What do you imagine when you think of St. Patrick's Day? Before having kids, you may have pictured parades and Guinness pints. Since having children, many responses include leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold.

The Irish have celebrated St. Patrick's Day for over 1,000 years. March 17 represents the anniversary of death of the patron saint for whom the holiday is named. Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.

The holiday's history is a long way from shamrocks and parades, but that doesn't mean the four-leaf clovers and their fun counterparts can't be included in kid-friendly activities. Check out the following ideas and resources for you and your little leprechauns to celebrate the "wearin' of the green!"

Books

Your local bookstore and library will likely have the following selections on display this month.

  • Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever! by Teddy Slater (ages 4-7)
     
  • The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing (ages 5-8)
     
  • It's St. Patrick's Day by Rebecca Gomez (ages 4-8)
     
  • St. Patrick's Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting (ages 5-8)
     
  • Celebrating St. Patrick's Day by Elaine Landau (age 8)
     
  • A Leprechaun's St. Patrick's Day by Sarah Blazek (ages 6-9)
     
  • The St. Patrick's Day Shillelagh by Janett Nolan (ages 7-10)

Movies and Shows

St. Patrick's Day movies aren't as easy to come by as other holiday shows. But here are a few to choose from.

The Luck of the Irish

After losing his pot o' gold charm that brings him good luck, a teenager learns that he's part leprechaun. He finds himself in a race against time to defeat the charm thief before he gains control of all leprechauns. A Disney movie that's not rated but good for all ages.

Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers: The Last Leprechaun

Your favorite rodents are back matching wits with leprechauns in this family-friendly cartoon.

Very Unlucky Leprechaun

9-year-old Molly and her dad inherit a house in Ireland called "Misfortune Manor," and upon moving in begin to experience the curse the house brings to anyone living in it. Molly befriends an out-of-luck leprechaun living on the grounds. The two of them get into mischief on their way to turning their luck around. Rated G.

Finian's Rainbow

The movie version of a Broadway musical starring Fred Astaire and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Astaire plays Irishman Finian McLonergan who steals a pot of gold from Og the leprechaun and brings it to Rainbow Valley in the fictional state of Missitucky.

Riverdance: The Best of Riverdance

While there's no movie plot involving pots of gold and leprechauns, Riverdance showcases wonderful Irish dancing that kids will love. The documentary follows its beginnings in Dublin to concerts in New York City.

Music

When you think of Ireland, you think of music. The following kid-friendly Irish tunes will get you in the St. Patrick's Day mood.

  • "So Early in the Morning: Irish Children's Songs, Rhymes and Games" by Clancy Children
     
  • "Irish Folk Tales for Children" by Sharon Kennedy
     
  • "Celtic Songs for Children" by Golden Bough
     
  • "Lullaby" by Celtic Woman

Crafts and Activities

Many websites offer printable word searches, mazes, and other activities to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. If you and the kids are feeling artistic, check out crafts that put four St. Patrick's Day icons in the spotlight: shamrocks, rainbows, pots of gold and leprechauns.

Food

Food coloring adds St. Patrick's Day fun to many edibles, from green milk to green cupcake icing. Purchase a shamrock-shaped cookie cutter and make "Top o' the Mornin' Shamrock-shaped pancakes." Hide chocolate gold coins in the kids' lunches.

Make the holiday a true Irish celebration and serve dishes such as Irish soda bread and corned beef and cabbage.

Regardless of your nationality, make St. Patrick's Day a day to spend with the kids and celebrate all things Irish.