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Leprechaun Games

There is something about St. Patrick’s Day that a lot of us want to celebrate, but we somehow feel slightly embarrassed to do so.  I’ve read post after post of people apologizing for getting into the spirit, and now I’m adding myself to the list.  St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have the same gravitas as Easter, it certainly isn’t as mainstream as Christmas or birthdays, but it has its own quirky fun and falls at a time when many of us are starving for springtime and a bit of color (or at least some Guinness).

In upstate New York we lived just down the street from a little Irish pub, and every year for St. Patrick’s Day we would walk down the street with friends for some corned beef and cabbage… and Guinness.  This usually meant trudging through a couple of feet of snow to get down the avenue, but it was worth it for the food, Guinness and companionship that this holiday meant.  One year this also included me wearing an entire tray of Guinness pints spilled by a frazzled server.  The walk home that year was a cold one, but we laughed for most of it as the fumes of freezing Guinness wafted off of my jeans as we snow plowed home.  I looked forward to this tradition (not the wearing Guinness part) every year, and it is still at this time of year especially that I think of those friends in NY now with their own small family too.

This year, I wanted to find a way to make St. Patrick’s Day fun for Little Man.  I know that by the time I post these ideas the holiday will be here, so it makes it hard to plan any of these activities in advance.  If you want to try any of these, just think of it as stretching the holiday over the course of the week (or beyond).  I don’t know about you all, but I’m in the mood for a party.

In my quest for Little Man-geared St. Patrick’s Day activities, I came across an idea from Fun at Home with Kids.  In her post, Asia shared a great idea for a series of activities for kids building off a letter from a leprechaun inviting her daughter to search for leprechaun gold.  This was just the sort of thing I was looking for, and I’ve followed a couple of Asia’s ideas here and added a few of my own.  Please check out her excellent post for more details and other ideas too.

We started our adventure today, two days before St. Patrick’s Day to get into the mood.  To start, when Little Man came to the breakfast table today he was greeted by a rolled up letter from leprechauns (Dave didn’t want to be left out) inviting him to join in a game of searching for gold.  Click here for a “recipe” for this letter and to start the Leprechaun Games.  The leprechauns write that for three days they will hide three gold coins for Little Man to find.  At the end of the three days (we’ll see how this part goes…) Little Man is to wrap all nine coins up in the leprechauns’ letter and leave it for them while he naps (they won’t come if you are looking for them).  When he wakes up, the leprechauns will have left him a special surprise.  You’ll have to keep following these leprechaun posts to see what this is…  🙂

Start the letter with "Dear (Name):" and proceed with the idea below, or use your own flare.

Start the letter with “Dear (Name):” and proceed with the idea below, or use your own flare.

Then after breakfast Little Man found a tray of Leprechaun Clouds on his stool ready for him to explore.  We brought the tray of clouds back to the dining room table (well protected now with towels..,. lots of towels…) and the adventure began.

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LOTS of towels and water...

LOTS of towels and water…

At first Little Man wasn’t sure about this crazy Leprechaun Cloud.  He isn’t the kind of kid who loves messy things with his hands, and it took a bit of coaxing from Dave to get him to dive in to search for treasure.  Once Little Man got used to the squishy foam, he had a blast and even after the activity was done and cleaned up, kept coming back to the table and asking for more clouds.  He ended up calling the little bowl of water for washing his treasure “cloud water.”  This was definitely a success.

061You can hide any sort of object in the Leprechaun Cloud as you like.  I wanted to keep this as a fun, but inexpensive activity so I only bought a few things from my local arts and craft store.  Little Man searched for and found 3 “gold” coins, two plastic “crystal” butterflies, and a handful of little glass blobs.  Other options that you could use include pretty much anything from  sensory play ideas, like pom poms, plastic flowers, beads, and the list goes on.  The little glass “blobs” and plastic butterflies that we used here were from the mega sale bins and were a total hit.  While he likes the butterflies, the glass blobs became “sea gems” and “pearls,” and he ran around all day and evening with his “treasure.”  He hid them from himself in the couch, in his plastic food bins, and in his teddy bears. I love it when the cheapest things become the most fun.

The "treasure" as it emerges from the cloud and gets washed off.

The “treasure” as it emerges from the cloud and gets washed off.

Now Little Man is completely excited about what adventure the leprechauns will have for him tomorrow when he gets to search for three more coins.  As you’ll see in the next post (and as Asia examples on her blog) the next adventure will be in “excavating” through homemade Treasure Stones.  I made the stones once he went to bed so that they’ll have time to set up overnight and he’ll get them in the morning.  We’re looking forward to more leprechaun fun… and LOTS more towels.

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Here is how I made the Leprechaun Clouds

Leprechaun Clouds
Equipment
1 large glass baking dish, or clear plastic tub (like for sensory play)
1 can shaving cream
Green Finger Paint (Color Safe)
3 “Golden” Coins
Assorted sensory fun, such as glass beads, pom poms, etc.
Green embellishments like glitter and shamrock confetti

Directions

  1. Place your “Golden Coins” and other sensory items in the bottom of your baking pan or plastic tub.

    This is supposed to be a fun, but inexpensive activity so don't break the bank buying fancy swag for your cloud.  These glass beads and plastic butterflies were in the mega sale bin at our local craft store.

    This is supposed to be a fun, but inexpensive activity so don’t break the bank buying fancy swag for your cloud. These glass beads and plastic butterflies were in the mega sale bin at our local craft store.

  2. Spray the shaving cream over your buried treasure in two layers.  Save the rest of the can for other activities… or for shaving.
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  3. Drizzle the green finger paint over the shaving cream and swirl it together lightly with your finger.
  4. Embellish the Leprechaun Cloud with green glitter and shamrock confetti.
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  5. Place this somewhere for your little one to find.
  6. Make sure to have towels to clean and dry little (and big) hands, as well as clear bowls of water to wash off the treasure.

    LOTS of towels and water...

    LOTS of towels and water…

Click here for a printable version of the Leprechaun Games or Leprechaun Clouds activities.

Eureka!

Eureka!

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