Saint Patrick’s day is right around the corner. Have your kids ever made a leprechaun trap before? I first introduced the “naughty leprechaun” when the kids were 2.5 years old. I told them that he was going to try to find their shinny coins and would be sure to leave a mess behind. So together we made a leprechaun trap. It’s such a fun art activity that sparks imagination. For older kids the activity encourages problem solving as they think what they can do to catch the leprechaun.
Make a Leprechaun Trap
For young children, a day or two before Saint Patrick’s Day get a small box and let the kids decorate it. Offer them green paint, glitter, glue, green tissue paper, and anything else shinny or green you have hanging around the house. Let the kids get creative however they wish. Remind the kids that the leprechaun loves shinny and green things. They need to catch him before he takes any of their coins. Once the kids have finished decorating, help them make a ladder out of popsicle sticks. And a slide can be created out of a paper towel roll. Explain that is how the leprechaun will get stuck in their box. You can read Pete the Cat: The Great Leprechaun Chase by James Dean to fuel their imagination.
For school-age children, a week before Saint Patrick’s Day ask the children how they think they would catch a leprechaun. You could read, How To Catch A Leprechaun by Adam Wallace, to get their thoughts flowing. Put out some materials such as a box, green paint, glitter, popsicle sticks, glue, yellow/gold paper, string, pennies, pipe cleaners, a paper towel roll, green tissue paper, and green duct tape. Get those gears turning by asking thought provoking questions such as, “Why will the Leprechaun want to go in your box?” Or, “How will the Leprechaun remain stuck inside the box?” If your kids made a leprechaun trap last year show them pictures and ask what they can do this year to improve their design in hopes of catching the leprechaun.
Finally it’s Saint Patrick’s Day! Today is the fun day, especially for the adults. The night before, or in the morning before school, have your kids set out their shiny leprechaun trap. While the kids are out it’s your turn to make a green mess! Your mess should be something the kids have done before and know is not allowed, such as dumping all the legos out. Trust me, you don’t want to have the naughty leprechaun do something that your kids haven’t even thought of yet.
- Footprints: If you have snow outside you can paint green footprints leading to the house. If you have tile or laminate flooring you can use washable paint to create footprints that lead from a mess to the children’s leprechaun trap.
- Scatter Coins: Leading up to the box, drop a few coins and put a few in the box too. Feel free to use a few real coins and some chocolate coins covered in gold foil. You could tell the kids, “The leprechaun must have dropped some of his coins when he saw your shinny box.”
- Balloons: Fill the bath tub with green and gold balloons!
- Streamers: Hang green and white streamers in different doorways or even tape some across their bedroom door as if they can’t enter.
- Green Crinkle Cut Paper: Fill the bathroom or kitchen sink with green crinkle cut paper or easter grass filler.
- Collect Green Toys: Find a bunch of green toys around the house and make a heaping pile of toys in the middle of the living room (legos, blocks, cars, ball, crayons, stuffed animal, book, sweatshirt).
- Green Milk: Put a few drops of food coloring in the carton of milk. If you think your kids won’t drink it, then just leave out one cup of green milk on the counter.
- Toilet Paper Roll: I bet you can’t stand when your kids roll out too much toilet paper; well now it’s your turn. Pull out some toilet paper; you can even put green footprints on the end of it.
- Green Pee: Put a few drops of green food coloring in the toilet bowl and you can use washable paint to leave two green footprints as if the leprechaun stood on the toilet seat.
- Silly String: If you’re willing to clean it up, spray green silly string all by the front door.
- Shaving Cream Message: On the counter mix in a few drops of green food coloring with a heap of shaving cream. Spread it out and with your finger write a message such as, “Nice Try!”
- Green Light Bulb: Buy a green light bulb and replace it in a room the kids often turn the light on in. Make sure it’s in a light that they can’t see the bulb and later that night take it out to save for next year. The kids will think it’s magic that the leprechaun was able to change the light!
When the kids wake up or get home from school they will be in awe to see footprints and coins. Before they get to eating the chocolate coins ask them what the leprechaun did. Do they see green around the house? When they look in the leprechaun trap they will see he somehow escaped, dropping a few coins behind him. Ask the kids how he could have possibly gotten away; let their imaginations run wild! You can leave his hat in the box that he may have dropped while escaping or if the kids put tape or glue at the bottom of their box, you can leave behind a mini black boot.
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