Tag Archives: St. Patrick’s Day

Leprechaun Games – Day 3

We reached the end of our Leprechaun Games adventures on Monday, the official date for St. Patrick’s Day.  Little Man had successfully found six coins through the Leprechaun Cloud and Magic Treasure Stones activities.  Now on this last day of the treasure hunt, he awoke to find that the leprechauns had returned over night to hide the final installment of three coins.  This time they had hidden three coins under three rainbows in the living room.  Just between you and me, the original plan of the leprechauns was to hide the coins and rainbows outside but St. Patrick’s Day ended up being a bone-chilling cold and rainy day.  Therefore the leprechauns took pity on us and left the booty in the nice, warm, dry house.

One leprechaun showing where the coin was going to be hidden in the rainbow of cups.

One leprechaun showing where the coin was going to be hidden in the rainbow of cups.

The first rainbow was found on the living room table crafted out of Little Man’s rainbow cups.  He found this one quickly since the leprechauns used their favorite color green cup as the hiding place.

Little Man found the hidden coin quickly.

Little Man found the hidden coin quickly.

The rainbow and coin hidden inside the castle tent.

The rainbow and coin hidden inside the castle tent.

The second rainbow was hidden inside Little Man’s castle/tent.  He was relieved that the resident dragon (aka really fluffy cat) hadn’t snuck into the castle to play with the treasure.

Little Man with rainbow in hand and recovered coin by his foot.  Teddies at the ready to protect from the dragon-cat.

Little Man with rainbow in hand and recovered coin by his foot. Teddies at the ready to protect from the dragon-cat.

The third and last rainbow was one drawn by the leprechauns on Little Man’s art easel.  The plan was to give us an art project for later on in the day, and a chance to talk about rainbows, their colors and the mixing of primary colors.

The final rainbow drawn by the leprechauns on Little Man's easel for coloring later.

The final rainbow drawn by the leprechauns on Little Man’s easel for coloring later.

Once the last three coins were recovered, they were set aside in a fittingly green dish to wait until nap time.  (Now you will notice that at this point in the post there are near to no pictures.  That is because I seem to have lost my camera.  Wah!  More pictures will be forthcoming, but those of the final part of this adventure are gone.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.)

On the way to his bedroom for nap time, Little Man set up the letter and the coins for the leprechauns.  We retrieved his leprechaun letter and rolled the coins back up, leaving it all on his little stool.  When Little Man awoke, his first request was for his toy samurai and the second was to go and see what his leprechaun reward was.  I’m not sure if he thought he needed samurai protection from the leprechauns?  When he got to the stool Little Man found that the letter was unrolled, and on top of it rested a small, wooden treasure chest.  The chest was filled with leprechaun gold, and the letter thanked him for playing with the leprechauns and that they’d be back again next year.  They also welcomed him to look for them at the end of a rainbow whenever he wanted.

The treasure chest was a huge hit, and Little Man was quite impressed that he got so many “golden” coins.  Last night the treasure chest “slept” in the castle/tent so that it would be safe from dragons.  The bottom of the chest was decorated by the leprechauns with his name, a rainbow and the date.  Now I think he’s just plotting what to do the next time he sees a rainbow, and on the island he might not have to wait too long for.

The dragon lurks outside of the castle dreaming of treasure... or at least a quiet, dark place for a nap.

The dragon lurks outside of the castle dreaming of treasure… or at least a quiet, dark place for a nap.

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Leprechaun Games – Day 2

On Day 2 of our Leprechaun Games (inspired by Fun at Home with Kids), Little Man awoke to find that the leprechauns had returned to continue the search for gold game (Read about Day 1 here).  This time he was met with a tray of “Magic Treasure Stones.”  We took the Treasure Stones to the table (with copious towels and clean water again) for him to “excavate.”

One Treasure Stone

The basis of the Treasure Stones is the awesome fizzy reaction that happens when you combine baking soda with vinegar.  It can make science fair volcanoes explode, and Magic Treasure Stones erode away to reveal hidden treasure.  For our purposes we repurposed an empty mustard container that I had set aside for future water table activities, and filled it full of plain, white vinegar.  This activity takes a good amount of vinegar, so you may need to stock up… I did.

