St. Patrick’s Day is not just a holiday for college kids and young adults—it has the potential to be such a magical holiday for kids (and their parents), and with the hopes of creating some joy-filled memories, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite activities for this underrated holiday.
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1. Have the “leprechauns” wreak harmless havoc overnight
If you’re a fan of the Elf on the Shelf, this may be up your alley. Play harmless pranks on your kids on behalf of the elves on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day: leave green footprints (cut small footprints out of green paper) throughout the house, swap kids’ clothes, leave a trail of Lucky Charms cereal or gold coins, etc. Just remember to keep the pranks light and fun!
2. Create “leprechaun traps”
In the same vein as above, help your kiddos create traps for leprechauns. Think: A decorated box held up by a stick or pipe cleaner with “treasure” (AKA gold coins) under it. The more creative and elaborate, the better!
3. Start the day with a green breakfast
I’m sure I’m not alone in preferring my food to be a “normal” color, even on a holiday, but kids are suckers for colorful food. You can of course add food coloring to any pancake recipe, or you can try these delicious St. Patty’s Day Banana Buttermilk Pancakes that use spinach for a natural pop of green (don’t worry, you can’t taste the spinach). You could also have a little fun and go Green Eggs and Ham here with some green scrambled eggs (either using dye or adding chopped green pepper and spinach).
4. Wear green
This is a standard one, but why not jazz it up and see how much green you can infuse into your outfit? Why stop at just a green shirt? Green pants, socks, shoes, makeup . . . heck, why not throw in some temporary green hair dye? (I’ve used these on my daughter’s blonde hair. I don’t know that it’d show up well on darker hair, however.)
5. Make a festive treat
For me as an adult, St. Patty’s Day is all about the Irish food (corned beef, Guinness stew, Irish soda bread, etc.). But, let’s be honest, that’s not what a preschooler is going to remember about the holiday. Create some culinary magic with these Lucky Charms Rice Krispie Treats from My Heavenly Recipes or this Classic Shamrock Shake from The Chunk Chef. Or, if you want to get fancy, make an Ireland-themed pavlova: topped with green whipped cream, sliced kiwi, and mandarin orange segments.
6. Create a shamrock potato stamp
I remember enjoying making potato stamps so much as a kid, and this is a great opportunity to relive some childhood memories. If you’re particularly skilled, you can cut the shape of a shamrock into your potato slice. Or you can do a heart and still create beautiful St. Patrick’s Day art, as shown here.
7. Go on a gold coin hunt
Using either gold-wrapped chocolate coins or homemade tokens (that’s a separate activity in itself!), create an Easter egg-style hunt. Bonus points if they have a “cauldron” to collect their gold in.
8. Host a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt
This is a great activity that can take place indoors or out, depending on the weather. You can either create your own list of items to find (think: a rainbow, something gold, the words “ St. Patrick’s Day,” something lucky, etc.), or utilize one of the numerous templates online, like this one from Etsy.
9. Make it a sensory experience
Most kids love play dough, kinetic sand, and the like. For an on-theme and hands-on activity, try this rainbow play dough recipe from The Frugal Navy Wife or this festive slime from Little Bins for Little Hands.
10. Create themed fingerprint or handprint art
I am an absolute sucker for any projects that document how tiny my kid’s fingers and hands are, and a holiday is a great excuse for that. And because there’s very little artistic “skill” required, these projects are less daunting for the little ones. A couple of my favorites are this rainbow pot of gold, using tiny fingerprints from Crafty Morning and a handprint rainbow from The Parenting Patch. But you can find so many more ideas on Pinterest! (I have some of my favorites saved here.)