Saturday, January 29, 2011

Vintage Valentine Clipart Pages to print, cut and share!

We found vintage Valentines Day Cards!  Click on each image to open the pdf file so you can then print and cut them out to share

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Groundhog Day with kids!

Last year Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter.
What will Punxsutawney Phil do this year?

Groundhog Day is a fun holiday that is observed in the United States and Canada on February 2nd each year. Punxsutawney Phil lives at Gobblers Knob near Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania.  Every year people visit Punxsutawney on the Second day of February to watch Punxsutawney Phil come out of his hole and playfully predict the duration of our winter’s weather.  

We completely focus on weather and weather reporting during the last week of January and all of February and it is always fun to add in a little fun when Punxsutawney Phil predicts the weather too.

Originating in Germany, people believed that when they started to see badgers that spring was close behind.  They would use these sightings as a sign of when they should begin to plant their first crops of the New Year. Some groups of German immigrants settled in central Pennsylvania. Due to the fact that badgers are not native to this area, groundhogs (a close looking cousin of the badger) were used in predicting the weather.  As time moved on this became a fun way to predict spring and ward off the winter blues. Today, this is a fun tradition and a huge celebration in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. 

The kids start their weather charts during the last week of January.  We chart the temperature, precipitation, weather patterns and predictions.  This is a fun and educational study on the science of predicting the weather and its changes.  

Lauren likes to color in a graph every year of the inches of precipitation and temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit.  Matthew likes to chart weather patterns in each of the major climate zones (polar, temperate, mountain, desert and tropical) of the U.S.  He makes his own weather predictions and hypotheses that he keeps in a science journal.  

All this is great fun and Punxsutawney Phil just adds a little extra fun to our lessons.

Groundhog Fun Facts:
- The National Geographic Society says the groundhog weather predictions are correct only one out of every three times.
- Groundhogs rarely wander more than 1/2 mile from their burrow.
- By mid-October, groundhogs will begin hibernation and will sleep through January or early February.
- The groundhog has excellent eyesight.
- Groundhogs are able to climb trees.
- The life span of a groundhog is 5 years.
- Groundhogs can swim.
- Groundhogs are sometimes perceived to be pests.
- The average groundhog is 20 inches long and normally weighs from 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil weighs about 20 pounds and is 22 inches long.
- Groundhogs are covered with coarse grayish hairs (fur) tipped with brown or sometimes dull red. They have short ears, a short tail, short legs, and are surprisingly quick. Their jaws are exceptionally strong.
- A groundhog's diet consists of lots of greens, fruits, and vegetables and very little water. Most of their liquids come from dewy leaves.
- A groundhog can whistle when it is alarmed. Groundhogs also whistle in the spring when they begin courting.
Insects do not bother groundhogs and germs pretty much leave them alone. They are resistant to the plagues that periodically wipe out large numbers of wild animals. One reason for this is their cleanliness.
- Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really hibernate. Hibernation is not just a deep sleep. It is actually a deep coma, where the body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, the heart barely beats, the blood scarcely flows, and breathing nearly stops.
- Young Groundhogs are usually born in mid-April or May, and by July they are able to go out on their own. The size of the litter is 4 to 9. A baby groundhog is called a kit or a cub.
- A groundhog's life span is normally 6 to 8 years. Phil receives a drink of a magical punch every summer during the annual Groundhog Picnic, which gives him 7 more years of life.

Groundhog Day Cookies
Prep. Time: 12 minutes plus chilling time
Baking time: 8-10 minutes per batch
Yield: 2-3 dozen medium to large cookies

2 Cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup molasses
1 egg yolk
1 egg, slightly beaten
Currants or cut up raisins 

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Blend in the molasses and egg yolk. Gradually stir in the flour mixture and mix well. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place small amounts of dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and cover with plastic wrap, leaving the dough you aren't using in the fridge until you need it. Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies using a lightly-floured cookie cutter.  Place the cookies on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Brush with the slightly beaten egg. Decorate with currant or raisin eyes. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from the cookie sheet.

