by Caitlyn Stace
About mid-March, a distinctive four-leaf flower starts showing up everywhere -- even on cupcakes!
Mysterious tales of leprechauns, luck, clovers and rainbows abound! We hear there might even be a pot o' gold hidden someplace!
Parents are always on the look out for nifty projects to keep our own wee creatures happy. Holidays offer up the perfect opportunity.
Why not take advantage of the folklore and fun, and celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with these magical kids activities? You could create your own treasures today!
Crafts for All Ages!
Here's a project so easy even a baby can do it (with a little help of course). If your little one can hold crayon, they'll be able to make this lucky four-leaf clover.
Babies Scribble-Stencil Shamrocks
✓ Shamrock-shaped stencils
✓ Green crayons or markers
✓ White paper
• On cardboard, trace around a shamrock shape. Choose a size your child can fill in before getting bored.
• Tape the paper and stencil in place. Your baby's highchair can serve as an art table.
• Get out the huge crayons or washable markers and let your babe scribble in green.
• Once the paper within the stencil is green, untape and move to a new spot.
• Art work is complete when baby's ready to head off searching for more treasures.
Miniature Leprechaun Hats
Brighten up your room or table with these tiny leprechaun hats.
✓ Small paper plate
✓ Paper cup
✓ Green and black paints
✓ Black construction paper (optional)
✓ Paint brush
✓ Gold coin
✓ Pipe cleaners
✓ Small pom poms (optional)
Cut a hat brim circle from the plate. It should be slightly larger than the cup. Wave the edges slightly. If the circle extends into the curve in the plate, your hat brim will have a slight upward curve.
Paint the cup and plate green. It's a lucky thing kids like to paint because it could take several coats! Let dry.
Paint a black stripe near the top of the cup. A younger child might find gluing a strip of black construction paper in place easier.
Glue the cup to the plate, big end down.
Twist a pipe cleaner into a flower. Wrap the ends of your flower around a green pipe cleaner stem. Add a pompom center for a center. Glue the flower onto the hat with the stem extended a little into the black.
Form a rectangle "buckle" out a of gold pipe cleaner. Glue onto the hat and tuck the flower stem behind the buckle. You can also choose to glue a gold coin over the bottom of the flower's stem.
Chasing Rainbows and Treasure Hunting!
Looking for a bit of family fun? Try some of these time-tested activities.
Babies Discover Rainbows
Chasing a leprechaun across the meadow would be only flightly more fun than chasing an ice cube across the paper.
✓ Water in an ice cube tray
✓ Food coloring, in red, yellow and blue
✓ White paper
How to play:
Put about 3/4 inch of water in sections of an ice cube tray. Add a few drops of food coloring each section. Place in the freezer until the solid.
Place the paper in a closing plastic bag. Set three different colored ice cubes on top and securely shut the bag.
Show your baby how to move the ice cubes to make a picture.
Once the baby art seems complete, take the paper out to dry and discard the plastic sack. Check it out! One baby-created rainbow of color!
If your wee one seems intent on eating rather than "drawing," wrap an ice cube in a clean cloth and try creating a picture another time.
Toddlers Hunt for Treasure
What little kid wouldn't love a chance to play with a magnifying glass and tweezers? They can as they search for treasure.
✓ A bowl of green pompoms
✓ Gold glitter
✓ An unbreakable magnifying glass
✓ Small plastic tweezers
✓ Two small bowls -- one gold and one green
Glue a bit of gold glitter on some of the pompoms. Once the glue has dried, mix them in with the plain green ones.
Show your tiny treasure hunter how to pick up a pompom with the tweezers and look for gold with the magnifying glass. Put the ones containing treasure in the gold bowl and the solid green pompoms in the green one.
You know this activity helps develop fine muscle control and teaches sorting. Shhh! Your child thinks it's a fun game.
Leap to the Rainbow
Let the lucky clovers lead your wee bairn to the treasure.
✓ Shamrock cut-outs
✓ A well-stuffed treasure chest
Follow the trail:
Leave a path of shamrocks, spaced a small leap apart. Wind the path around through rooms or around the yard. Where will it lead? To a special treasure at the end of a rainbow!
Does your family have a favorite Saint Patrick's Day tradition? Tell us about it in the comments!
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