stpatricksday

“Greening” the Green in St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day was always a celebrated holiday in my home growing up thanks to my Irish mother. The house was decorated, cards were exchanged and we always wore green to honor Ireland’s Patron Saint. As a mom with young children, I find any reason to celebrate is a good one—but when it involves incorporating our Irish heritage that’s even better.

While St. Patrick’s Day is often celebrated with drinking alcohol, especially green beer, I will be opting for some age-appropriate options for my youngsters. Since my kids only drink water (aren’t I lucky!), I was thinking about coloring their water green for the day. I’m a little hesitant, because I don’t want to add chemicals to their water solely in the name of a holiday, but I was looking into some natural options. The first is to make my own green food coloring by boiling spinach and using the water I boil the spinach in to color their water. I probably won’t do that since their water will likely take on the spinach flavor, and my kids are not fans. I did find an all-natural, kosher, vegan and gluten-free option from Nature’s Flavors that I might try, and if it still adds flavor to their water, then I will just let them continue to drink clear water and use the green food coloring for something  else—something that will not be “ruined” by the flavor associated with natural food coloring.

Leprechaun’s and their pots of gold are probably the most exciting aspect of St. Patrick’s Day for me, and I hope it will be the same way for my children. As such, I’ve found some great ideas to set traps to catch a leprechaun and hopefully get his pot of gold. One of my favorites has us creating a leprechaun’s hat using a cylindrical container and covering it in green construction paper. We’ll also be collecting sticks outside to make a ladder for the leprechaun to climb. I love this craft because it will have us re-using items, as well as bringing in items from outdoors. Plus, I’ll be able to finally use the raffia that’s been taking up space in my craft drawer since I got married five and a half years ago.

In the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, we will be creating lots of themed crafts to decorate our home. I’ve found a couple ideas for making leprechauns—one is from a clay pot and another is from paper plates. There’s also an adorable beaded rainbow craft you can make with your little ones that you can use to help build their dexterity and teach them about colors. We also love to welcome our guests with a holiday-themed wreaths or something similar on our front door. Crafts by Amanda, has a beautiful shamrock made of paper mache and buttons that you can hang on your front door. And, what child doesn’t love paper mache? If you aren’t up for the mess created by paper mache (which I might fall into that category this year) then you can do your own variation. I’m going to cut four hearts out of some cardboard we have laying around the basement and let my kids paint them green. Once the hearts are all painted, I’ll hot glue them together, and then we’ll glue on the stray buttons we collect around the house.

Once St. Patrick’s Day is here, you may want to plan some fun activities for the day. You could play St. Patrick’s Day Bingo. All you’ll need to do is create Bingo Boards using the word LUCKY and then add numbers to the boards. This is a great way to help your children with letter and number recognition in a fun way. You could also set up a Pot of Gold Treasure Hunt, either in your yard or in the house (depending on the weather). I’m going to (secretly) make a Pot of Gold using a coffee container that I just cleaned out. I’ll decorate it and fill it with something special for each of my children wrapped in gold paper or tissue paper. I’ll make sure to hang a rainbow (that I’ll make from construction paper) over the pot of gold, just like if a leprechaun had left it. I’m sure my kids will be delighted with whatever they find in the leprechaun’s pot of gold. And, the “treasures” your children find can be anything. I’ve been collecting second-hand toys that are no longer available in stores (new) and saving them to give my kids when the right opportunity arises. These kinds of toys always end up being favorites, and we’re keeping the out of landfills.

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Jennifer Azzariti