Usually, for children, an upcoming holiday or special event is talked about long before the event. When my little ones see the first snow fall, they want to know how far away Christmas will be. When we turn the calendar to a new month, the first thing they will see is an important date and then we count down how far that date is.
So in order to enjoy the special holiday or celebration, I’ve figured out a simple trick. Instead of celebrating the one day, we collect days in the month to prepare for the holiday. It seems simple enough, and usually, we all do it instinctively. I know nobody in the right mind tries to decorate for Christmas on the 24th of December. We tend to do that gradually, starting with our Advent wreath and calendars, by picking a date to get our tree, carving out a day to trim the tree, and so on.
But when a non-holiday holiday is smack in the middle of a school week, it can get a little tricky. This St Patrick’s Day fell on a Tuesday. At school the kids got to wear green as a dress-down day, and that was pretty much it. So as parents, we can choose to celebrate more for them, and that’s what we did.
I started off on the first of the month with a broccoli soup for a cold day. It was a simple way to start talking about green, St Patrick’s Day, and how far away it was still. We took out some St Patrick’s Day stickers and placed one on our family calendar, as well as their Lent calendars (more on that in another post).
A few days later, we took out our old decorations, and placed a green clover banner on the fireplace mantle. While some of you might want to DIY this, I bought mine a few years back after St Patrick’s Day on sale at a home decor store. For little ones, displaying holiday-themed stuffed animals is a fun way to have them participate in decorating.
We also hung out St Patrick’s Day wreath, which we did make a couple of years back and it is so easy to make.
After that, we did a craft here and there when we had time. The weekend before St Patrick’s Day was our day of crafting. Here is a list of what we did:
- Sand paintings: we had coloured sand from a previous craft we bought, and we created a picture using glue, a paint brush and the sand. They made rainbows with a pot of gold.
- Leprechaun paper puppets: My oldest drew his, while I found colouring pages for the twins. After their coloured them, we glued them onto cardboard, cut out the cardboard, and added buttons to the limbs to make them move. We even went as far as making one move with string attached but it was a little tricky so we gave up.
Here’s a little animation of my oldest’s leprechaun we sent to friends and family:
- Washi tape clovers: this is great for little ones. After Valentine’s Day, kids are pros at cutting our hearts, so we created small hearts to make a clover, and used washi tape as the stems
- Pot of gold sun catchers: another simple craft. If you have cold foil from chocolate, they are great, but you can also use yellow tissue. Cut out a black pot, tack it onto sticky paper, face up and add your gold. Then seal the project with another sheet of sticky paper on top.
- Leprechaun traps: anything will do. We used tissue boxes, a diaper wipe box, and Lego Duplo. Stickers and wrapping were used to decorate and coins were added for the leprechaun to be fooled into falling in.
- Colouring flowers green: we do this every year. Green food colouring in a glass cup of vase will change white carnations and daisies green. Be sure to cut the stems short enough and on an angle so the flowers can drink up the colour in time for St Patrick’s Day.
- DIY costumes for your stuffed animals: my oldest sewed up a leprechaun hat for his little stuffed animal. This is good for older kids with a lot of patience.
Because we celebrated throughout the weeks leading up to St Patrick’s Day, it wasn’t stressful, and made us enjoy the actual day even more. By the time St Patrick’s Day came, we had new handmade decorations and we had read about St Patrick, some stories about Ireland and the symbols of the holiday.
I let the children try their Irish luck of winning with a scratch ticket, and I gave them each one mini Lego pack with a St Patrick’s Day card (where I write to them for when they are older).
My oldest knew I was the one who left the gifts, but my twins still believe in the leprechaun coming to steal some coins.
And now that the holiday is over, they are still drawing leprechauns and colouring St Patrick’s Day colouring pages. I’ve left the decorations up for a bit longer and soon we’ll phase out our green decor, and make way for Easter prep.
It’s fun to see them create and have fun with a little more time to do so. I hope your St Patrick’s was filled with luck, love and family time as well!