Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Learn about Ireland for St Patrick's Day Through Books and Crafts from Afterschool for Smarty Pants (

This post has been refreshed on February 17, 2013 with new graphics, text and links. Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!

Read About IrelandHooray for St Patrick Day

In honor of St Patrick’s Day we decided to “visit” Ireland. Until now my 3 year old didn’t have a lot of exposure to Ireland and its folklore, so we started by reading a very basic book – Hooray for St Patrick’s Day by Joan Holub, illustrated by Paul Meisel. She loves books about school, and in this book children put up a play, make crafts and have a St Patrick’s Day parade. As an additional bonus, there is also a leprechaun hiding in each picture (Smarty keeps calling them lollipons).

The book that didn’t work out for us was Look What Came From Ireland. I returned it to the library without even showing it to Smarty, because there was almost nothing in this book that she could possibly connect to. It’s not the first time I had to do it – sometimes the books marked for 4-8 are definitely meant more for 8+ than for 4 year olds.

Look at the Maps

I believe in early exposure to “real” geography, so I always make a point to pull out a map when we talk about different countries (unfortunately, we don’t have a wall available for a wall map). I printed two maps for Smarty to look at – Ireland at the world’s map and a more detailed map of Ireland. She was amazed that Ireland is so tiny and said, How can people fit there? It gave us a chance to talk a little bit about scale. She also asked a good question about the legend of St Patrick. She asked, If St Patrick threw snakes out of Ireland, where did they go? There is water everywhere!

A Craft for Ireland


We didn’t have time for an elaborate craft, so we did simple “Irish rings” out of sparkly green pipecleaners and green pompoms. Smarty was delighted to have her homemade jewelry… well for long enough to snap this picture!

Smarty is very enthusiastic about learning about the world and makes the funniest conclusions. Here is our exchange on weekend:

  • Me: You know, leprechauns are really magical creatures.
  • Smarty: No, they are not! They are just people who live in Ireland!

An Irish Dish for St Patrick’s Day

On Monday we made Irish beef stew (my husband doesn’t like lamb). It turned out delicious, at least for adults, but a little too much work and clean up for my taste.

More Resources for St Patrick’s Day

Your Turn:

Do you do anything special to celebrate St Patrick’s Day even if you are not Irish?


Elise said...

Lollipons- that is so cute. Blakie was trying to say leprechaun today and I can't even begin to try and spell out what he was saying, but it was adorable.

Anna is wise beyond her years as proven with her question inquiring where all the snakes went (and numerous other comments she has made)

I often find the age limit on games is high. Like you said, you can usually modify the rules slightly and then the game is easily suitable for a younger child.

Anna's "catch the leprechaun" game sounds magical. What a joy that would have been to watch.

Joyful Learner said...

Lol. The last statement got me. It's something JC would say. I love all her questions. And the rainbow idea is adorable!

As for books above the level, I usually show the pictures or the photographs and just talk about it.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Hahahaha! Anna's explanation for leprechauns cracked me up! So cute!! What fun Irish activities you guys did! Great ideas!!

Ticia said...

OH MY lollipons, how absolutely adorable!
We get quite a few flops or mostly summarize at our house because of the numbers of nonfiction books we check out each week. My kids love nonfiction books, mostly.

MaryAnne said...

I've had the same problem with 4-8 books being more of 8+ books. I think Anna's rainbow is really cute, and I love her "How can people fit there?" question!

And lollipons is a very cute name for leprechauns =)

Christy said...

I love it when you include things Anna says in your posts! So cute!

I agree with you about recommended ages for books. We have definitely had that problem.

Debbie said...

I love her rainbow! Her lollipons, and statements about Ireland being so tiny, oh and where did the snakes go are just adorable! Funny how our children's minds think!

Thank you for joining us this week!

Orange Juice said...

That is fantastic! I love the rainbow!!! Did she come up with that all on her own? Besides of course what daddy did for her. ;)

Julie said...

You know, I can't believe I didn't think to focus on Ireland this week! C asked for Hawaii and it never dawned on me that Ireland would have been better. Fun stuff here! I love the rainbow! And cute how she asked where all the snakes went!!

Anonymous said...

I was very negligent when it came to the library this year for St. Patrick's Day. Maybe next year!

I love the last picture of Anna - she looks so happy.

Debbie said...

Nice geography study for St. Pat's! I love, love, love the Look What Came From...series (and I don't even have the Ireland one yet); however, I agree they wouldn't be good for a 4-year-old. I've had the books for awhile, but I didn't start using them until the end of last school year for my son (he was 7 1/2 then), and he really enjoys them now.

Thanks for your comments on my France unit. My son was very pleased to hear that you liked his painting--he likes it now that he's finished it! We went through a tiny bit of France (on our way to Holland) just after this study. Also, last summer I got to visit the medieval village of Yvoire, France, near the Swiss border. I highly recommend it! Hopefully we'll get to explore France more someday.

Carrie said...

What a great lesson! We will have to look at this book. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!