I was recently asked when I was scheduling an appointment if March 17th was a ‘high holy day’ in my family. I don’t know why anyone would think that just because I have the last name of McGuire that St. Patrick’s Day would be more special than any other day in my home. The truth is . . . it’s not only a HUGE holiday at the McGuire household but it’s an EPIC day (and month) in my classroom as well. I know . . . I know . . . I hear from a bunch of people . . . ‘why does every holiday have to be a party or something special?’ Really it doesn’t. To each their own. But as for me, I started the tradition of St. Patrick’s Day when my boys were tiny . . . it makes them happy . . . it makes me happy . . . and it makes my students happy. Should everyday be St. Patrick’s Day? No! That’s what makes it so special. Does every teacher need to do up St. Patrick’s Day big like I do? NOPE! That’s what makes us different. But if you’d like some ideas of the different, simple and fairly cheap things that I do in my class to keep my kinders engaged and excited about learning, here’s a couple of ideas.
GREAT READ ALOUD BOOKS
The absolute best way to have your students become engaged and interested in all the fun and tradition of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday is to offer them tons of great read aloud books. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite ones here for you if you’d like some suggestions. I love these especially because of their bright, beautiful illustrations and engaging text.
I set the stage for St. Patrick’s Day during the month by having traditional Irish music playing while students arrive and work on their morning activities. Music offers your children a window into the culture and history of Ireland. You can find traditional Irish music on Pandora. If you just type in ‘Celtic Radio,’ in your search option, you’ll get a station with some great traditional tunes. Or better yet, if you are an Amazon Prime member, there are tons (like literally 100s) of FREE Celtic music downloads for you there as well.
To incorporate a STEAM component to my activities, students also take part in creating leprechaun traps. People sometimes question the legitimacy of this activity, but I would love to point out some of the great things that happen when you have your students build leprechaun traps.
Students identify the problem at hand . . . they want a pot of gold so they need to catch a leprechaun. Sound like a legitimate problem to me. We talk about the constraints and difficulties that might occur when considering a trap, we make a design plan and together, using a myriad of materials donated by parents . . .
we collaborate with our classmates to design our trap. The activity is open-ended, incorporates an element of math, art and, of course, design.
The only down side is that the traps can never be tested . . . or at least we’ve never successfully caught one to know. But there are footprints to prove he was actually there . . . right?
Pinterest, of course, has tons and tons and tons of sweet ideas for St. Patrick’s inspired crafts, but here’s a couple that I have used.
These are perfect for lining the hallway outside my classroom.
Everyone know when they see them that it’s time to start thinking about leprechauns. Find out how to make them here.
I absolutely love First Grade Blue Skies‘ direct drawing activities and this one is one of my favorites.
And the best part about this one you guys is that it’s FREE.
So make sure you run over to her blog and grab it.
ST. PAT’S THEMED MATH STATIONS
Because it’s not enough to just celebrate one day of the month, I like to use a St. Patrick’s Day theme the entire month. In so many schools where celebrating or even eluding to Easter is a no-no, St. Patrick’s Day gives us another theme to captivate and engage our students during March. I prefer activities that are hands-on and shy away from a bunch of work sheets, but that’s just me. I also make sure that these activities are differentiated so all students can feel successful.
If you’d like to find out more about these, head over HERE! You’ll even find a FREEBIE!
ST. PAT’S THEMED LITERACY STATIONS
Like math stations, Daily 5 stations are also given a green make-over during the month of March. Here’s some of my students’ favorites.
We keep a leprechaun journal for our work on writing station.
and there’s tons of word work and sight word fun.
These are just a few, but if you’d like to see more ideas, just click HERE. You’ll even find a couple of FREEBIES.
SENSORY TABLE FUN
I still fight for the right for early childhood classrooms (that’s PreK-2 if you want to know the official definition of early childhood) to incorporate sensory bin activities. You can change an otherwise boring game into something extraordinary by adding some ‘gold nugget’s to a pot.’
You can add a sorting activity or a favorite sight word game. I took some old plastic tokens and wrote nonsense words on them to make a simple nonsense word game.
Or dying up a batch of green pasta.
And of course, you must have shenanigans. My own classroom has a leprechaun that has been coming for years. Each year Seamus leaves the class a note
makes a bit of a mess
he tinkles in the toilet (he does this at my house too)
(If you’d like to learn how to make leprechaun feet like these, just click HERE to see how!)
has fun with our classroom items,
leaves footprints everywhere,
and wishes all of us were Irish so he changes our name.
And then leaves a little something (gold coins) and a personal note for each child.
He hides them around the room for the students to find. It’s great fun to sit and read them aloud so everyone hears each note he has left.
Is it over the top? Perhaps!
But I will tell you this as a teacher who has 4th graders come back to her class every year to ‘check on Seamus’ and show me their own leprechaun traps, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For my own boys, it is a family tradition that I know they will continue with their own children because they love it so. We are, after all, McGuires and just a wee bit Irish.
MORE IDEAS AND ACTIVITIES
For other great ideas for crafts, snacks and classroom activities for St. Patrick’s Day, be sure to check out my Pinterest Board. It’s a doozy, full of ideas that will have you seeing GREEN.