Ireland/St. Patrick’s Day

Give your kids the luck o’ the Irish by having an Ireland Theme Day.  Of course this is the perfect Theme Day for March 17th which is Saint Patrick’s Day, but any time is a good time to learn about a new country. 

Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.



Take out a globe or atlas or go online to show your child where Ireland is and compare it to where you live. Be sure to point out that there are two Irelands: Northern Ireland which is a province of the United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland, or Éire, which is an independent country.




The National Anthem of Ireland (Éire) is called Amhrán na bhFiann or The Soldiers’ Song.  To read the lyrics in both English and Irish check here: .  You can also here their National Anthem here:

For some history about the National Anthem check here:

There are many famous Irish bands and singers to listen to for this Theme Day.  Try U2, The Cranberries, The Commitments, The Corrs, or for something more traditional The Chieftains.

Try to find a version of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” for this Theme Day.  (Chauncey Olcott and Geroge Graff Jr penned the words to the son and Ernest Ball wrote the music.).

FUN FACT: Did you know that the song “Danny Boy” ( based on an old Irish tune known as “The Londonderry Air”) was actually written by an Englishman: Frederick Weatherby.




You can find many free coloring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Ireland Coloring Pages” or “St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Pages” or print out my “Ireland Forever” Colouring Page.



Write out one or more of the following questions in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook or on a piece of paper to glue in your scrapbook:  What do you know about Ireland? If you went to Ireland where would you like to go? What did you learn about Ireland by having this theme day? If you found a leprechaun’s pot of golf at the end of a rainbow what would you do with the gold?


 Choose the level of your child:

¨     Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer

¨     Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.

¨     Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.

¨     Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response.  (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)

¨     Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).

¨     As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a story or a poem about St. Patrick’s Day or a story that takes place in Ireland or a poem about Ireland or St. Patrick’s Day.



Print out an Ireland Word Search:

Easy Ireland Word Search or Moderate St. Patrick’s Day Word Search or Difficult Ireland Word Search.


Check here for the answer keys:

Easy Ireland Word Search Key or Moderate St. Patrick’s Day Word Search or Difficult Ireland Word Search Key.



Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about Ireland or St. Patrick’s Day.


Go to the library with your child to find some books about St. Patrick’s Day or Ireland.


Go to the library on your own to find books about Ireland from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day.  Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “Ireland” or “St. Patrick’s Day” under “Children's Books”).  Reserve them if you can to save time.


Try to find some of these nonfiction/learning titles:


· Ireland: The Culture, by Erinn Banting, Crabtree Publishing Company, 2002 – There are lots of photographs and information in this book that examines Irish culture, including religion, festivals, music, language, literature etc. (other books in the series include Ireland: The Land and Ireland: The People).


· Ireland: Enchantment of the World Series, by jean F. Blashfield, Children’s Press, 2002 – This non-fiction book covers many aspects of Irish life together in one book: geography, animals, history, government, etc., and would be good for older children.


Here are some picture books:


· Fiona’s Luck, by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Kelly Murphy, Charlesbridge, 2007—The leprechaun King has locked away all of Ireland’s luck but Fiona has a plan to trick the King and return the luck for all to enjoy.


·  Flying Feet: A Story of Irish Dance, by Anna Marlis Burgard and illustrated by Leighanne Dees, Crhonicle Books, 2005 – Two champion dancers arrive in Ballyconneely at the same time and must compete in a dancing competition of heights to see who will be the town’s dance master.


· The Leprechaun’s Gold, by Pamela Ducan Edwards and illustrated by Henry Cole, Katherine Tegen Books, 2004—Two harpists journey together for a music contest and a leprechaun saves the day when the young man tries to sabotage Old Pat to prevent him from winning.


· A Pot of Gold: A Treasury of Irish Stories, Poetry, Folklore, and (of course) Blarney, selected and adapted by Kathleen Krullan and illustrated by David McPhail, hyperion Books for Christren, 2004 – This beautiful anthology has many different short stories and poems about Ireland.


· S is for Shamrock: An Ireland Alphabet, by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Matt Faulkner, Sleeping Bear Press, 2007 – Using rhymes on the illustration page and factual text beside each letter, this book looks at Irish life from A to Z (including such things as B is for Blarney Stone, C is for Claddagh ring, D is for Dublin and E is for Ellis island...).


· Too Many Leprechauns: or How that Pot o’ Gold Got to the End of the Rainbow, by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Dan Andreasen, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007—When Finn returns to his home town he needs to come up with a scheme to rid the place of leprechauns as the villagers cannot sleep due to the sound of their shoemaking.


Here are some books about St. Patrick’s Day:


· Let’s Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, by Peter and Connie Roop and illustrated by Gwen Connelly, The Milbrook Press, 2003 – An informative book for kids telling about the history of Saint Patrick, how and why we celebrate St. Patrick’s day, why the clover is a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, what leprechaun’s are...among other things.

· St. Patrick’s Day, by Gail Gibbons, A Holiday house Book, 1994 – Includes a good review of who St. Patrick was and what people do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without going into lots of detail.


