As St. Patrick’s Day draws near, we tend to bust out our green shirts and re-discover that distant Irish blood we must have in there somewhere. “Kiss Me I’m Irish” signs appear as if from nowhere, four-leaf clovers abound, and everything from pastries to beer turns green in the middle of March.
But what is St. Patrick’s Day all about?
St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. When he was a teenager he was kidnapped from Britain and forced into slavery in Ireland. He was able to escape, but years later he returned to convert the Irish to Christianity. As a result of St. Patrick’s work, Ireland had many churches and monasteries by the time of his death.
St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t widely celebrated until Irish immigrants to America introduced it to their cities. To this day, St. Patrick’s Day is almost as big a deal in America as it is in Ireland.
And whether you are truly Irish or just Irish for the day, St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate. It comes as a welcome amusement for those of us who feel the winter months dragging. And it’s a great excuse to party and have fun with friends.
If you want to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day, here are a few ideas of fun projects to do with your kids:
1. Make chains of shamrocks. For this project you will need green paper, a pencil, and sharp scissors. Gel pens are recommended but optional. Shamrock chains are similar to the chains of dolls we discussed in a previous blog and are easy to make:
a. Simply take some green paper and fold it up like a fan (this is called an accordion fold.)
b. Draw a shamrock on the top fold, making sure that the leaf on either side touches the side of the paper and goes along it for at least an inch.
c. Grab some sharp scissors and cut along your outline, making sure to leave the inch (or more) where the leaves touch each side uncut.
d. Unfold your paper.
e. Voila! Your chain of shamrocks is complete!
f. Optional: If you have glitter gel pens, adding shimmery gold or green accents can be fun. Glue and glitter work well too.
2. Make a fun leprechaun’s hat. For this project you will need two shades of green paper, gold and black paper, glue or tape, and scissors.
a. Tape or glue two ends of a rectangular piece of green paper together to form the “top hat” part of the hat.
b. Trace the circle you’ve made (the top of the cylinder) on green paper and cut this out. Cut out another circle that’s about twice as big as the first.
c. Tap or glue the small circle to the top of the cylinder. Then tape or glue the bottom of the cylinder to the large circle. Now that you have a basic hat, do steps d-g to decorate it.
d. Cut out a long, narrow strip of black paper and attach it to the cylinder where it meets the larger circle.
e. Cut out a square of the gold paper slightly larger than the width of the black band. This is going to be the buckle on the hat. Pinch the middle of the square and start cutting out the inside of the square so that you are left with a hollow square of paper.
f. Attach this to the black band.
g. Optional: cut out some shamrocks in the other shade of green and use them to decorate the hat.
There are many other fun St. Patrick’s Day project ideas such as making rainbows and pots of gold, designing your own leprechaun, and much more. You can spend quality time with your children while adding some Irish fun to your day. May the luck o’ the Irish be with you!