By Christy Piña
Every morning on Feb. 2, Americans across the country awake, half of them hoping for a quick start to spring and the other half in hope of six more weeks of winter. It is up to Punxsutawney Phil to either break some hearts or mend them.
The earliest mention of Groundhog Day in the United States is 1840, in Morgantown, Pennsylvania. It became an official day on 1887, and every year since Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney has been the site of the phenomenon. If Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his burrow and sees his shadow, spring will not be coming. If he does not see his shadow spring is said to come six weeks early. Because of this concentration on shadows, it is the perfect time to teach children about them!
These three activities are perfect for teaching young children about shadows, just in time for Groundhog Day!
Turn off all the lights and get a flashlight. Point the flashlight at a wall, and show your child how to make a hand puppet with their shadow.
To teach your children the difference between transparent, translucent and opaque items, let them shine a flashlight on objects in a darkened room. Tell your children that if the object is transparent, the light will shine completely through. If it is translucent, then some light will pass through. If it is opaque, no light will shine through at all. Have them predict which objects they think will cast a shadow and which ones will not. Learn more about this fun activity at Wehavekids.com
Sundials make use of shadows to keep track of the hours of the day. Make your own sundial with your little one as a fun, shadow-related activity! You can find instructions for making your own simple sundial at Skyandtelescope.com