Groundhog Day Crafts: 
Pop Up Groundhog 
Have children color a picture of a groundhog and glue to a Popsicle stick. Poke a hole in the bottom of the cup for the stick to fit through. Children can hide the groundhog in the cup (burrow) and pop him up to see his shadow.
Groundhog Paper Bag Puppet
Print the paper bag puppet pattern and color. Cut out and paste onto a lunch bag.  Click HERE and HERE for printout

Groundhog Day Activities: 
Shadow Fun
Experiment with light and shadows.

Groundhog Day Explorations:
Visit the websites of Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie. Learn all about groundhogs and their special day through books, the internet, pictures, and discussions.
Explore how shadows are created.

Groundhog Reading:
Check your local library for any of the books (below) or click on the photos to order. (They will have pictures showing in the blog)

Groundhog Songs, Poems, Finger-plays

Wake up, Groundhog
Wake up, Groundhog,
Time to see
What the weather's going to be
Time to stretch, time to think
Time to eat, and time to drink.
Wake up Groundhog
Time to see
What the weather's going to be!

Two Little Groundhogs
Two little groundhogs in a burrow so deep
Stick out their heads to take a peek.
They look to the left.
They look to the right.
They hide from their shadows in the bright sunlight!

Making Shadows
(Sung to: Twinkle, Twinkle)
Shadows big and shadows small
I see shadows on the wall
Shadows here and shadows there
Lots of shadows everywhere
All the shadows that I see
Big or small, they don't scare me.
Shadows, shadows - oh what fun
I can make them in the sun
I will make some big and tall
I will make some short and small
I make shadows by the light
In my room so late at night

Monday, January 24, 2011

National Peanut Butter Day and National Compliment Day!

Today is National Compliments Day, when everyone is encouraged to raise public spirits by giving a kind word and positive boost to a friend, a family member, work colleague or total stranger.

The campaign is based on the principle that a sincere compliment costs nothing to give, but has the power to bring instant happiness to a person.

It also happens to be National Peanut Butter Day!  Peanut butter was first created in 1890 by a St. Louis doctor as a remedy for bad teeth. It became very popular with the doctor's patients, but the oil often separated from the grainy solids. In 1933, a California packer was able to homogenize the peanuts into a spreadable butter.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

National Popcorn Day with kids!

by Louisiana Children Discovery Center
National popcorn day 2011 is on January 19th – try and celebrate this day, in your own special way by sharing and having popcorn.  We have a few fun ideas to share with you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fun Facts about Snowflakes

Let it Snow Party!

Today we had a really awesome celebration of snow and winter. We love winter and all of our winter activities. So we decided to celebrate the season. We choose to give the kids a “Let it Snow” Party!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

About Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Saturday, January 15, 2011

National Hat Day

National Hat Day is set aside to wear and enjoy a hat of your choice and style. Isn't it great that hats come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles? There's one to fit every size head and personality. Often, hats are used to make a statement, or to promote a cause or a product.
Oh yeah... hats have logical uses, too. Some hats (Aka helmets), offer safety protection. Some hats keep your head warm....how boring.
National Hat Day is not intended to just keep  you warm. Its a chance to make a statement and to display you favorite headgear. We suggest you wear a number of different hats over the course of the day.

Who knew there was so many types of hats, take a look....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

India Kite Festival

Friday is Uttarayan - Indian's most celebrated holiday.  The kids are going to make their own kites today and then we will visit the beach on Friday to fly them.  Below is the history of Uttarayan and step by step instructions on how to make your own kite.  UPDATE:  We are fortunate to have a friend that is from India.  He gave us a few kites from India to fly today.  I posted the pictures at the bottom.  It was very windy so we didn't do that well but it was worth every try!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Visiting the Comcast Center

Yesterday, we took the kids on a wonderful day trip into Philadelphia to visit the Comcast Center building. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Amelia Earhart Day

About Amelia Earhart Day

January 11, 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first person, man or woman, to fly solo across the pacific.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Snowy Day Crafts

Its snowing again in the North East!  We wanted to find some different craft ideas for the kids to do inside the house and then outside the house!!  Here is what we found:

Sunday, January 02, 2011

National Science Fiction Day

National Science Fiction Day Is January 2, Isaac Asimov’s Birthday

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

One of our traditions for New Years Day is the Philadelphia Mummers Parade.  We either watch them on TV or stand on the sidelines to watch.   
Credit: R. Kennedy for GPTMC

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