The Greening of the Canal and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade are some of our favorite things to do in Indy in the spring. But your family can celebrate Irish culture for the whole month of March with special foods, music, dancing, crafts, and lots, and lots of green.
Check out these 50 kid-friendly ways to bring out the Irish in you. After all, everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Kids
Top O’ the Mornin’ to Ya! Start your St. Paddy celebration off on the right foot with a breakfast befitting a leprechaun. Make pancake mix according to instructions, then divide batter into separate bowls and use food coloring to tint each one a different color. Cook up as you normally would, then serve your ROY G. BIV short stack topped with whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. Whip up a version of “Irish Bacon” to go with your flapjacks.
Bake Green Treats
The easiest and tastiest in our opinion is green Rice Krispie treats. Try adding green food coloring to sugar cookie dough or cake batter too. Don’t forget to dye your icing! Pick up some edible gold glitter to really make your treats sparkle.
Traditional Irish Feast
Did you know Corned Beef and Cabbage were not traditional St Patrick’s Day food in Ireland because beef was much more expensive so they used bacon. Check out this recipe for salted pork and cabbage along with other traditional Irish dishes like Smoked Salmon, Black and White pudding, Barmbrack and Boxty. Bain Taitneamh As (Enjoy).
Rainbow Skittle Science
Let the kids create their own rainbow! For this science activity, you will need a bag of skittles, a white plate, and ¼-⅓ cup of warm water. (Tropical skittles, if you can find them, are fun because they have blue in the mix, but any will work.) To set up, have your little helper make a ring of skittles around the inner rim of the plate in a pattern or random assortment. They will gently pour the warm water over the middle plate until it reaches the candy. The warm water will slightly melt the candy coating, releasing sugar and food coloring to form rainbow streaks to the center of the plate.
Rainbow Science Take 2
Create a moving rainbow with simple household ingredients. We use a round, rimmed pizza tray. Pour enough milk to cover the tray then randomly drop squirts of food coloring throughout.. Surround the rim with drops and place a few throughout the middle as well. Soak a cotton ball in blue dish soap then gently set the cotton ball into the middle of the milk. The chemical reaction will cause the food coloring to start moving and in a few minutes you will have a moving swirl of rainbows. It’s beautiful.
Rainbow Jar Density
Make a rainbow no matter the weather, plus learn about density with some stacked simple solutions. All you need is sugar, water, food coloring (red, yellow, green, blue), and five clear containers. (A spoon and pipette or turkey baster can be used to make things easier, but are optional.) Add equal amounts of water (¼- ½ cup in each, depending on container size) to four containers and add different food color to each one. Stir tablespoons of sugar into the jars, using 4 for blue, 3 green, 2 yellow, and 1 red. You have created different densities for the liquids, with blue having the highest density. Pour it first into your empty jar, followed in order from the greatest to least density. If you are using a spoon, pour liquids over the back side of the spoon. If using a pipette, empty it along the side of your container. No matter what you are using, putting slow is key. Enjoy your layered rainbow in a jar!
Rainbow Nature Hunt
Head out into nature, on a hike or in your backyard, in search of all the colors of the rainbow. Here is a free printable to take along with you, or create a sticky “bracelet” with a loop of shipping tape sticky side out, to attach the colorful treasures you may find.
Kids of all ages enjoy this classic science experiment. You will need six clear containers, water, red/ yellow/ blue food coloring, and paper towels. Allow your lovely assistant to fill 3 of the containers with water. Arrange your containers in a circle, in an alternating water-filled and empty container pattern. Add drops of food coloring to the water so you have separate red, yellow, and blue containers. Join the containers with napkins submerged in liquid and leading to the empty jar. Water travels from the filled jars to empty jars through capillary action, combining the red, yellow, and blue primary colors to form secondary colors of orange, green, and purple in the empty jars to complete your rainbow.
St. Patrick’s Day Storytime
Some of our favorite sweet (and silly) stories to celebrate the holiday include books from a few popular children’s series. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Clover, How to Catch a Leprechaun, and Pete the Cat’s The Great Leprechaun Chase are great read-alouds to get your little leprechauns excited for the holiday.
Whip up a homemade batch of salt dough, soda dough, foam dough, or good old-fashioned playdough. Separate dough into six equal pieces to color red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple with food coloring for some St. Patrick’s Day sensory fun. Add colored beads and other baubles for sensory fun.
Grow Your Own shamrocks
Did you know shamrocks are great potted plants? On a day that is all about being green, get your green thumb out! Pre-order a pack of shamrock seeds and sow some seeds together. Add even more holiday spirit by painting your pots gold before planting.
Watch a Flick
We love the kid- friendly animated Irish folklore trilogy that includes “The Secret of Kells”, “Song of the Sea”, and the more recently released “Wolfwalkers.” Additionally, “Luck of the Irish” is a great family friendly comedy and “Leap Year” is a great option for romantic comedy. Check out this list for some more “adult” themed movies.
