Lads and lasses, get ready to celebrate a “wee-bit of fun” this weekend on St. Patrick’s Day. March 17th is an Irish holiday honoring Saint Patrick, the missionary credited with converting the Irish to Christianity (in the A.D. 400’s). In America, Saint Patrick’s Day is basically a time to wear green and party. The first American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day was in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1737. As the saying goes, on this day “everybody is Irish!” Over 100 U.S. cities now hold Saint Patrick’s Day parades, the largest held in New York City. Green is associated with this holiday because it is the color of spring, Ireland, and the shamrock. Children love the legend of the tiny magical people called Leprechauns. So, try these activities for a “wee” bit of fun this holiday season.
Doing the shamrock stomp: (baby & toddler)
Put on some music (like an Irish jig or McNamara’s Band) and invite your child to dance along with you. For young babies, hold them in your arms while you dance. Encourage him to come up with a variety of ways to move to the music. To do the “Shamrock Stomp”, cut out large shamrock shapes from green construction paper. Tape these to the floor. Start the music and have your child move and jump from shamrock to shamrock. This is a fun way for your youngster to express himself on St. Patrick’s Day and great for practicing large motor skills. Masking tape on the floor can be another entertaining movement game. Stick the tape on the floor to make a design, such as a zigzag, a circle, triangle or a star. Let your child move along, over and around the lines as they please.
How about the shamrock shimmy? (preschool+)
Here’s a fun locomotion game to play with your child. It’s even better if you can gather other family members or friends. Cut several small shamrocks from green construction paper. Write instructions on the one side like: hop like a bunny, gallop like a horse, crawl like a snake, walk like an elephant, whistle like a leprechaun, skip, walk backwards, etc. Place these instructional shamrocks in a container on the other side of the room. Play this like a relay race, as the first person runs to the pile, takes a shamrock and does what it says while returning to his/her team, then sits down. Station an adult to help read the instructions. The next team member proceeds the same way until everyone has a turn. Another fun St. Paddy game is “Irish Hot Potato.” Sit all players in a circle. Hand one child a potato. Explain that when the music begins they will pass the potato to the person on their right. When the music stops whoever’s holding the potato scoots out of the circle and playing resumes. Who will end up in the circle alone with the potato? Play some Celtic or Irish Jig music to get into the spirit, although any music will do.
Let the games begin! (elementary)
Kids love to play “Pictionary”, but today do it with a St. Patrick’s Day theme. Put papers with an Irish theme on it (leprechaun, rainbow, pot of gold, shamrock, Irish jig, four-leaf clover, etc.) Divide your family and friends into two groups. Flip a coin to see which team goes first. Invite a child from the playing team to approach a chalkboard or large sheet of paper. He picks a slip of paper from the pile and reads it to himself. Use a timer and set it for a minute or two. On your mark, the child should then draw the object in hopes that his team members will guess the object. If the team guesses correctly, before times runs out, they score a point. If the playing team does not guess correctly, the other team has five seconds to try to come up with the correct answer. If they guess correctly they score a point and it is their turn to play. Another fun game is “Word Find”. Take a St. Patrick’s Day related word such as shamrock, chocolate, Leprechaun, rainbow, etc. and find as many little words as possible before the timer runs out. Here’s an example:
Shamrock= rock, ram, ham, sock, mock, shock, am, ma,…..