8 Ideas for a Kid-Friendly St. Paddy’s Day
By Janeen Lewis
If your favorite St. Patrick’s Day parades or celebrations are downsized this year or you are staying in, have a blast at home! Here are some ways to make St. Paddy’s Day a hit with your family.
Share the significance. People across the globe celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, on March 17, the date of St. Patrick’s death. It is believed that St. Patrick was born in the late 4th century in Britain. When he was 16, Irish raiders captured him and took him to Ireland as a slave. Six years later he escaped, and reunited with his family in Britain. When he became a cleric, St. Patrick returned to Ireland. He is credited with successfully spreading Christianity in Ireland, where he started monasteries, churches, and schools.
Go green. St. Patrick’s Day revelers usually participate in the “wearing of the green,” dressing in shirts, dresses, and plaid kilts in shades of green. Families don’t have to limit green to clothing. For fun, dye all liquids green—think milk and the toilet bowl water. Make your kids lime Kool-Aid or gelatin. Use face paint to decorate faces with shamrocks. Wear green beads and emerald costume jewelry from the dollar store.
Create clever crafts. Younger children can easily make shamrock hats and headbands, as well as rainbow-colored jewelry made with pipe cleaners and cereal or beads. Mosaic shamrocks or tissue-paper shamrock sun-catchers are great craft projects for older kids. Follow a “How to Draw” tutorial on YouTube and learn to sketch a rainbow shamrock, leprechaun, or Celtic cross. Paint Mason jars green and decorate them using an Irish theme. Light them up by putting battery-operated fairy lights or tea lights in the jars. Make a clover crown with tissue paper or felt shamrocks.
Compose lucky limericks. A limerick is a funny, five-line, one-stanza poem. English poet Edward Lear made this nonsense form of poetry popular in the mid-1800s, but limericks were probably named for the city and county of Limerick in Ireland. Let your kids try writing limericks. Visit poetry4kids.com (tinyurl.com/2p8tzpzr) to learn more about this poetry form. The website includes a free printable worksheet with limerick rules, and lines for kids to write their own limericks.
Find the pot of gold. Plan a scavenger hunt with clues written on construction paper shamrocks. If someone in the family is talented at writing limericks, let them make up the clues. Scatter the clues around the house on a trail that leads to a black pot filled with gold candy coins. Split the candy among all the kids in the family so everyone gets a share of the loot.
Visit virtually. Even if you can’t go to a St. Patrick’s Day parade or celebration, there are still ways to remotely soak up Irish music, dance, and culture. Families can virtually visit Dublin, Ireland, through St. Patrick’s Festival TV, a channel that shares Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day Festival. (Also see the YouTube channel “St. Patrick’s Festival.”) Visit stpatricksfestival.ie to view traditional Irish art, music, and storytelling. Or visit IB4UD at irelandbeforeyoudie.com and view “10 Virtual Tours of Ireland’s Most Famous Landmarks.” See 360-degree views of cliffs, castles, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, and emerald gardens and forests.
Check out lit-up landmarks. Since 2010, landmarks around the world light up on March 17 for the Global Greening initiative. Famous monuments and buildings that have lit up include Sydney’s Opera House in Australia, the Las Vegas “Welcome” sign, the Great Wall of China, the Empire State Building in New York City, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, and hundreds more.
Cook up some Irish eats.
St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without trying traditional Irish cuisine. Allrecipes.com has several Irish recipes. Whip up some corned beef and cabbage, bake a shepherd’s pie, try your hand at soda bread, or slow cook Irish stew made with lamb chops or beef. If you can’t make a feast, why not delight the family with a dessert like white-iced shamrock cookies? Or go decadent with Dublin Drop Cake, Irish tea cake, or Irish cream ice cream. Parents can top it all off with some Irish coffee.
Janeen Lewis is mom to Andrew and Gracie, a teacher, and a nationally published writer.