St. Patrick's Day Activities for Kids

Celebrate the luck of the Irish with your wee one!

St. Patrick's Cupcakes
John Scott/E+/Getty Images

Even those who aren't Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day -- the day that honors the man who is credited with helping to bring Christianity to Ireland. While for many it is a religious celebration, it has definitely become a popular holiday as well, with parades and parties attracting just about everyone.

There are lots of way you can introduce your preschooler to this fun holiday and let them get in on the celebrating.

From parades and crafts to green foods, check out these St. Patrick's Day activities for kids.

Paint a Blarney Stone The real Blarney Stone, said to give the gift of gab to those who kiss it, can be found in Cork, Ireland. Make your own at home with your preschooler. Just head outside and find a stone suitable for painting -- any size will do. Wash it and dry it and then have at it. Use orange, green, and white paints; try your hand at a shamrock, paint expressions like "Kiss Me I'm Irish" -- whatever you and your little one like!

Make green foods. A lot of kids could do without corned beef and cabbage, the traditional American Irish meal of St. Patrick's Day. But meals can still be festive with an assortment of green foods and desserts. If you'd like to be authentic, but not necessarily green, try some of these other St. Patrick's Day recipes.

Attend a St. Patrick's Day parade. St. Patrick's Day is such a popular holiday, towns and cities across the United States hold parades to celebrate, and not just on March 17.

Parades are great fun for kids because they offer so much to see and do. From fire trucks to marching bands (if you think your child might be startled by the noise, consider bringing some earplugs), a parade is an activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Read books about St. Patrick's Day. To help your child understand what St.

Patrick's day is and why we celebrate, try reading some books about the holiday, as well as books that (on a simple level) explore a child's Irish heritage. Good titles include Clever Tom and the Leprechaun: An Old Irish Story (compare prices) by Linda Shute, and Hooray for St. Patrick's Day! (compare prices) by by Joan Holub and illustrated by Paul Meisel.

Make a rainbow. If you want to attract a leprechaun to your house (and who doesn't???) you are going to need to make a rainbow. With a little advanced planning, you can make fun, Jell-O ones.

  • Gather together boxes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple Jell-O as well as a bunch of clear plastic cups that are suitable for eating from.
  • Make the red Jell-O according to the package instructions. While it is still in liquid form, pour a small about of the Jell-O into the bottom of each glass -- about a sixth of the cup, but leaving room at the top.
  • When the read Jell-O has set (at least four hours), repeat with all the other colors. Don't make the next color until the previous color has set! When you are finished, you'll have a beautiful, edible rainbow! For more fun, top with a white whipped cream "cloud" and chocolate "gold" coins.

    Invite a leprechaun to come and visit. Whether you make the rainbow above or not, it might be a lot of fun for leprechauns to come and visit your home and leave treats for your preschooler. While cute, leprechauns can be very, very naughty. Some ideas for your leprechaun:

    • Green food coloring in the toilet bowl water
    • Turn things upside down such as chairs, cups, and toys.
    • Leave a note that says that the leprechaun has lost his shoe and that if your preschooler finds it, he'll also find some treasure. Hide a doll-sized shoe with some treasure -- gold chocolate coins, gold dollar coins, costume jewelry, etc.
    • Green food dye in the milk in the refrigerator
    • Leave green footprints on kitchen counters and floors (use washable green paint and a stamp)
    For more ideas, read How to Stage a Leprechaun Visit. To ensure that a leprechaun comes, you can even try making a leprechaun trap.

    Make St. Patrick's Day crafts. A great way to celebrate any holiday with your preschooler is to make crafts. Not only are they fun and give you a chance to spend quality time together, but they also make for some really cute decorations or gifts. This collection of crafts range from the simple (items can be found in your home) to the slightly more complicated (take a quick trip to the craft store), but they are all a lot of fun and all can be completed by a preschooler.

    Go green. While blue was the original color associated with St. Patrick's Day, now it's an Emerald Isle green. In the spirit of "going green" do something good for the earth in honor of St. Patrick, whether it is planting a tree or other plants, cleaning up a local park, or just resolving to do better in your own home. No you, won't wind up with a pot of gold for your efforts, but the rewards are definitely something you can treasure

    Continue Reading