We’re celebrating everything Irish, green, & whimsical with these St. Patrick’s Day fun ideas for March 17!
I’m often hesitant to turn St. Patrick’s Day into a silly event filled with strangely-pseudo Irish activities. For most of the last century, March 17 was a fairly solemn day that signaled the coming of Spring. Did you know that Ireland didn’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with all this hoopla until the 1990s? So I do try to explain this to the kids while we enjoy our silliness – because let’s face it, we can all use a little fun!
Fun recipes for St. Patrick’s Day treats & meals
We start the day the easy way – with a bowl of Lucky Charms! We don’t generally buy sugary cereals, so it’s a huge treat when we indulge on special occasions.
You can earn some extra Parent Points (not a real thing, don’t worry!) cooking up some green pancakes; maybe even add a few of those magic marshmallows into the mix!
RELATED: Here’s a great recipe to try for healthy green pancakes, if the mix-from-a-box-with-green-food-colouring pancakes aren’t your speed. (It’s totally mine, no judgements!)
We use up the rest of the box of Lucky Charms by making Leprechaun Treats; it’s the same recipe as Rice Krispy Squares, just using a different cereal. Butter and marshmallows are all you need – and blinders to forget how much sugar you’re eating!
Feeling a sugar overload just thinking about Lucky Charms? How about a Rainbow Lunch instead!
Strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew melon, blueberries, and grapes can be lined up for a fun feast!
Another sugar-heavy but oh-so-yummy treat are these Pistachio Cookies made using Jello pudding powder; we opted for coloured sprinkles rather than crushed nuts and chocolate chips. I know one Mom who says a leprechaun leaves the magic green powder!
For dinner, consider making a great Corned Beef Hash. This recipe from Kara Heald is our go-to.
If you’re looking for more traditional options, try making some proper Irish soda bread for the day. For a great meal of Irish soda bread & potato soup, why not cook along with our friend Mary Janet, the sensational Tunes & Wooden Spoons lady who stormed social media early in the pandemic with her cooking videos filled with Cape Breton charm & music. (Fun fact: I once got to hang out at the Canadian Idol contestant’s apartment when her youngest son was runner-up on the show!) You can find her Irish baking episode here.
Some year, I will attempt to build a Leprechaun Trap Cake. Every year, I admire this one.
St. Patrick’s Day Crafts to Make
My kiddos LOVE making Green Pasta Necklaces. A drop of food colouring and a teaspoon of white vinegar make for a lot of fun!
Note: You do need some time to prep this one. Place the colouring, the vinegar, and your pasta of choice in a sealed container or bag and toss it around until the pasta is covered; it’s okay if it gets a tad soggy. Spread it out to dry; I’d suggest on cookie sheets overnight. A half hour in the oven on very low heat can also work. Add some beads and yarn and you’ve got a fabulously fun fine motor skill activity.
MUST READ: How to Dye Pasta & Rice for Preschool Crafts
We also had a great time using various materials around the house to make shamrock shapes with green paint.
A fun way to get everyone moving around is to hold a Rainbow Scavenger Hunt. This is great for even the littlest leprechauns to take part, as you’re searching for colours, not specific items. Maybe there’ll even be a little pot of gold coins to celebrate!
If you’re planning ahead, consider a frozen sensory bin. I took beads in each colour of the rainbow, a few cotton balls, a couple of ‘gold coins’ (loonies), and some green stones (dollar store craft aisle) to create a little scene in a tinfoil pan. I filled it with water and froze it. We had lots of fun trying to decide which kitchen items – salt, baking soda, hot water, etc – would melt the ice the quickest so we could free the treasure. It was great family fun, and fits well with the idea that things are starting to thaw and Spring is around the corner. (I find this a simpler STEM craft for St. Patrick’s Day at home than building a leprechaun trap, which is a go-to project at school.)
Check out our Simple St. Patrick’s Day Slime recipe!
Tunes to Sing on St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day just doesn’t feel right without a proper Irish soundtrack!
It helps that my kids’ favourite song is The Unicorn, made famous by the Irish Rovers, but written by childhood favourite Shel Silverstein.
A few other favourite Irish musicians you might want to blast today:
- The Chieftains: More fun facts: I was backstage for their concert at Massey Hall years ago & interviewed band leader Paddy Moloney for a CBC radio special I produced. DYK: His whistle went to the International Space Station & NASA astronaut Cady Coleman played many Irish tunes while in space!
- U2: Who else was at their Moncton show?! Amazing, right? My first real outing after our first child was born; an epic way to celebrate!
- The Cranberries: An integral part of the 90s soundtrack – and since all those fashions are back in style, I’m assuming they’re a cool vintage soundtrack now?!
- Van Morrison: More likely he was part of your parents’ record collection than yours, but he’s got a lot of solid sing-a-longs I’m sure you know (Brown Eyed Girl, yeah, that’s him), a fantastic catalogue of original works that stand the test of time for songwriting, and a lot of classic Irish traditional songs like Carrickfergus, which you might have heard mentioned by that other Irish troubadour, Ed Sheeran.
- And no Irish list is complete (TBH, this one is barely started, but that’s all we have time for now!) without Sinead O’Connor.