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Nine Things to do on St. Patrick's Day for Kids

Get in the Irish spirit with these family-friendly St. Paddy's activities

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If your days of drinking green beer are long gone but you still want to celebrate St. Paddy's Day, take a look at these family-friendly things to do on St. Patricks Day for kids.

1. Attend a St. Patrick's Day Parade

St. Patricks Day Parade, St. Patrick's Day parade, St. Patricks, Saint Patricks Day
Megan Cooley

Check out your city's site on About.com or browse your community calendar for upcoming St. Patrick's Day parades. Wear green--green wigs, green pants, green shoes, green everything--and paint shamrocks and rainbows on your kids' faces. (No need to buy special face paint. Just use washable markers.)

Mid-March can be quite cold in many parts of the country, so bundle up and bring blankets to sit under. It doesn't hurt to bring a Thermos of hot cocoa, either (consider flavoring it with mint syrup).

Want to get in the Saint Paddy's parade spirit? Check out these photos from a recent St. Patrick's parade in New York City.

2. Drink Root Beer Floats

Skip the green beer and go straight for the kid-friendly alternative: root beer floats. 

The little ones will love the sweet, sudsy treat. Serve in clear, plastic mugs (compare prices).

3. Make St. Patrick's Day Crafts

Choose from dozens of St. Patrick's Day crafts from Sherri Osborn, About.com's Guide to Family Crafts. My favorites are her cereal rainbows (great for building fine motor skills in young children!) and folded four-leaf clovers (appropriate for older kids).

4. Build a Leprechaun Trap

Leprechaun Traps, Leprechaun Trap, how to catch a leprechaun, St. Patricks Day kids
Megan Cooley

Legend has it that if you catch a leprechaun, he must take you to his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Keep the magical story alive in your child by building a leprechaun trap together. (Bonus: your child learns a bit about engineering along the way!)

Encourage your child to entice the leprechaun with gold (rocks painted yellow?) and leave a trail of glitter or shamrocks to prove that the magical little man came by.

For more details, check out Sherri Osborn's instructions for building leprechaun traps and gallery of reader-submitted photos.

5. Enjoy a Hearty Irish Dinner

Irish Stew, St. Patrick's Day recipes, St. Patrick's Day recipes for kids, St. Patrick recipes
Photo of Irish Stew © Terri Wuerthner.

About.com's Guide to Kids' Cooking suggests 10 recipes for St. Patrick's Day, including an Irish stew and a potato, onion and cabbage dish called colcannon.

About.com's Guide to Busy Cooks offers some St. Paddy's recipes, too, as does the Guide to Southern Cooking.

Set the mood by playing some kid-friendly Irish music in the background.

6. Bake Some Green Goodies

What holiday is complete without a sweet treat to end the day? 

You could make green cake pops or white ones that you pipe black and orange frosting onto to turn them into leprechaun faces.

Since rainbows play a role in St. Patrick's Day, how about baking a cake with one layer for every color of the rainbow, like the rainbow cake pictured here.

Other green desserts to consider: sweet green popcorn, pistachio cake, mint-fudge brownies and green cupcakes.

And just so you know ... authentic Irish desserts aren't nearly as sweet--or as green--as the treats we tend to indulge in in America.

 

 

7. Learn About Saint Patrick

Teach your children about St. Patrick's Day history with help from N.S. Gill, About.com's Guide to Ancient History, then take this St. Patrick's Day quiz to test your family's knowledge.

8. Read A Good Book

St. Patricks Day Books, Saint Patricks Day books, books for St. Patricks Day, Susan Wojciechowski
Megan Cooley

Cozy up with a good book about Ireland and St. Patrick's Day, like these Irish folktales and fairy tales suggested by Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com's Guide to Children's Books.

In my house, our daughters especially like A Fine St. Patrick's Day by Susan Wojciechowski (compare prices). It's a charming tale with a 6-year-old heroine, and it teaches a good lesson in the end.

9. Plant Shamrocks

Shamrock, clover, 4-leaf clover, four leaf clover, St. Patrick's Day gifts, gifts for kids
Photo Courtesy of STEPABLES®.

This was the tradition in my house when I was a kid. For many years, my parents gave my sister and me a shamrock plant as a gift on Saint Paddy's Day. Not only are shamrocks longer lasting than a sack of green candy, but caring for a plant can build self-confidence and responsibility in children.

 

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