The girls look forward to St. Patrick's Day each year because we do a variety of activities to celebrate the holiday. Perhaps their favorite activity is building a leprechaun trap. For about five years now, they've been building traps.
In 2009 and 2010, they used the same trap, making minor modifications in the pathway leading to the trap; the food and beverage that they left on the tiny tea set; and the extra items they put around the trap (e.g., little trees, wooden horse and cart).
This year, they chose to build a different trap. The one "rule" I have is that they have to use materials and items that we already have on hand. In other words, they need to be resourceful in creating their trap.
The girls building the trap and arranging different items
leading to the trap.
After they finished putting the trap together, they explained how it worked. They hoped the coins would entice the leprechaun into jumping on the box, walking up the ladder, over the platform, across the table (also lined with coins), and then hop onto the trap where jewelry and coins were strategically placed on top of a flap that would collapse under his weight.
The girls by their leprechaun trap.
The next morning, the leprechaun did visit. He did not repair their girls' shoes like they had hoped. (Leprechauns are cobblers who work on fairy shoes. They only make one shoe...for some reason.) Instead, he sprinkled gold dust all over the table, had pushed over the box that he was trapped in for some time, and left four gold $1 coins (two for each of the girls).
After the leprechaun visited.
Later in the day, we read a few books:
Leprechauns and Irish Folklore by Mary Pope Osborne
St. Patrick's Day by Natalie Rosinsky
Finn McCoul by Brian Gleeson
Clever Tom and the Leprechaun by Linda Shute
This last book - Clever Tom and the Leprechaun is one of the books that is used to make the monthly paper quilts that the girls are making. The patterns are in Easy Literature-Based Quilts Around the Year. They'll be making the quilt based on this book by the end of the month.
Normally, I try to make a variety of Irish food (e.g., Irish soda bread for breakfast) at different meals on St. Patrick's Day. This year, the only special "green" food that I made was a triple-layer brownie. The bottom layer is the brownie (homemade...not from a box), the middle layer is a powdered sugar frosting that is mint flavored and tinted green, and the top layer is a chocolate chip frosting.
The recipe is from Taste of Home magazine and is absolutely amazing! The brownies are the type you don't want to stop eating...they're that good. So, I cut the brownies into very small pieces so when the girls ask, "How many brownies can we have?" I can say, "You may have two brownies." Little do they know that two brownies is still smaller than one full-size brownie.
Chocolate Mint Brownies - The recipe I followed
looked just like this when it was done.
One of highlights of the St. Patrick's Day holiday was being featured on Good Morning America's Parenting section on its website. The article is called "Leprechaun Traps, Shamrock Hats and More: St. Patrick's Day Crafts for Kids - Fun Activities That Teach Children About the Luckiest Holiday of All" and it is written by Christina Caron.
Christina found out about me through a mention and interview on two other websites. She called me to ask more about what I've done with the girls in the past, and wanted to get more information about leprechaun traps. We had a nice half-hour conversation and she wrote a great feature about different ways to celebrate the St. Patrick Holiday with children. Here's where to read the article: http://abcnews.go.com/US/Parenting/st-patricks-day-crafts-kids/story?id=13152467&page=1