Homefires - The Journal of Homeschooling OnlineHomefires - The Journal of Homeschooling Online

St. Patty's Day Activities: Rainbows, Shamrocks and Leprechauns

St. Patty's Day Activities:
Rainbows, Shamrocks and Leprechauns

By Fran Wisniewski

Top O' the Morning to You!

UniversalPreschool.com founder, Diane Flynn Keith, has written a fun St. Patrick's Day article that includes information about Ireland, Irish tradition and myths, and some fun family activities to help celebrate the day. I thought it would be fun to complement those activities by adding a few more ideas for you and your wee ones to enjoy the holiday together! The information and activities in both articles are appropriate for the whole family — older children can help the younger ones so everyone has a grand time! Celebrate St. Patrick's Day on March.

St. Patty's Day Arts and Crafts

Rainbows End

Rainbows End

St. Patty's Day is full of fantasy and fun. It is said that if you follow a rainbow to its end, you'll find a leprechaun's pot of gold! Your child is sure to find the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow!

You'll need: Construction paper, scissor, crayons or markers, pencil, glue, pot template and a quarter.

Adult Preparation: Print pot template and cut 1-9"x½" strip of each of the following colors of construction paper: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet (purple).

Directions: Ask your child to color, cut and glue 1 pot template to the middle of a light blue piece of construction paper. Ask your child to glue each strip of paper from the pot, straight up to the top of the paper in the following order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet (purple). Help your child make circles with the quarter on yellow paper and cut them out together; glue them to the top of the pot to form, "a mountain of gold" with the rainbow as a background. Trim the paper that goes off the page when the glue dries.

More great rainbow activities.

Cascading Clovers

You'll need: 18"x12" blue construction paper, clover template, crayons or markers, rainbow-colored yarn, tape, hole punch and scissors.

Optional: Green construction paper and a pencil

Adult Preparation: Cut a 2 ½"x18" strip of blue construction paper and a full page copy of "Cascading Clovers" printed on cardstock paper

Directions: Ask your child to color the clovers and cut them out. (A parent can help with this part!) Cut 3 pieces of yarn in different lengths. Lay the strip of blue construction paper out lengthwise and ask your child to tape the yarn to the paper. Space the yarn evenly. Ask your child to tape one clover to the end of each piece of yarn and then tape one more clover to each piece of yarn. Put the ends of the blue strip together to form a circle and ask your child to tape the ends together. Punch holes on either side of the blue circle and hang with another length of yarn.

Optional: Print a copy of the "Cascading Clovers" on cardstock and use one clover as a template. Have your child trace the clover on green construction paper (shown) and cut them out.

Tip: Adults can help by cutting more then one clover at a time to speed things up!

Make a Shamrock Person!

This little guy is easy to make and very cute!

You'll need: Construction paper, shamrock template, pencil, crayons, scissors, and glue

Optional Supplies: yarn (hair), smaller shamrocks (for hands and feet), sequins, pom-poms

Adult Preparation: Print the shamrock template on cardstock paper and cut it out for your child, then cut 4-9"x1" strips of green or white paper for arms and legs.

Directions: Ask your child to trace the shamrock onto green construction paper (your child may need a little help doing this) and cut it out. Show your child how to make accordion folds out of each strip of paper. Then, have them glue each one to the shamrock as arms and legs. Your child can add a face, hands and feet and other features to their person.

Leprechaun Mask

You're little one will have fun acting like a leprechaun when they are finished with this fun craft!

You'll need: 9" white paper plate, orange, green, yellow and black construction paper, glue, jumbo craft stick, paint and scissors.

Adult Preparation: Cut the middle out of the paper plate, and cut 7-12 ½"x9" strips of orange construction paper.

Directions: Ask your child to paint the paper plate in a flesh tone color. When the paint dries, glue each strip of orange construction paper to the bottom of the mask to form a beard and curl the end of each strip by rolling up a crayon and releasing it. Glue, tape or staple a jumbo craft stick to the back of the paper plate and help your little leprechaun make a hat or use a bowler hat template.

Have A Green Day! (Colors)

Make St. Patrick's Day a green day!

  • Take a walk and collect green objects.
  • Wear green clothing
  • Eat green foods

Math & Science Activities

Make a Shamrock (Math)

This activity will show your child how to make a shamrock out of hearts!

You'll need: Green and white construction paper, scissors, and glue

Optional: Heart Shamrock template

Directions: Help your child to cut three hearts out of green construction paper, then, show them how to arrange the hearts into a shamrock shape and glue it to white paper.

If you use the template, ask your child to color in the pieces before cutting them out.

Grow A Shaggy Shamrock (Science)

Help your little one grow a shaggy shamrock with this activity.

You'll need: Grass seed, sponge, scissors, foam plate and a bowl of water

Adult preparation: Cut a sponge into the shape of a shamrock for your child.

Directions: Ask your child to put the sponge in water and to squeeze out most of the water, leaving the sponge damp. Have your child place the sponge on a foam plate and cover it with grass seed. Press the grass seed into the sponge. Your child will need to check the sponge daily and keep it moist by adding a little water to the plate everyday so that the sponge can absorb the water. The grass should start sprouting in a few days. Once the grass sprouts, put it in a sunny window and keep on watering.

Tip: Rye grass seed works quickly.

