By Michelle Reese

Local parades, festivals, storytimes and more have all been cancelled. But now, more than ever, our families could use some light-hearted fun! Whether your family hails from the Emerald Isle, or you’re just pretending to be a wee bit Irish for the holiday, here are some ways you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at home with the kids:

Make a St. Patrick’s Day Craft

Cut out shamrocks from green construction paper and make a banner to decorate your home. Use scraps of colored tissue paper to make rainbow or shamrock suncatchers like the ones at this link. Cut out leprechaun hat shapes, decorate and glue to a paper band to wear on your head. Paint a rainbow. Or draw rainbows on your driveway with chalk to let leprechauns know they’re welcome! There are a lot of ways little ones can get creative with this holiday.

Design a Leprechaun Trap

If your kids prefer a craft with some engineering involved, get to work on a leprechaun trap! The sky is the limit here as older kids can get more technical with their designs, while younger kids will be happy just decorating a small box with paint, markers or stickers. Tip: Legend has it that they’re attracted to shiny things since they love coins!

Here’s a link to some trap ideas to get you thinking. While those tricky leprechauns are tough to catch, they just might leave behind a few little treats (or a funny mess) in the morning!

Cook an Irish-Inspired Meal

While it’s always fun to “cheers” the holiday with the Irish folk in your community (even if they’re just Irish for the day), you can also make a perfectly festive meal to enjoy at home!

Click here are a few recipes to make in your kitchen to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Other ideas include Irish ale cheese soup, Irish potato soup, shepherd’s pie, and corned beef and cabbage.

While this idea might seem like it’s just for adults, most kids love to help in the kitchen. Depending on the complexity of the dish and the child’s age, this can mean anything from helping with the measuring, stirring, reading steps from the recipe, chopping, or taking over a dish completely!

Bake a St. Patrick’s Day Treat

Get in the kitchen and make a tasty surprise for the family, or get the kids involved as an activity with a sweet reward at the end! Irish potatoes are a Philadelphia tradition that are easy to make at home. (Click here for a recipe.) You could use some Guinness to make incredible cupcakes (don’t worry, it bakes off but makes them SO moist.) And these Lucky Charm cookies are sure to be a hit! And if all else fails, just add some green sprinkles or food coloring to any favorite treat. Add some green food coloring and peppermint extract to milk and ice cream for a homemade shamrock shake!

Read a St. Patrick’s Day Related Book

Especially if your kids are unexpectedly home from school, a holiday-themed book is a great way to make sure they’re getting in some reading time during these days off. If you already own a few St. Patrick’s Day books, here’s your reminder to get them out! Or, add some new ones to your collection. (Unfortunately, area libraries are closed.) If holiday-specific books aren’t your thing, maybe go with a story about rainbows to tie into the holiday.

Here are a few that are available Amazon Prime to arrive before or on March 17:

The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover!

The Luckiest St. Patrick’s Day Ever!

The Itsy Bitsy Leprechaun

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse:  Minnie’s Rainbow

A Rainbow of My Own

How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow

Go On a Hunt

Here’s an idea so the kids can get out some energy! This can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. If you have some of those cheap gold coins (or you could always use pennies in a pinch), hide them around your house or yard. Or, plan a scavenger hunt to make them think a little harder. If you want some help with the clues, here’s a link with some free printables. Or, keep it easy (especially for little kids) by requesting they find something for every color in the rainbow.

Learn Something New

There seems to be a lot of variations of how schools are handling these days off. But most parents will agree, that all kids could benefit from some educational time even if it isn’t mandated by the school! How about doing a little research about Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day or leprechaun legends? Have your child pick a topic to research online, and then tell the family about it during dinner.

Listen to Irish Music

Sure, it’s not the same as being out at a festival, local restaurant or pub. But you can still practice your best Irish gig with some music at home! Look some up on YouTube or ask Alexa to play some Irish tunes.

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