Kids love any excuse to make a day extra special, so why not March 17 of every year? You certainly don’t need to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with your kids and to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. On this day, everyone has a little Irish in them! Here are some ideas for traditions to start this year!
1. Wear green so you don’t get pinched! If your kids don’t have much green clothing in their closet, head to a consignment or thrift store so you can go green for the planet while also wearing green. I have to admit sometimes I cheat and hit the local department store because they carry green T-shirts with cute St. Patrick’s Day sayings like, “Everybody loves an Irish girl.”
2. Go to a parade. Many cities, large and small, have a St. Patrick’s Day parade every year, and many have the parade the weekend before St Patrick’s Day so more people can attend (it happens to fall on a Saturday this year). Check out www.St-Patricks-Day.com for all kinds of cool stuff like Irish music, Irish dancing and even parades and fun runs/walks. The parade list is by no means complete, so Google “St. Patrick’s Day parade [your city]” to find one near you.
3. Go to McDonald’s for a green Shamrock Shake, a mint-flavored, green-dyed vanilla milkshake. My kids get excited when these come out and we have to hit the drive-through for one every year. You can find dairy-free versions online that you can make at home, and if you’re concerned about food dyes, you can pick up some natural green food dye online or at a health food store.
4. Tell St. Patrick’s story. Legend says he used a three-leaf clover (also known as a shamrock) to teach about the Holy Trinity. There are a ton of great books about St. Patrick, including The Night Before St. Patrick's Day (Reading Railroad) by Natasha Wing and Amy Wummer, St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons, and a board book called The Story of St. Patrick’s by Patricia A. Pingry and Pamela R. Levy. You can also get a made-for-TV family movie called St. Patrick: The Irish Legend through Amazon.com and Netflix.
5. Have a small party. Penny Warner, author of The Best Party Book, offers some great suggestions for having a fun St. Patrick’s Day party:
· For invitations, paint a stone green, write party information on the stone and leave the stone at the invitee’s front porch.
· Give a prize to the guest wearing the most green.
· Hang construction paper shamrocks everywhere, hang green balloons, put posters of Ireland on the walls and, of course, play some Irish music.
· Set out a gold pot filled with chocolate coins.
· Play games like Hot Potato and make sure to set out a Mr. Potato Head set.
· Make a shamrock cake using three heart-shaped cakes joined together and frost with green icing.
· For food, have a potato bar with fun toppings like broccoli, chili, cheese and bacon bits.