· Saint Patrick, by Ann Tompert and illustrated by Michael Garland, Boyds Mills Press, 1998—This is basically a picture book about the life of Saint Patrick.


· St. Patrick’s Day: Parades, Shamrocks, and Leprechauns, by Elaine Landau, Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2002 – While this uses easy text for beginner readers, it offers a lot of interesting detail about St. Patrick himself and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations making it a great choice for this Theme Day.





Materials: Various St. Patrick’s Day Stickers (available at craft stores and dollar stores and even grocery stores in March), green paper, markers or crayons (optional).


Step 1: Give your child the stickers and let him/her decorate the green paper with them in either collage form (all over) or to make a scene.

Step 2: Have your child draw embellishments or additional pictures to the paper with crayons or markers if he/she desires.




Materials:  Green paper, orange paper, child safe scissors, glue-stick.


Step 1: Cut the green paper into squares and then fold each square in half.

Step 2: Draw half a heart onto the folded sheets of paper, making sure the folded part of the paper is where the middle of the heart will be.

Step 3: Cut along the pencil drawing and then open to fold to reveal a heart.  You should have three from each square of paper. 

Step 4: Place these three heart together to from a shamrock shape and let your child glue them onto an orange piece of paper.

Step 5: Repeat steps 1 to 4 to create more than one shamrock.

Step 6: You can then cut out a green stem to glue onto each shamrock or have your child draw a stem on each one.




NOTE: If you make these on small individual squares of paper you can play the Four Leaf Clover Game found under FOR FUN below (Just be sure to have make one four leaf clover for each child in your family and you may want to put names on them to prevent fights if you have competitive children like I do).


Materials:  White paper (we used index cards cut into small squares), green ink pad, green marker.


Step 1: Show your child how to press his/her finger into the green ink pad and then press it onto the white paper.

Step 2:  Show your child that if you make three fingerprints together they will look like a shamrock or clover (doing the above paper shamrock craft will help illustrate that).

Step 3: Make some lucky four leaf clovers too!

Step 4: You can either have your child make one fingerprint collage picture or a scene of a clover filled field or make the fingerprint shamrocks on small pieces of paper to play a fun hunt game.




NOTE: The famous Blarney Stone is a stone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle in Blarney, Ireland, that according to legend can give someone the “gift of gab”  (or the ability to speak well and with great flattery) if they kiss it by leaning backwards and upside-down!!  To see pictures of it and to read more about it check here:


Materials:  A stone or rock, green paint.


Step 1: Have your child decorate the stone anyway he or she likes or in the shape of lips as if someone with green lipstick has kissed the stone!

Step 2: Let it dry and now you have a special paperweight!


              YARN CELTIC KNOTS:


NOTE: Celtic knots are drawn representations of knots used a lot in decorating Christian monuments and manuscripts . For more information check here:


Materials:  Yarn, construction paper, a copy of my Celtic Knots Worksheet, child safe scissors, construction paper or cardboard.


Step 1: Have your child pick the Celtic Knot he/she wants to make (older kids may want to try to create their own) and then cut it out from the worksheet to use as the template to glue on.

Step 2:  Have your child glue the template onto stronger paper (like construction paper or cardboard) this will keep it stronger.

Step 3: Give your child a long piece of yarn and some white glue and have him/her try to glue the yarn in the pattern of the knot.  This is sticky work but really illustrates how complicated the pattern/design is.

Step 4: Let the glue dry and then display Celtic art!



NOTE: The Irish harp is called the Clàrsach or Clàirseach and is the national symbol of Ireland.


Materials: Cardboard, sharp scissors (for parent use), popsicle or craft sticks, white glue, elastics, paint, shamrock stickers (optional), several elastic bands.


Step 1: (Parent step) Draw a simple harp shape onto your cardboard.  Basically draw a fancy curved “U” and then connect the top of the “U”.  Older kids may want to draw their own harp.

Step 2:  (Parent step) Cut out the harp shape from the cardboard.  I say this is  parent step because cardboard is difficult to cut through and children may get discouraged by this.

Step 3:  Create a square out of craft sticks and glue them together using white glue.  I also recommend the additional stop of breaking some craft sticks into smaller pieces to glue horizontally at each corner to create small triangles of support.  This step make the harp strong and will enable you child to actually “play it.”  My eldest had no patience for this step so he opted to create his own harp (the result is the orange harp in the picture which does not “play” as he has taped cut pieces of elastic to his craft sticks and cardboard).

Step 4: Glue this craft stick support to your cardboard cut out and let it dry over night. NOTE: for impatient little ones you can do the above steps on your own the day before so that it will be ready the next day to decorate.

Step 5: Once dry have your child paint the harp.   We opted for the Irish flag colours of green and orange.

Step 6: Once the paint dries you can have your child decorate the harp with shamrock stickers  (or ladybugs as my youngest has done).

