St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. It is a national holiday in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, and around the world it is marked informally as a celebration of Irish culture and history. Traditional symbols associated with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations include the shamrock, whose three leaves are thought to represent the Holy Trinity, the colour green, rainbows, and of course pots of gold and leprechauns. According to Irish folklore, a leprechaun is a mischievous type of fairy who spends his time making shoes in the forest, and hides his gold in pots at the end of a rainbow. If a human captures a leprechaun, the leprechaun must grant the captor three wishes or show where his gold is hidden in order to be released.
From starting the day with green pancakes, to treasure hunts, parades, rainbow experiments and shamrock crafts, there are many fun ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your kids. One of my favourites is to engage in leprechaun shenanigans throughout the day.
You can bring the magic and mischief of the leprechaun into your house this St. Patrick’s Day with these easy ideas:
- Squeeze a few drops of green food colouring into the bottom of your child’s cereal, and then cover the food colouring with dry cereal. When you or your child adds milk to the cereal, it will magically turn green
- Place a shamrock sticker or temporary tattoo on your little one’s face or hand while she’s sleeping
- Turn picture frames upside down
- Hide everyday objects in unexpected places. Your child might find a shoe in the fridge, a teddy in the plants, or Dad’s clothes in her closet
- If each member of your family has a regular seat at the table, change the placemats around, or set your spot with your toddler’s cutlery (just make sure your little one doesn’t get yours!)
- Use repositionable tape to attach leprechaun hats or shamrocks onto pictures of family members
- Pour out some of your child’s regular cereal, and add Lucky Charms to the box. Cover the Lucky Charms with a thin layer of regular cereal. When the cereal is poured, there will be a special surprise
- Change name plaques on your kids’ bedroom doors
- Stick scraps of green felt in the doorway, or on a window sill as evidence that the leprechaun made a hasty escape
- Hide a few chocolate coins around the house. Think of unexpected places like inside a glove, a backpack pocket, or inside a toy car
- Replace shoelaces with green ribbon
- Carefully peel off a portion of the aluminum foil covering a single serve container of vanilla yogurt. Stir in a few drops of green food colouring, use a dab of non-toxic glue to reattach the foil, and allow your child to open the yogurt and discover the surprise.
- Draw shamrocks, leprechaun hats, or rainbows on bathroom mirrors with window crayons or dry erase markers
- Change the ringtone on your phone to Irish music
- Sprinkle gold dust (gold glitter) near the door
- Empty a box of crayons, and refill it with only green crayons
Whether you are of Irish heritage or not, may the luck of the Irish be with you this March 17th!