4 Easy St. Patrick Day Craft Ideas for Kids

Irish Checkers!

Irish Checkers!

Our Pot of Gold Rainbow and Shamrocks made from hearts.

Our Pot of Gold Rainbow and Shamrocks made from hearts.

St. Patrick’s Day could be the secret to life.  You take a grey, cold, lifeless world and add a tiny green plant than in all other places would be considered a weed.  But at the end of a long, hard winter that tiny weed promises that winter will end and more green will come.  We celebrate by dousing any splash of green with “water” (there is water in beer), collecting all the green we see, and displaying it along with gold because, let’s face it, any hint of spring is worth it’s weight in gold.

I wrote this when spring had not quite sprung, we had yet another snow/sleet/what-ever-you-call that cold wet grey stuff falling from the sky, and I was desperate for a bit of green and hint of life.  M-man and I probably went a bit crazy with the shamrock decorations.  My house now looks like either a construction paper rainbow of lucky charms or where leprechauns go to die. I always knew St. Patty’s day got messy (hello, green beer), but this really takes it to a different level. If you want to join in the mess, here are 4 easy St. Patrick Day crafts for kids:

 

A Pot of Gold Rainbow.

M-Man is a worrier. It is just hard wired in him. I thought this activity could help him practice seeing the bright side. First we talked a bit about luck and how you can’t control when you have good luck, but if you are always looking for the good in things then you’ll find a lot more. One luckiest things you can see is a rainbow, which is why lephrechauns hide their pot of gold at the end. (I am sure this is in no way an accurate account of St. Patrick Day lure, but come on. I’m working with an anxious four-and-a-half year old here!)

 

Next, we make our construction paper pot of gold. I traced a pot shape on two pieces of paper and cut them out. M-Man stapled them together to form a pocket, punched holes for the handle with a hole punch, and cut the yarn for the handle. (Yay fine motor skills!) Then, he cut out strips of paper that we taped together to make a rainbow that can slide in and out of the pot.

 

We hung our pot of gold on the back door*. Every day until St. Patrick’s Day M-Man looks to see if the rainbow is in the pot. Some days it’s there, others it’s not. But on the days that it is in the pot, then he’s lucky and gets a small little treat. So far he’s gotten a few fake tattoos, some seashells, and a homemade checkers game. Which brings us to….

 

Irish Checkers

This is a great activity because you really use it! First, fold a piece of construction paper in half. Cut some lines in it, being careful to not cut all the way to the end. (This is another wonderful fine motor activity for your little guy to do.) This will be the “base” of the board.

 

Then, cut some paper strips. These will make up the squares. We chose rainbow colored, but I would recommend making sure the base is a different color than the squares. We have a green base and a green square strip and it causes confusion all the time… don’t be like us.

 

Next, show your child how to weave the paper strips together. This could cause some frustration, so its probably best you are helping with this step.

 

Finally, you need to find something to be the checker pieces. We used gold doubloons because my little pirate has more play gold than my bank account.   To make one set a different color, I taped some green fabric pieces to some of the coins. A drop of nailpolish would have worked as well.

 

From there, enjoy yourself! We really enjoy playing our homemade game. Mick learned how to play checkers for this game, and we have had so much fun playing a game that he made.

 

Make some shamrocks. 

Notice our shamrocks?   To make them we reused our Valentine’s Day hearts! I love reusing materials whenever possible. Not only is it good for ol’mother earth but it teaches M-Man this importance of being resourceful and not wasteful. Additionally, this one was super simple, but showed how simple shapes are often the building blocks for other shapes.

 

Melt a rainbow.  

Cut out a two matching rainbow shapes from wax paper. Next, take some crayon shavings and have the child arrange them into a rainbow on the wax paper and iron them on a low setting. Hang it in a window, stand back and admire.  After all, you need a grey sky to see the colors of a rainbow.

That’s enough of a mess for now. Thanks for reading!

