Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day With Preschoolers
Saint Patrick’s Day is a great time to introduce children in family child care to Ireland and Irish traditions.
Children in licensed home daycare will enjoy celebrating the traditional Irish holiday of Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Since there aren’t a lot of other holidays in March, this is a good chance to take a break in the daycare routine and is also a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to Irish culture.
The Story of Saint Patrick
Here is a very short version of Saint Patrick’s story:
Saint Patrick is the patron Saint of Ireland. He was born in England many, many, many years ago. Young Patrick (he wasn’t a saint, yet) was kidnapped by pirates. They took him to Ireland and sold him as a slave. Eventually, he escaped and made his way back to his family. Once back in England, Patrick became a Catholic priest, but he never forgot his time in Ireland. After many years, he went back and began converting the Irish to Christianity. Saint Patrick is said to have performed many miraculous deeds, including chasing all the snakes out of Ireland. He died on March 17, 420 A.D.
Preschool Activities for Saint Patrick’s Day
The official color of Saint Patrick’s Day is green because Ireland is a very green country. Four-leaf clovers, leprechauns and their pots of gold, which are usually found at the end of a rainbow, are all familiar Irish symbols. On Saint Patrick’s day, tell a story at circle time about a leprechaun and his gold, such as this one at Spellbinders and have the children do some or all of the following activities:
Make a headband for each child out of light green construction paper. Invite them to glue dark green shamrock shapes on the headbands and decorate with green glitter. Let them wear the headbands throughout the day and during the Irish Tea Party.
Irish Shamrock Pots
- Clover seed (This is easier to find than shamrock seed and is in the same plant family.)
- Clean used small yogurt containers
- Large nail
- Potting soil
- Plastic wrap
- Invite children to decorate the containers with paper, stickers, and magic markers.
- Poke 2 or 3 holes in bottoms of containers with a nail.
- Fill containers with potting soil.
- Sprinkle clover seeds on top of the soil. Water well.
- Cover containers with plastic wrap and set on a sunny windowsill. Keep moist.
- When seeds sprout, remove plastic wrap and continue to water. Look for four-leaf clovers.
Rainbow Craft Project for Saint Patrick’s Day
- Rainbow shape for each child cut out of stiff paper or cardboard. (Half a manila file folder works well for this.)
- Tissue or crepe paper in rainbow colors
- A small pool of white school glue in a yogurt lid or other small, flat container for each child
- Invite children to tear the tissue or crepe paper into pieces approximately 3 inches square.
- Show children how to scrunch each piece of paper into a wad.
- Invite children to scrunch their own paper, dip the wads in glue, and stick them to their rainbows.
Some children will make neat rows, others will mix the colors all up. Both look great.
Saint Patrick Day Tea Party
For afternoon snack, serve an Irish Tea Party that includes the following foods.
- Irish Muffins – Mix finely chopped fresh spinach into softened cream cheese. Spread on toasted English muffins.
- Kiwi fruit slices cut into shamrock shapes
- Green Tea –Brew some decaffeinated green tea. Serve with honey and milk.
Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day All Day Long
Remind everyone to wear green. Decorate the classroom with shamrocks, leprechauns and rainbows. Tell stories of Saint Patrick and the “little people.” Play Irish music. Make Irish headbands, Irish shamrock pots and Irish rainbows. Finish off the day with an Irish Tea Party. Saint Patrick will smile and so will the daycare children.