Thursday, March 11, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Activities

As those who know me understand, I am a complete NUT for St. Patrick's Day!!! I go all out. I dress up, wear green and silly hats almost every day for weeks, read stories with an Irish brogue and set traps and search for leprechauns.  The leprechauns visit my class daily and make a little mess. Sometimes they leave a note or a treat. The fun is in the magic.

I admit, I am having BIG FUN!!! But I think my kids are really learning, too. It is still early in our St. Patrick's Day season, but I wanted to share some of the fun we're already having.

Leprechauns Come To Visit
Almost daily, the "Leprechauns" come to our room and visit. These mischievous creatures make a mess, play with our toys, and occasionally leave notes or special snacks. 

The friends discovering a tableau made by the Leprechauns!

Graphing Lucky Charms cereal:
 We downloaded graphs from Teaching Heart and graphed Lucky Charms cereal as a small group activity.


Math Games
I tend to make quick games similar to this for most of my themes. We do a variety of activities with these. Roll the dice and count the appropriate number of pieces of gold to put on the shamrock. The kids always love this type of game, and I can use it for a variety of assessment purposes or they can play independently. I also have a set of shamrocks with uppercase and lowercase letters for matching, some with weather pictures, and a set with a few of the sight words some of the friends have learned.

Following Directions to Draw a Leprechaun
We did a following directions activity from a Mailbox magazine several years ago. Step by step, the children follow directions to make a picture. In the end, it turns out to be a leprechaun. This is great---not only do they learn to follow directions, but many of the friends having been drawing leprechauns on their own since completing the activity!

Multicultural Leprechauns
  One of my friends noticed that all of the leprechaun decorations we had purchased had leprechauns with light skin. "Mrs. Ayn, why aren't there any leprechauns with brown skin?" I didn't know what to say. I usually try to have a very multicultural classroom where everyone feels included. I was horrified to realize that I hadn't noticed the lack of multicultural leprechauns!  We decided that we wanted ALL the leprechauns that visit our room to feel welcome and included, so we made some dark skinned leprechauns to decorate our room and bulletin boards, too.

Several of her friends wanted this leprechaun to have friends that looked like him, as well, so they made dark skinned leprechauns, too!

Leprechaun Traps!

My friends have set about the task of catching the leprechauns. I really don't think they are interested in the gold, but more in finding new and interesting playmates! Here are a few of the traps the friends have made this week.

A Preliminary glimpse into the "Wee World" Planning Phase
My friend, Teacher Tom has written some AMAZING posts about his Little World, a land of imaginary play outdoors. If you haven't read any of the Little World posts, you really should---I know you'll be glad you did! I've watched his idea morph into a spectacular experience for the children AND adults at his school. I was taken by the idea from his first post, but felt it was not something I would be able to implement in our class. With each successive post, I became more and more intrigued, until the ideas were spinning in my head! I decided I would do a mini version in the area that will be our small garden patch later in the spring. I knew that I would probably need help, even if we tried this on a smaller scale. As luck would have it, I have a parent who has recently become available to help out more in the classroom and had offered to assist with any upcoming projects.

I told Luke's mom about Teacher Tom and the things he was doing. I explained how inspired I'd been and how I wanted to help the children build some sort of imaginary world that they could play in outside. She said she'd be glad to help, but she really wasn't sure about this. Would I mind sending her the links so she could check out Teacher Tom's Little World to understand what I was thinking? I agreed, but secretly thought that while she would definitely be impressed, that she may feel this was too big an undertaking for her.

She came back the next morning just beaming and looked at me and said, "Mrs. Ayn, I'm on board. I'm all in!" She explained that she would be out of town all this week, so she would not be able to help me get going until next week. She thought maybe we should see if any parents had old birdhouses laying around to donate for our "Wee World". Great idea!

This past weekend, I was shopping at Michael's for a few seasonal supplies and a little old lady stopped me as she completely blocked the aisle. "Would you look at these? They are so cute. They are only a dollar---I think I'm going to get one for each of my grandchildren for summer projects." I looked and she was holding the cutest unfinished birdhouses. Needless to say, I bought several!

With the recent visits by our Leprechaun friends, the children have decided the "Wee World" will be a place for the Leprechauns to live and play. In the words of one of my dear little friends, "Mrs. Ayn, we should build the Leprechauns a comm-U-ni-ty! That's what they need. They are here, far from home and they need a community!" So that's what we're gonna do! I'm sure I will have future posts about progress in the "Wee World" as we move forward.


  1. You know, Ayn, I've never been a St. Patrick's Day fan. It has always evoked memories of anxiety about getting pinched if I wasn't wearing green!

    But, this post, and your enthusiasm for the holiday has turned me. It will be a scramble, but the Woodland Park kids are going to get some St. Patty's day celebration this year. I'll probably just copy it all!


  2. Yayyyy! You go Tom! I'm in Pre-K, so we're all about the good stuff. I never even mention the pinching. By the way, we don't ever actually SEE the leprechauns...not yet anyway! :)

  3. I love the leprechaun traps! I found you through We Teach, and am a follower now! I can't wait to see more of your ideas.

  4. I love the traps! What a cute idea!

  5. I'm anxious to see how your Wee World develops. It's such an intriguing idea. And those birdhouses are wonderful.


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