XO

Jane

Things to Do When Stuck Inside with a Preschooler

IMG_3913Winters in Virginia will always make the New Englander in me smile.  Snow storms are few and far between, but when they come they bring with them snow days a plenty.  you’ll hear a lot about how “Virgina doesn’t have the equipment or the snow budget…”, but I think M-man hit the mark best.  When driving him back to school after four days off, he asked with a look of utter confusion on his face “But Mommy, we can’t go to school.  There’s snow on the ground.”  Well, snow is still on the ground, the weather forecast calls for another 6 inches tonight, and schools are fully expecting another couple of snow days.  So parents will dress the little guys head-to-toe in marshmallow-filled snow suits and send them outside to play.  Until the inevitable lost mitten, wet hands, snow ball to the face, or (and this is the worst) Mom gets cold.  Too soon the winter wonderland adventure ends and cabin fever sets in.  Pair that with the fact that in our house snow days mean drinking copious amounts of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows plus baking cookies or brownies or both and you can quickly have a preschool disaster.  There are only so many crafts you can do and pictures you can color before one of you starts climbing the walls.  So for all the parents gearing up for another snow day, here’s something I wrote during my preschool teacher years when you just can’t weather another snowman, but your little person needs to move. (Wall climbing not included.).

 

Here are a few ideas on how to keep a preschooler active when stuck inside:

 

Freeze Dance Party

Grab your tot and turn on the tunes! Anything with a beat will work. Dance and be silly with your child as you listen to the music. Help teach impulse control and listening skills by having the child freeze when you briefly stop the music. An added element to the Dance Party could be “dressing up” prior to the party – raid mom and dad’s closet and don silly hats, ties, make-up… anything can go as long as the child will not trip over it.

 

Obstacle Course

Turn your house into a personal training course. Run up stairs, climb under tables, tag walls, crab walk (or any other animal walk) across the living room, climb through hula hoops, lift up old sheets like parachutes, hop over jump ropes on the floor… the world (or your house) is your oyster!

 

Treasure Hunt

Arrrgh, there be rough weather outside and a slurry of pirates inside. Your dining room table becomes a pirate ship when your tot finds a treasure map taped underneath! Use picture clues of items throughout the house to lead him or her on the hunt. At the end hide tissue paper coins inside a treasure bag along with a healthy snack. Share the snack together onboard the pirate ship (underneath the table) while counting the coins and reliving the hunt.

 

Yoga

Encourage your child to appreciate the quiet beauty of a snowy day while you find your inner peace from your mats (or beach towels). Downward Facing Dog, the Cat Stretch, the Camel Stretch, the Tree Pose, and the Heart Pose are all child friendly yoga moves.

 

Book Acting

Draw your child into reading by acting out the book together. My family’s favorite is “The Gingerbread Man” as our little man “runs, runs, runs as fast as he can, but we can’t catch him because he’s the gingerbread man!”. Mom and Dad then take turns being the other characters. Click here for a list of recommended books.

 

Poetry Slam

Ask your child to listen to a poem as you read it. After you are finished, discuss the poem with your child. What were the favorite characters or event that happened? Then encourage the child to act out the characters or actions as you read the poem a second time.

 

Shape and Movement Game

Cut out various shapes from construction paper. When you hold up a triangle, your child can only move his or her head. When you hold up a circle, the child can only move his or her legs. For a square, only move shoulders; for a rectangle, only hips. For an oval, the child can move his or her entire body! Change shapes quickly and play music during the game to add to the fun.

 

Become

Let your child act out the features/characteristics of some every day items such as a bike, rake, hose, wheelbarrow, beach ball, kitchen mixer, etc.

 

Line Challenges

Using masking or painters tape make a line on the floor. Encourage your child to see how many things he or she can do on the line: jump over the line, walk on the line, hop along the line, stand on the end of the line with one foot, stretch out on the line, slide on the line, tiptoes across the line, roll over the line, lie beside the line, run or skip around the line, etc.

 

Classical Music and Movement

Play classical music to encourage creative movements. Selected sections from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals are excellent for inspiring animal movements; Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Little Swans” from Swan Lake is a natural for tiptoeing; Herbert’s “March of the Toys” from Babes in Toyland or Grieg’s “Norwegian Rustic March” from Lyric Suite; etc.

 

And when you run through these, “Do you want to build a snowman?”.  Thanks for reading!

 

XO

Jane