St. Patrick's Day Fun for Toddlers
Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, even the littlest lads and lasses. From shamrock-inspired crafts to tasty green treats, these St. Patrick's Day ideas are sure to get you and your little leprechaun in the holiday spirit. Sláinte!
Put On Some Green
One of the easiest ways to get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day is to dress in green. Make sure you and your little one don’t get pinched (a holiday tradition started by school kids) by putting on at least one article of clothing that is green, even if it’s just a pair of socks! If you’re feeling lucky, go all out and help your toddler dress head, shoulders, knees, and toes in green.
And don’t stop there! Pull out all your green beads, bracelets, and bows. Pick up a pair of shamrock shades. You can even use theatrical face paint or a green eye shadow pencil to draw a green shamrock on your toddler’s cheek.
Eat Like a Leprechaun
Don’t just be green … eat green this St. Patrick’s Day! Add a few drops of green food coloring to a whole variety of dishes that will make your toddler shriek with amazement. Try green mashed potatoes, green scrambled eggs, green milk, green ice cream, or green pancakes (shaped like shamrocks, of course). Or offer a smorgasbord of foods that are naturally green—green apples, kiwi, green grapes, and green Jell-O—on the St. Patty’s Day menu.
Create a Lucky Cookie
Holidays are a sweet time to roll out some sugar cookies. These use shamrock cookie cutters, green frosting, and white piping. Have one as a special afternoon treat, then put a few on green plates and deliver them to friends and neighbors.
Sham-Rock the House
Bring a little Irish cheer to every room with the help of your little leprechaun. Snip shamrocks out of green construction paper (hint: cut out and assemble three hearts and attach them at the points, then add a stem if you wish). Next, follow your wee one around the house, letting her choose where to hang the shamrocks. While you’ll still have to handle the taping, she’ll be delighted to be in charge of the St. Patrick’s Day decorations.
Do the Shamrock Stomp
Traditional Irish music can get anyone’s toes tapping. So this St. Patrick’s Day turn on an Irish jig or reel and dance along with your little leprechaun. (Download a few from iTunes or stream directly from LiveIreland.com.) Let the music inspire their fancy footwork. Or, use some of the shamrocks you made from construction paper to decorate your house and tape them to the floor. Tell your toddler to hop from shamrock to shamrock. If you’re spending part of the day with your playgroup, you can play musical shamrocks.
Sing an Ode to the Emerald Isle
Toddlers love to sing, so take a few familiar tunes and give them St. Paddy’s Day lyrics:
I’m a Little Shamrock (sung to the tune of “I’m a Little Teapot”)
I’m a little shamrock see my leaves.
Count my three petals if you please.
If you give me water and lots of sun,
I’ll bring you good luck and lots of fun.
Catch Him If You Can (sung to the tune of “The Muffin Man”)
Oh! have you seen a leprechaun ,
a leprechaun, a leprechaun?
Oh! have you seen a leprechaun
who came from Ireland?
On St. Patrick’s Day (sung to the tune of “The Mulberry Bush”)
Let’s wear green and dance a jig,
Dance a jig, dance a jig.
Let’s wear green and dance a jig,
On St. Patrick’s Day.
Give Two Thumbs Up
Thumbprint shamrocks are a perfect craft for tiny toddler fingers. Using green tempera paint, dip your child’s thumb into the paint and then stamp it on to a sheet of white paper three times (once facing right, once facing the top of the paper, and once facing left) to make a shamrock. For extra luck, make it a four-leaf clover … or a whole field of them!
Make a Rainbow
During quiet time, tell your tiny tot about leprechauns and their constant quest for gold at the end of the rainbow. Later, help your toddler make her own rainbow using a paper plate and red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple crepe paper streamers. (See the full directions here.) This festive (and super easy!) craft will fascinate your little one. Not only will she have fun enticing leprechauns to find the end of the rainbow, it’s also a great way to start talking about all the colors.
Flagged for Fun
After talking about the colors of the rainbow, look at a photo of the Irish flag and talk about its three colors—green, white, and orange. Help your toddler think of other things that are those colors. (This is a great game to play when you are out running errands, too.) You could even create a green, orange, and white collage using scraps of paper and magazines, string, buttons, and any other trinkets you’ve got lying around the house.
Have a Green Read
Your darling snapper will not only enjoy these whimsical books but will also learn a wee bit about the holiday and the country of Ireland in the meantime. Who knows … you may be inspiring the next James Joyce!
Have a Shamrock Hunt
Although a rainy day might seem more appropriate for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, if you find yourself with pleasant weather take your Irish celebration outdoors. Borrow from the Easter tradition of egg hunts and take your tot on a hunt for shamrocks, gold coins, and leprechauns all over your yard.
Take In a Parade
What would St. Patrick’s Day be without a parade? Take your toddler to see the festivities in your community. Check out online listings of St. Patrick’s Day events near you. Not only is it just nice to get out of the house after a long winter, but there’ll be plenty to keep you and your little one entertained … from dancing and music to folks wearing green, and most likely a fire engine or two. What more could a toddler ask for?
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