Reading & Language Arts Activities

Irish Stories and Tales

The following sites have Irish stories, tales and songs. Parents please view the sites and read the stories to make sure the content is appropriate for your child.

Learn a Limerick!

A limerick is a 5-lined poem. An example of a limerick is:

Hickory, dickory, dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
Down he run
Hickory, dickory, dock

  • Here is a slightly different picture version of this rhyme your child can color.
  • Read limericks written by Edward Lear, when you're finished reading, make up some of your own limericks and write them down; your child can illustrate them!

St. Patrick's Day Books to Read for ages 2 and up:

Nutrition & Tradition

Irish Foods

Our family looks forward to a traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage every St. Patrick's Day. We make our meal in a deliciously modern way and serve it with fresh Irish Soda Bread.

Corned Beef and Cabbage


  • Large head of cabbage cut into quarters or sixths
  • 5 lbs of corned beef
  • 1 lb bag of baby carrots
  • 2-3 lbs of red potatoes washed and cut into quarters
  • 1-2 Bay leaves
  • Large stock pot

Directions for pressure cooker users:

  1. Put the corned beef in the pressure cooker and add just enough water to cover the meat. If you have a small pressure cooker, you may need to cut the corned beef in half and cook each half individually. Retain all the juices! Seasoning packet is optional; we personally only use bay leaf for flavoring. Cook on medium heat, when the pressure regulator begins to rock, set a timer for 20 minutes per pound of meat. Put pot in cold water to release the pressure and put meat and liquid into a stockpot, repeat if necessary. The liquid will create a flavorful broth as flavors mix together.
  2. Add potatoes and 1" of the broth to the pressure cooker, stir, and cook on medium heat. When the pressure regulator rocks, set timer for 10 minutes. Again, release pressure with cold water and add potatoes and remaining liquid to the stockpot.
  3. Cook baby carrots in 1" of the broth, stir, and cook on medium heat. When the regulator rocks, set timer for 3 minutes. Run under cold water to release pressure and add carrots and liquid to stockpot.
  4. Cook cabbage in 2" of the broth and cook on medium heat. When the regulator rocks, set timer for 3-4 minutes. Run pot under cold water to release pressure and put cabbage into stockpot. Add or remove liquid to retain 2" liquid level and repeat if needed. Add all liquid to stockpot when finished.
  5. Cut the meat and serve the vegetables in a large bowl with the broth.

Tip: Your child can help clean the potatoes and cut them with a dough cutter. The baby carrots will not need to be cut, but your child can help get all the ingredients ready by putting them into bowls. Your child can also help by setting the table while you cook.

Note: Never leave pressure cooker unattended and never try to open the cooker until the pressure is released! I personally do not allow my younger children near the stove while using a pressure cooker.

Stock Pot Directions:

  1. Put corned beef and bay leaves (seasoning packet optional) in a pot and cover with water. Cover the pot and cook on med heat until meat is almost cooked.
  2. Add potatoes and carrots, and gently boil for 10 more minutes. Lower heat to medium-low if necessary.
  3. Add cabbage and cook until vegetables are at desired tenderness.

Irish Soda Bread

This recipe has been in my family for 5 generations! The crust is crispy and the middle is soft and delicious!


  • 3 ½-c flour (sifted)
  • ½-c white sugar
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1-c golden raisins
  • 1 stick of butter (softened)
  • 1-c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • Large bowl
  • Aluminum pan (greased and floured)

Directions: In a large bowl, add softened butter, flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Use your hands to work all of these ingredients together until the mixture is like fine sand. Add raisins and coat them with the mixture.

Put the egg and buttermilk together in a separate bowl and mix with a fork.

Add to flour mixture, and mix into a soft dough. Turn this out on a table and knead for 1 minute. Form into a round loaf and put into the prepared aluminum pan. With a knife, put a cross on the top of the loaf. Cook in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes or until top is brown and knife comes out clean.

Optional: 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds may be added with the raisins.

Note: Your child can help measure ingredients, pour them into the bowl, then mix the ingredients with their hands and finally knead the dough and put it in the pan.

Bonus Activity: Make Fresh Butter!

You will need heavy cream and a baby food jar with a lid. Fill the jar ¼ of the way full and put the lid on it. Take turns shaking it vigorously until a ball forms. Pour off the buttermilk (or drink it) and spread the butter over a piece of fresh or toasted Irish soda bread.

Optional: Add a tiny bit of salt to preserve the butter if you are planning to store it. Add a little sugar to make sweet cream butter.

Tip: A marble can be added to the jar before shaking to speed things up. Remember to remove the marble and keep it out of young children's reach when finished! (To avoid choking hazard.)

Music & Movement

Irish Music and Dancing

Irish music is lively and upbeat!

The Riverdance delivers a powerful performance! With its lively music, and energetic dancing, your little one will be enthralled and inspired!

Activity: After watching Riverdance, listen to Irish music together and ask your child to make up a dance!

Put a large piece of cardboard or plywood on the floor and tap away with your little one!

Other St. Patrick's Day Activities:

  • Check your local library for a St. Patty's day program
  • Go to a parade or check local listings to watch on TV
  • Have a St. Patrick's Day party!

St. Patrick's Day Sites

Happy St. Patrick's Day!