March can be a long month. The hustle and bustle of the new year has worn off. Easter is still a few weeks in the distance. Naturally, the one holiday that falls in this transitional month is something to celebrate!
St. Patrick’s Day has become the default March holiday whether you have Irish heritage or not. Everyone is Irish on March 17. St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate. The bright greens, colorful rainbows and cute leprechauns are perfect for all kind of preschool activities!
Here are a few fun ideas you can use at home or the classroom with your little ones.
Count Gold Coins
Gold coins provide the perfect opportunity to practice basic numeric literacy and practice counting. In this activity, you’ll start by cutting out small gold (or yellow) circles. On each “coin,” write numbers one through ten. Then give each student a sheet with the word form of each number.
Put all the coins into one pot (or bowl or hat). Have a small group of students gather around one pot. Students take turns pulling numbers out of the pot. On their recording sheet, they put a tally mark next to the number they chose. The next student pulls a number from the pot and records it on his or her sheet. Students should compare the two numbers. Who chose the larger number?
When they’ve pulled all the coins from the pot, they can compare their tally sheets and discuss who pulled more of each number. If you have students with advanced skills, they can practice adding the numbers they pull from the pot.
Clip the Letters on the Correct Color Rainbow String
This is a wonderful activity to not only practice academic skills but also fine motor skills. Cut long pieces of yarn in rainbow colors. Attach the length of yarn to an index card. On the front of the card, write four letters of the alphabet. For example, write A, B, C, D and attach it to the red string. Staple the index cards to an empty wall that students can reach. (Because there are 6 colors in the rainbow and 26 letters in the alphabet, two index cards will have 5 letters.)
Write letters on small squares of paper. (If you have access to a laminator, you may want to laminate these letter squares.) Have students choose a square from a bowl. With a small clothes pin, students will clip the square letter to the appropriate string. Using the example above, an “A” would get clipped on the red string.
This activity can be adapted to suit almost any kind of sorting lesson. For example, you could use three strings attached to cards that say “big, bigger, biggest.” Cut out shapes of various sizes and students clip each shape to the appropriate string.
For a tactile lesson, get shallow trays or paper plates with a fairly substantial lip. Pour a layer of sprinkles into each tray or plate. Students should practice writing letters (or numbers) into each tray.
Students could work in pairs. One student calls out a letter. The other student has to draw it in the sprinkles. Partners can take turns writing and calling out letters.
Draw the outline of a rainbow on a piece of paper. Then have students rip small piece of colored paper and pile them according to color. If you can get paint sample sheets, these work beautifully. Because each color sample strip has shades of one color, students rip (or cut) the sample sheets into small pieces.
When the kids have enough pieces of each color, they should begin to fill in their rainbow outline with the small pieces of color using a glue stick. When they are done, their rainbow will have a mosaic look to it with various shades of each color.
This activity also requires some prep work up front but well worth your effort! Cut out individual leaves of a shamrock. Write four rhyming words on each leaf. Choose three or four sets of rhyming words. Students have to find the four leaves that rhyme and glue them together to make a rhyming four leaf clover.
For a more simplified version, use an outline of a shamrock. On the top of the outline, write a list of about ten words. Four of those words should rhyme. Students have to write the four rhyming words in the leaves of the shamrock. They should their shamrocks in.
Candy Color Science Experiment
This activity requires some adult supervision and direction. You’ll need white paper plates or shallow bowls, Skittles candies, and water.
Place a row of candies around the edge of the plate. Alternate colors for best results. Ask students what they think might happen if you poured water onto the plate. Encourage them to discuss and explain their ideas.
Once you have all the candies in place, and have had a chance to hypothesize, pour enough water to just cover the bottom of the plate or bowl. If the candies move, quickly push them back into place.
Watch as the color from the candies runs in the water to make pretty stripes on the plate. Ask students to evaluate their hypotheses. Were they correct? Why or why not? If you have other candies like jelly beans, Life Savers, or even M&Ms, repeat the experiment. Be sure not to skip the discussion of their hypotheses!
Classic Games with a St. Paddy’s Twist
If you want to get students up out of their seats, play a round of Leprechaun Says — instead of Simon Says. Or try Leprechaun Hide and Seek. One person hides a leprechaun hat or Shamrock. The rest of the group has to try to find it.
St. Patrick’s Day is one of the best holidays to celebrate with little ones. It’s not about presents or candy or any particular religious affiliation. Although not everyone is Irish, it’s an inclusive holiday in that everyone can celebrate! Have some fun this month enjoying any of these preschool activities.