times throughout the day. Morning, mid-day, and late afternoon/early evening work great. Think of mealtimes as your cue to trace shadows, or set an alarm to go off.
- Write the time that you do each tracing next to each one.
- Use this activity as a platform to discuss why the shadow changes throughout the day and throughout the rest of the year. Ask your kids the questions below to get them thinking, then you can explain that our earth spins on its axis in a day and makes it way around the sun in a year to produce the changes that we see in our shadows. This activity is both fun and educational — can’t go wrong with that!
Questions to ask your kids:
- How are shadows made?
- Are the tracings the same?
- Why do you think that your shadow changes throughout the day?
- Do you think that your shadow also changes throughout the year?
Enjoy having fun with your shadows! I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below 🙂
— See you outside!
Other posts in this series:
- Get Outside & Connect — A 52 Week Challenge
- Create A Nature Journal
- Spy On Squirrels
- Take Your Camera For A Walk
- Go Green