Make St. Patrick’s Day Popcorn
St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt
On St. Patrick’s Day we like to “hunt” things that are green, gold and rainbow colored. Here are a few ideas to get you started: a green veggie or shirt, a rainbow hair bow or drawing and a clock or picture frame that’s gold. Have fun and get creative, maybe the rainbow is the prism on the wall from a window or the gold is your wedding ring, use what you have at home already for this no cost idea.
Get down on the ground and doodle some shamrocks to line the sidewalk or cover the driveway. Make a green hopscotch to work out some wiggles, or even try your hand at homemade rainbow sidewalk chalk paint, easy to create with a few pantry staples.
Melted Crayon Rainbow
Create beautiful gallery worthy art with a rainbow of crayons. Hot glue new crayons to the top of a canvas. Then shoot a hairdryer (on its highest setting) onto the crayons. They will melt and flow down the canvas creating a gorgeous palette of color. Tape off an initial or shape before the melting begins for a personal touch.
Last year we had so much fun on our daily walks when the neighbors all “hid” shamrocks in their front windows. Coordinate with the neighbors to place large shamrocks on their windows in the week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Kids will have fun seeking out the decor.
Learn Irish Dance
Any idea what a hop back, side seven, or skip means? Neither did we until we researched how to Irish dance. Beginning dance videos are over the internet. Clear some space and perfect that jig.
Do you know why a shamrock is a token of good fortune? Or why one could wear BLUE instead of green? Why is there a Pot-of-gold at the end of a rainbow? Borrow some library books or research online and discover why we have these traditions.
Doodle a Leprechaun
Grab a pencil and some paper because our favorite art teacher has some super easy doodles on her YouTube channel. Check out her St. Patty’s themed ones and visit often for seasonal updates!
History dictates that if you’re wearing green on St. Pattys day the leprechauns can’t see you. Did you know blue used to be the official color of Ireland? Why not stand out in a sea of green and sport some blue this St Patrick’s Day.
Learn About Leprechauns
Did you know if you catch one of these mischievous little elves they have to tell you where their treasure is hidden? Did you know there is no such thing as a female leprechaun? Read up on their origins, pop culture references and other facts. Quiz the kids while you’re enjoying your St. Patrick’s Day feast.
Make an Irish Flag
This can be as easy as coloring a pre-printed page of the Irish flag or cutting and pasting white, green and orange on a poster board. Grab some scrap fabric or felt and glue or sew your own tricolour! Research the symbolism each color represents and talk about it’s history to turn this into a history lesson as well as a craft.
Tour Ireland Virtually
The Emerald Isle is a dream vacation for many. Visit castles, cliffs, museums, and parks all from the comforts of your couch.
Learn about St. Patrick
Did you know St. Patrick wasn’t Irish? See why this British born son of a Christian deacon is celebrated every year. We found some awesome historical info from the history channel’s website.
DIY Pot of Gold
We hit the dollar tree for little clay pots. You could use empty jelly jars or yogurt cups for this fun craft as well.. Paint the “pots” black and add gold coins or yellow “coin” cutouts. Glue a couple coins to the sides so they look like they are overflowing the pot. You can leave as is or decorate your pot with gold glitter or stickers. These would be excellent for leprechaun traps as well.
Make a leprechaun trap
Making a leprechaun trap can be as simple as leaving a trail of sugary, rainbow cereal leading to a propped up box lid. Why not make a rainbow path leading to a ladder of sticks or stairs of legos to a jazzed up shoebox covered with green paper and a hole cut in the lid to “trap” him inside. Make a plan and get creative; do you think it’ll work?
“ShamRock” Your Neighbors
We have had a blast “Booing” and “Jingling” our neighbors over the past holidays so we are spreading luck to “ShamRock” them too. Kids can draw or color shamrocks and tape them to the neighbors doors with a little note of luck. You can leave a few gold coins, a leprechaun or a sweet treat too.
Leprechauns love gold, so making some golden slime sounds like just the ticket. Alter your favorite slime recipe to use clear glue and gold glitter to jazz it up, or go big and color your slime green and add tiny pieces of gold leaf to the mix!
Bake Soda Bread
The kids will love helping make this delicious easy to make bread. It uses simple ingredients and tastes best just out of the oven. Have the kids help adding ingredients and kneading the dough.
St Patty’s Bingo
We found an adorable bingo card that even the little ones will enjoy. We love that there is a black and white option (color ink is so expensive) and the kids can color the squares in before the bingo game begins. Use chocolate gold coins or Rolos as markers for added flair.
Attend a Virtual Parade
Check your and see if the annual parade will be shown on TV or via a link. If not, find old parade clips on YouTube to get your bag-pipe and marching band fix for the holiday.
