Parading down Greenville Avenue and clinking steins filled with unnaturally green beer may not be on the agenda for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as a parent, but that doesn’t mean that the day doesn’t have to be fun and festive! As an Irish girl myself (and one who loves to find any and all excuses for celebration), I love the traditions and casual fun the day brings. St. Patrick’s Day typically falls around the time Texas starts to warm up with delightful spring weather and the grass begins to turn greener – all the more reason to celebrate! Here are four fun (and simple!) activities to bring some luck of the Irish into your home with your littles this St. Patty’s day!
Start with a book!
The teacher in me always likes to gather a few books anytime a holiday rolls around. Especially for a day like St. Patrick’s Day, I want to introduce my children to who St. Patrick was, why we celebrate him and where the traditions stem from. The following books are a few kid-friendly reads to provide a little backstory before you begin all of your fun crafting, eating, and celebrating!
- St. Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaolo: Tomie dePaolo is one of my all time favorite children’s authors and illustrators. I grew up reading so many of his books and the storytelling is so well done. I love that this book explains the history of St. Patrick without getting too detailed and gives a glimpse as to why the day is recognized today, all while being beautifully illustrated.
- The Story of St. Patrick’s Day by Patricia A. Pingry: I love this series of books and how they break down the history behind certain holidays for kids, including this great book for St. Patrick’s Day. The language is age appropriate and the illustrations are adorable.
- Happy St. Patrick’s Day Curious George! by H.A. Rey: I love a good Curious George book and how many irish traditions this book covers! This is a great pick for younger kids and a great way to keep everyone involved – big and little kids alike!
- The Itsy Bitsy Leprechaun by Jeffrey Burton: Familiar tunes are a favorite in our house! As a former preschool teacher we often turned to books with similar tunes during holidays. Don’t be surprised if you hear this sweet song being sung for the rest of March.
Get crafty with some super simple shamrocks!
After all of that sitting and listening to books, I know my kids want to move around a bit and use their hands to make and create! One of my favorite easy St. Patrick’s Day crafts are marshmallow shamrocks. All you will need are: white paper, green paint, and large marshmallows for stamping (and munching). Pour the paint onto some paper plates and press one end of the marshmallow into the paint and then onto the paper. Stamp three circles and once the paint dries, draw a little stem on the bottom and you have some very adorable and easy shamrocks! (Tip: the jumbo size marshmallows are easier for little hands to hold.)
Check out these toddler-sized activities to introduce colors!
Snack time anyone?
Story time, learning, crafting – just reading about all of this fun makes me hungry for a snack. Time to string up some rainbow necklaces with fruit loops, yarn, and tape! Taping the end of the yarn makes the act of stringing and threading much easier for little hands and prevents fraying and frustration. This is a great St. Patrick’s Day activity for dexterity and fine motor manipulation while also talking about colors of the rainbow and the history of leprechauns.
St. Patrick’s Day Dinner
After a fun filled day of learning, creating, and snacking, let’s finish the day off with a fun traditional (kid-friendly) Irish meal. This dinner is a family favorite of ours and I love it because it is a one-sheet oven meal. This recipe incorporates some of the traditional Irish flavors but isn’t too intimidating for kiddos, and it is easy to customize for particular taste buds. For adults – dipping the sausage (aka: bangers) in some whole grain dijon mustard is the way to go as well as pairing dinner with a nice Guinness – you earned it after such a fun day with your kids!