Spraying the Treasure Stones with "magic water" aka white vinegar.

Spraying the Treasure Stones with “magic water” aka white vinegar.

Little Man squirted the Magic Treasure Stones with the vinegar (aka “cloud water”) and watched as they fizzed and foamed, slowly revealing their treasure.  Three of the stones contained “golden” coins, and two contained “sea gems” (aka glass blobs).  He had a great time smashing the partially eroded stones and rinsing the coins off in the water.  In fact, I think he would have been happy simply with the coins and the dish of water.  I’ll have to keep that in mind for future water table activities as the weather gets warmer…

Over the course of the rest of the day, he played with his “treasure” and we talked about leprechauns, rainbows and golden coins.  He went to bed after rereading his letter from the leprechauns, excited about the search for the last three coins, and what the leprechauns would give him when he completed their game.

Now we two leprechauns need to plot our last installment of the Leprechaun Games, as well as a delicious St. Patrick’s Day dinner.  After all, a good game needs a good dinner to pull it all together.

Here’s how I made the Magic Treasure Stones:

Equipment:
1 large glass baking dish, or clear plastic tub (like for sensory play)
1 box baking soda
Green glitter and shamrock confetti
Green Finger Paint (Color Safe)
3 “Golden” Coins
Assorted sensory fun like glass beads
2 tbsp. water, plus extra
2 cups white vinegar
Squeeze bottle

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix together the baking soda, green glitter and confetti, and a good squeeze of your color safe green finger paint.
    All the equipment needed.

    All the equipment needed.

    The "dry" ingredients.

    The “dry” ingredients.

    A good squirt of color safe finger paint.

    A good squirt of color safe finger paint.

  2. Drizzle the 2 tbsp. of water over the mixture and give it a good stir to evenly distribute the water.  Then add one more good squirt of the finger paint and stir again.  The mixture should look pretty dry.  This reminded me of making a pie crust or scone dough.  You don’t think it will hold together, but it will.  Test your mixture by grabbing a handful and forming it into a rough ball.  If it won’t hold its shape, then drizzle in a little more water until they just hold their shapes.
    The mixture will look very dry, like it won't hold together.  Just have faith.

    The mixture will look very dry, like it won’t hold together. Just have faith.

    A last dose of paint for a little more color.

    A last dose of paint for a little more color.

    The mixture will just hold together when formed into "magic balls."

    The mixture will just hold together when formed into “magic balls.”

  3. Finish your first “stone” by inserting one of the golden coins into the stone and forming it again.  Carefully set this stone aside in the glass baking dish.

    A Magic Treasure Ball.

    A Magic Treasure Ball.

  4. Divide the rest of the mixture into four portions in the bowl, and continue forming treasure stones and inserting the treasure until all five balls are completed.

    Set them aside into the same tray you will use to "excavate" them.

    Set them aside into the same tray you will use to “excavate” them.

  5. Set the stones aside some place safe and allow them to dry overnight.  You want the balls to be nice and dry for the best reaction with the vinegar.
  6. When you are ready to go, please the stones somewhere that your little one can find them.  I recommend leaving these in the baking dish rather than scattering them around.  They are fragile.

    We posed the Treasure Stones for Aiden on his little stool and with a rainbow that he'd made with his music teacher.

    We posed the Treasure Stones for Aiden on his little stool and with a rainbow that he’d made with his music teacher.

  7. When you are ready to excavate, fill your squeeze bottle with the vinegar and show your little one how to spray the treasure stones.  The stones will fizz and slowly erode to reveal the treasure within.  Your kids will likely enjoy smashing the opened, softened stones, so be sure to have towels and clean water handy.
    Spraying the Treasure Stones with "magic water" aka white vinegar.

    Spraying the Treasure Stones with “magic water” aka white vinegar.

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    Squashing eroded Treasure Stones.

    Squashing eroded Treasure Stones.

    Retrieving the treasure.

    Retrieving the treasure.

    Treasure in the sludge.

    Treasure in the sludge.

  8. Rinse off your treasure and the three additional golden coins.  Have fun!

Click here for a printable version of the Magic Treasure Stones “recipe.”

Rinsing off the treasure was more fun than finding it in the first place.

Rinsing off the treasure was more fun than finding it in the first place.

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!