The month of March means the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, and whether or not you're Irish, this is a fun day to celebrate! St. Patrick's Day is the Irish feast day honoring the missionary St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. It's a legal holiday in Ireland and a celebrated day in other countries, yet many American kids think of the day in terms of the color green, shamrocks, leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, and that lucky pot 'o gold.
There's lots family fun to be had on St. Patrick's Day! Here are a few ideas for enjoying this time of year with your kids:
- Wear green clothing—Whether you go all green or just wear an accent piece, it's fun to dress the part.
- Decorate the house—Cut out shamrocks and four-leaf clovers from green construction paper and tape them to the walls.
- Go for the gold—Unroll colored crepe paper to form a giant rainbow and tape it on a wall. Fill a pot with chocolate gold coins and little toys at one end and have your kids dive in.
- Show them where it is—Get out the globe or world map and find Ireland. Talk about why it's called "the Emerald Isle."
- Play Irish music—Sing along to songs like "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" and do an Irish jig!
- The write stuff—Teach your kids how to write a limerick.
- Make your own shamrock shake—Mix 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, and 1/2 cup mint ice cream in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Eat appropriately—Try some corned beef and cabbage or tint your food and drink green. St. Patrick's Day can be a good time to talk about the importance of green vegetables and actually get your kids to eat them! Green vegetables contain calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, B vitamins, and vitamin E as well as antioxidants, and fiber. Some of the most nutritious green vegetables include spinach, broccoli (which has been shown to possibly reduce cancer risk), and kale.
Consider these ideas for serving green vegetables at your St. Patrick's Day dinner (and every day):
-Create a veggie platter of all green vegetables—broccoli, green peppers, zucchini, sugar snap peas, and asparagus are delicious when dipped in low-fat dressing.
-Make spinach and cheese quesadillas—Layer shredded cheese and baby spinach leaves on a tortilla, top with a second tortilla and warm in a pan as you would a grilled cheese sandwich.
-Don't forget dessert! Mint chocolate chip ice cream, pistachio pudding or lime gelatin topped with slices of kiwi, green grapes or green apple wedges will hit the spot.