I recently had my DNA results analyzed and I’m pleased to report that I’m 17% Irish. I’m not entirely sure which part of me is Irish, but with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner. I thought it might be fun to share a couple of simple, festive and potentially GREEN ideas for the celebrating the holiday with your favorite kids--or kids at heart.
But wait. What exactly is St. Patrick’s Day and why is it actually a holiday?
ORIGINS OF ST. PATRICK’S DAY
The March 17 celebration started in 1631 when the Catholic Church established a Feast Day honoring St. Patrick. A Patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick died around the fifth century—12 centuries before the modern version of the holiday was first observed!
In the early 18th century, many of the traditions we recognize now began to take shape including shamrocks, parades, “wearing of the green” and even green beer. The religious holiday has become more of a phenomenon for celebrating Irish culture.
Sidenote: I was lucky enough to be in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago and I can personally vouch for the green river running through town that day!
NOW FOR THE KID-FRIENDLY IDEAS
Pour yourself a big bowl of Lucky Charms, and considerr a few ideas for celebrating the holiday without a lot of fuss.
1. COOK A TRADITIONAL--OR NOT SO TRADITIONAL--IRISH DINNER
How about corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread or potato soup? Find a great, simple Irish Soda Bread recipe HERE. Not in the mood to cook or bake? French fries certainly work in a pinch to honor the abundance of potatoes in Ireland and everybody loves them! Buy a few varieties of fry sauce and see which is the favorite for a little extra fun.
2. SHAMROCK SCAVENGER HUNT OR GEO-CACHE
Cut out a few shamrocks from construction paper and hide them throughout the house. Send the kids on a hunt and whoever finds the most wins a bag of lucky chocolate coins to share.
For a slightly more advanced version of this activity, consider geo-caching in your neighborhood and place a St. Patrick’s Day themed item in the cache. New to the concept of geo caching? It's super fun and the kids will definitely think you are cool! Learn more HERE.
3. ALL THINGS GREEN PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT
Photo scavenger hunts require no advance preparation—just access to a phone. Divide into groups and spend three minutes in the garden (or living room!) snapping photos of all the green items you see. When the allotted time ends, compare notes and the photographer with the highest number of unique photos wins!
4. GO ON AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
Plan an outdoor hike or adventure while enjoying the natural shades of green provided by Mother Nature. Is your neighborhood still blanketed in snow? That's okay. Bundle up and head outside--you might see a green crocus just inching up out of the ground!
5. ENJOY A FAMILY FRIENDLY GREEN BEVERAGE
Whirl together some mint chip ice cream with some milk (or even better, half and half) and top with some green sprinkles for a treat that leprechauns of every age will enjoy. A little bit of green food coloring helps.
6. TIME FOR DESSERT!
Cut brownies (homemade or purchased) into squares and add a rosette of green buttercream and a few sprinkles. Or melt green candy melts in the microwave (15 seconds, stir and repeat until melted) and drizzle with a fork over the brownies.
More ideas? Make a batch of cupcakes—or bake an entire cake and color it with green tint for a “green velvet cake” sure to please all the St. Patrick’s Day revelers in your household. Looking for an incredible buttercream recipe? I've got you covered here.
So, whether you are 17% Irish or just honorarily Irish, enjoy the day. And don’t forget to wear green!