I know a lot of people think parents are getting a little over-the-top with holiday celebrations. But here's the deal: in our house, we love holidays. Big or small, we celebrate as many of them as we can. My kids get a kick out of all the little things we do, and it's a great opportunity to learn a little bit about the history and/or culture behind the holiday. And we're a little bit Irish and we're Catholic, so here are 7 easy ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
1. Build a leprechaun trap. The first time we ever had a leprechaun trap was when the first grade teacher at our elementary school assigned it to my oldest's class for homework. That was 10 years ago, and we've had at least one in our house every year since. And honestly, when I say build a leprechaun trap, I mean, let your kids do it. Let them raid the art supplies and the recycling pile. Give them glue, glitter, and gold coins (leprechauns love gold, you know). Use legos or blocks or play dough. Let them have at it. This is a great STEAM (that's science, technology, engineering, art, and math, by the way) activity. They can get creative, build, try out different ideas, and see if they work. We've never caught a leprechaun in one of traps, but maybe this year will be different...
2. Put together a St. Patrick's Day sensory bin. Kids too little to build a trap? Put together this sensory bin, instead! The dollar store has all things green and lots of cheap St. Patrick's Day trinkets. Grab a couple bags of green paper shred (or Easter grass), some foam shamrocks and other green things, and some fake gold coins and toss them in a bin. My kids love digging through the grass and finding all the hidden things.
3. Eat Lucky Charms cereal. No, this isn't an ad for the cereal. In fact, since I typically don't feed my kids cereal full of marshmallows for breakfast, I generally don't buy it. But, once a year, we have it in our house and it's a big treat for them.
4. Make a walking rainbow. If you've ever done this, you know what a cool experiment it is! You need 6 clear jars/glasses/cups, paper towels, some water, and red, blue and yellow food coloring. Put the jars in a circle and fill every other jar about 1/2 to 3/4 full of water. Add red food coloring to the first jar of water, yellow to the second jar of water, and blue to the third. Fold 6 paper towels into strips and put them between the jars, one end in each. Make sure the ones in the water jars are touching the water. Let them sit. Check them every once in a while to see the colors climbing the paper towels between jars. After several hours, you will have an entire rainbow, like magic!
5. Go On a Gold Hunt. Gather some fake gold coins, pennies, or anything you can find that is yellow. Hide them around your house and send your kids on a "gold hunt". Make it more interesting by setting a timer and seeing how many pieces they can find before it goes off. Of make it a race, seeing who can collect the most pieces of gold. Or have them team up to help each other.
6. Bless someone else with "the luck o' the Irish". Take some time to leave a treat for a neighbor or someone you love. Leave a card with it explaining that a leprechaun has blessed them with some luck. There is never a bad time to teach kids to show kindness to others.
7. Make a little mischief. Leprechauns love mischief! They might take things out and put them away in the wrong place, steal the gold out of a trap without being caught and hide it around the house, or leave a fun little note about why they are so hard to catch.