DIY Shamrock Shake
We LOVE McDonald’s seasonal shakes, especially the St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Shake, and apparently, many of you do too because they are sold out almost every time we try to buy one so we decided to start making our own. It’s super easy and tastes like the real thing.
Cut out shamrock shapes from rough or textured paper, we like sandpaper. Using a piece of white paper on the rough paper use a variety of green crayons and rub over until you see the shamrock shape come through.
Slather green paint on your toddlers palm and press onto plain paper. Repeat two (for a shamrock) or three (for a four-leaf clover) more times and paint a little stem at the bottom. A great way to commemorate how small our little one’s hands are. Don’t forget to write the year on it.
Rainbow Paper Chain
Tape or staple the colors of the rainbow together to make links. Hang from the mantel, behind the couch, or in the kid’s room for a bright, festive touch.
Painted Handprint Leprechaun
Paint the palm of your child’s hand a skin tone color and the fingers red or orange for the beard. Press onto construction paper and add a big green hat and his face.
Paper Handprint leprechaun
Trace your kiddo’s handprint onto orange or red paper for the beard. Cut out a face shape in a skin tone color to glue above the beard. Continue with a cut-out top hat and facial features.
Surprise Ball of Lucky Things
Use foil, plastic wrap, wrapping paper or crepe paper to roll little lucky trinkets into a ball or luck. Gold chocolate coins, shamrock erasers, charms, stickers or anything else small and “lucky” will work and the kids will have fun unrolling new surprises. Hit the dollar shop for inexpensive little treats.
Send Some Luck
Send a bit o’ luck to loved ones near or far with handmade cards. Draw or trace four leaf clovers or a rainbow leading to a pot of gold. Write a simple note wishing good fortune upon them this year. Easy peasy.
Listen to Irish Music
Folk music, Punk, Rock and other genres comprise the lush landscape of Ireland’s musical history. Enjoy the sounds of flutes, fiddles, tin whistles, pipes, accordions and more. The most popular song “Danny Boy” has been covered by many famous singers from Elvis and Conway Twitty to Roy Orbison and Andy Williams. There is even an entire soundtrack to the recently released animated movie Wolfwalkers that is full of Irish Folklore.
Leprechaun on a Shelf
We know many parents don’t have an elf-on-a-shelf in December because it is so involved, messy and requires a lot of preparation and creativity. However, leprechauns only “visit” the night before St. Patrick’s Day. One night of mischief is much easier to handle and there is not a creepy doll supposedly watching your every move for a month. This one night a year is something we can get behind.
Glue Fruit Loops or Fruity pebbles into a rainbow shape. Use cotton balls or marshmallows as clouds at one end and draw a pot-of-gold at the other.
Paper Plate Rainbow
Cut a plain white paper plate into a cloud shape and cut out stripes of ROYGBIV colors to hang off. Try tissue paper, cardstock, crepe paper, or use crayons to color big stripes of colors.
Make Green Flowers
This is a super easy science experiment. Place a lot (the more the better) of green food coloring into a jar of warm water. Cut the stem of a white carnation on the diagonal and place in the water. In about 24 hours the white will change to green. Teach the kids about absorption and transpiration and how it causes the water to evaporate from the leaves, the dye is left behind on the petals.
Learn Irish Words
Sláinte! Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit! Erin go bragh! Good health! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! Ireland forever! Immerse yourself more into Irish culture by learning how to say some common Irish phrases.
We love hanging all our holiday crafts on a blank wall then using them as a backdrop for a photo booth. This is a great way to capture the creativity of the kids abilities and instead of keeping every bit of craft projects they do. Add some fun accessories and let the kids get silly while you snap photos.
Leprechauns need homes, too! Bring your Christmas tradition into the new year, and build a little leprechaun house. Build your walls with homemade gingerbread, toaster pastries, or Graham crackers, then deck it out with green and rainbow candies or cereal to make a house fit for a leprechaun
DIY Shamrock Stamps
Stamp activities are like magic to littles, so what better way than to have them make their own? The easiest way to make a shamrock shaped stamp is to save the top portion of a bell pepper when cutting. Use the stem to hold your pepper while you dip in paint and then stamp away on a clean sheet of paper. Doing this as a family activity? Keep bigger kids entertained by having them go old school and carve their shamrock out of a halved potato.
Minute To Win It
Encourage some friendly competition with the kids, or play along yourself with some fun minute-to-win-it games. No need to buy anything extra, just use what you have leftover from your other activities here. See who can sort colored candies the quickest, move marshmallows without their hands, make towers of gold coins or regular pocket change. Set the timer on your phone’s stopwatch and go!
Homemade Lucky Charms
If you’re looking for a delicious alternative to the store bought cereal make your own. Take our advice and just cut your marshmallows into squares instead of the hearts, moons, diamonds and clovers like the original. It’s labor intensive but oh-so-worth the results.
Go n-éirí leat! We wish you the luck of the Irish with all of your St. Patrick’s Day festivities.