Step 7:  Loop several elastic bands around the harp.  If you use different thicknesses and widths they will produce different sounds.  Let your child “play” the hard.  (As noted before my eldest opted to make an ornamental harp instead of a working on for two reason.  The first was he didn’t want to wait for the support to dry.  The second reason was purely aesthetic.  He cut the elastics and taped them to create his “cleaner” look.  He didn’t like the idea of the elastics looping over the entire harp; he said “that isn’t what a real harp looks like!”)



NOTE: A leprechaun is a fairylike create found in Irish folklore.  It is said they are shoe makers and that they hide their gold in pots at the end of the rainbow.  If you capture a leprechaun he must take you to his pot of gold or grant you three wishes!


Materials: Green construction paper, green paper, black paper, glue stick, stapler or tape.


Step 1: Draw a simple hat shape on green paper (basically a polygon or rectangle with sloping sides on a thinner similar shape.

Step 2:  Have your child cut out the hat shape.

Step 3: Draw a black rectangle to be the band of black around the hat and have your child cut that out.

Step 4: Draw a yellow square slightly taller than the black band and have your child cut that out. 

Step 5: (Adult step) cut out a smaller square inside the yellow square to be the golden buckle on the black band.

Step 6: Cut out a long strip from the green construction paper and then curve it so it will fit your child’s head.  Remove it from his/her head and then staple or tape together. 

Step 7: have your child glue the black band onto the green hat and then the yellow buckle onto the black band.

Step 8: Staple or tape the hat to the green band and let your child wear it.  Voila1  You now have a little leprechaun!




Emerald Isle Milkshake:

Ingredients: 2 cups of milk, 2 cups of vanilla ice-cream, 5 ice cubes, mint extract (Optional), green food colouring.


Step 1:  Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix together.

Step 2: Enjoy!


Irish soda bread: Check your cookbooks or search online for a recipe and have fun together making this bread (or buy one at a shop...but kneading bread is more fun!).



Shamrock Cheese Melts: Toast your favourite type of bread (we used focaccia bread) and then lay some orange cheese on top.  Then cut a pepper horizontally to create little clovers and put a clover on each piece of cheese.  Broil until the cheese is melted.  I’ve been making these for a while but then saw them as well in a Family Fun Magazine (also found online



Use your favourite recipe or search online or in a cookbook for Irish Stew (preferably with lamb). Serve with Irish soda bread and an Emerald Isle Milkshake like we did.



Cookies: If you have a shamrock cookie cutter make some shamrock shaped sugar cookies and decorate with green decorating sugar OR do like we did and make circle cookies but create fingerprint shamrocks by using green food colouring to decorate them on top.

Shamrock Cake: Many cake books show shamrock cakes.  Don’t forget to use green icing!




Print out a copy of my Ireland’s Flag Worksheet and have your child colour it the appropriate colours.


Print out a copy of my Ireland’s Geography Worksheet and have your child colour it.  As a family search for the names of the capital cities (of The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) in an atlas or online or from a book about Ireland.  I apologize for any inconsistencies in the map as I drew the worksheets myself and know they are not geographically perfect.


Print out my Irish Gaelic Words Worksheet which I compiled using these two websites: and I apologize for any errors as I do not speak Gaelic at all and am merely basing my worksheet on information garnered online.



For more information about Ireland try this website:

Here are some tourism sites to explore Ireland some more: or

For more information on St. Patrick check here:

For information on the history of St. Patrick’s Day try this site:

 For more on leprechauns try here:

Budding artists might like to learn about the book of Kells:





Make the above Fingerprint Shamrock craft but on small piece of paper.  Make sure you have a four leaf clover for each child in your family participating in the hunt (you may want to put names on the lucky clovers too to prevent any fights).  Hide the shamrocks around your house and have your children search for them.  When they find their lucky four leaf clover they can return to you for a prize.  We used chocolate coins as our prize!


Look up

Q:  When is an Irish potato not an Irish potato?

A:   When it’s a French fry!


              KNOCK KNOCK

              Who’s there?


              Irish who?

              Irish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


                Q: Why do people wear shamrocks on Saint Patrick's Day?

                A:  Because regular rocks would be to heavy!






Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with about Ireland.


For young children try this title:


· Veggie Tales has a segment about St. Patrick on their Sumo of the Opera show.


This beautifully animated film presents a mythical and magical story about the book of Kells:


· The Secret of Kells, New Video Group, 2010


Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:


· Travel with Kids: Ireland, Equator Creative Media, 2010 – This DVD has three episodes showing one family of four as they travel to various parts of Ireland.



If you are lucky enough to live in a city that hosts a St. Patrick’s Day Parade join in the fun and watch the  parade as a family.

Check your local theatre to see if any Gaelic Dancing shows are playing and attend a concert.


Photo: C Wright

Ireland: Yeats Country


Shamrock Sticker Collage

Paper Shamrocks

Fingerprint shamrocks used for a game

Kiss the Blarney Stone Craft

Yarn Celtic Knots

Cardboard Harp

Paper Leprechaun Hat

Possible Shamrock Lunches

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Have an Irish dinner

Shamrock Cookies

The Flag of Ireland

My son’s drawing (age 9) of a leprechaun!