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It was March 17, 2020. I had three young kids at home: a 1-year-old, a nearly-3-year-old, and a freshly minted 5-year-old. The world had just shut down for what, at the time, we were still thinking would just be an extended Spring Break.

What is a parent to do stuck at home with an infant, a toddler, and a preschooler on St. Patrick’s Day? Well, go all out, of course! I had always ensured everyone had a token green shirt and maybe a shamrock decoration on hand to mark the day, but it was never a big deal for us. Like it did with so many things, COVID changed all of that. For us, though, quarantine St. Patrick’s Day was the start of a fun family tradition!

I discovered that I like celebrating the small, obscure holidays with littles at least as much as the bigger ones because there are fewer expectations, less pressure, and less buildup. Here are some of the fun ideas I’ve enjoyed doing with my family over the years. I hope this strikes inspiration for some fun you can have with your family!

Green Clothes: This one is a given for the kids, but over the years I’ve made sure my husband and I both have green shirts so we can be festive (and avoid pinches), too!

Four children dressed in various shades of green for St. Patrick's Day
My kids on our first St. Patrick’s Day with baby brother.

Green Cookies: Cookie decorating isn’t just for Christmas and Valentine’s Day! Sometimes we get fancy and use our shamrock cookie cutter and food dye. Sometimes we just use break and bake and enjoy an excuse to use up the extra green sprinkles from Christmas. No one ever complains when cookies are involved!

Scavenger Hunt: Because our first “big” St. Patrick’s Day was on day four of COVID lockdown, our neighborhood encouraged families to color shamrocks and post them in a front window for kids to find. There were four houses with a golden shamrock, and the first people to find those houses won some sort of (heavily sanitized) prize. While our neighborhood doesn’t do that anymore, we do like to go on a walk and see what festive things we can find. Over the years this has involved everything from hunting through a bed of clover for a lucky four-leafed one, to a photo shoot with the giant leprechaun hat a few streets over, to creating a list of how many green things we can find in nature. Let creativity be your guide with this one, and if it gets you outside, all the better!

Two boys in front of a giant leprechaun hat.
Two of my boys found this giant leprechaun hat on a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

Shamrock Sandwiches: We use a shamrock cookie cutter to make lunch fun. Sometimes kids get a shamrock PBJ, and sometimes it’s an open-face PB sandwich with green sprinkles (seems like a fair trade for jelly, right?) Round it out with some cucumbers and green grapes and it’s a good lunch, on theme!

Green Eggs and Rainbows: The crown jewel of our St. Patrick’s Day festivities is our dinner. I’ve seen all the recipes for authentic corned beef and cabbage – and while one day we will likely try those to increase our cultural appreciation – for now, we go Cat in the Hat style and have green eggs and ham, with some spinach for good measure. A few drops of green food coloring in your eggs makes this easy and fun. (Don’t use too much food coloring or it will make your eggs rubbery…or so I’ve heard.) I also make Bisquick drop biscuits, again with a few drops of food coloring. Pro tip on this one: mix your food coloring into the milk first so it gets fully integrated into your biscuits. Otherwise, it has a swirly, marbled effect, but that can be fun, too!

No St. Patrick’s Day is complete without a rainbow, so we make ours out of fruit (or fruit and veggies to make the colors work, depending on how prepared I am). Child feeding experts say that kids should “eat the rainbow,” so on St. Patrick’s Day, ours actually do!

Red: apples, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
Orange: oranges or orange bell peppers
Yellow: bananas or pineapple
Green: grapes, kiwi, broccoli, cucumber, snap peas, etc.
Blue: blueberries
Purple: Grapes

Since March 17 is on a Sunday, hopefully you’ll have some extra time to make some festive memories with your kiddos this year. And when they return to Lionheart on Monday, I know their teachers will consider themselves “lucky” to hear all the fun they’ve had on St. Patrick’s Day.

-Micah Q., Marketing Manager

Image of three kids dressed in green in front of a shamrock garland and with an Irish flag to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!
Kids having fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day