7 Fun St. Patrick's Day Activities for the Classroom
March has arrived. And with it, unpredictable weather, the beginning of spring, and--of course--St. Patrick’s Day.
St. Patrick’s Day originated as a celebration of the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick, who died on March 17, 461. St. Patrick’s Day traditions can include anything from eating corned beef and cabbage to wearing green or orange clothing.
St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate both at home and at school. Here are a few activities for teachers to use in the classroom to involve students in the celebrations while also improving their literacy or math skills.
1. Write Limericks
Limericks are humorous poems often associated with having an Irish origin. Limericks are five lines long: lines one, two, and five are the same length and rhyme with each other; lines three and four are shorter and rhyme with each other—otherwise known as an “AABBA” rhyme scheme. Limericks often start with the phrase, “There once was a …" Give students a prompt and teach them the pattern of a limerick, then let them try writing their very own limericks! If your school uses Imagine Language and Literacy, don’t forget to submit your students’ limericks to try and win your class a pizza party!
2. “What's the story, horse?”
“Story, horse” is an Irish phrase that means, “How’s it going?” Have your students write their own stories with an Irish theme and share them with the class. Their stories could involve something that happens on St. Patrick’s Day or include traditional St. Patrick’s Day symbols such as rainbows, leprechauns, or shamrocks. Students can choose to share their stories with the class or create art related to their stories.
3. Try acrostic poems
Teach your students about acrostic poems and have them write an acrostic poem where they write one word for each letter of a St. Patrick’s Day-related word such as leprechauns, shamrocks, rainbows, or pot of gold. Have students share their poems. Additionally, they could create art related to their poem.
4. Read an Irish fable as a class
There are a plethora of Irish fables and short stories that could be fun to read to children. Find some online or check out your local library for a few ideas, including this collection of Irish fables.
5. Play Leprechaun Math Bingo
Create blank Bingo sheets. Instruct students to write in numbers from a number bank—based on the level of math your students are working on—in their board’s empty spaces. For example, numbers one to ten for younger grades, and up to 50 or 100 for mid-elementary school grade levels. Print grade-level math problems on yellow paper and place those papers in a “pot of gold.” Have students take turns pulling math problems from the pot of gold, solving the problems, and crossing out the solution numbers if they have them on their Bingo boards. Check their answers as they get bingo to make sure they have the correct numbers. Small treats—like gold wrapped chocolates—can be their prizes.
6. Solve a St. Patty’s Day Math Puzzle
Assign various numbers to St. Patrick’s Day-themed images (e.g. pot-of-gold=4, leprechaun=3, rainbow=2, shamrock=1, etc.) without revealing what those numbers are to the students. Present your students with sets of math problems that include the solution and have them work to figure out what number each image represents (Rainbow + Shamrock = 3, Shamrock + Shamrock = 2, Rainbow x Pot of Gold = 8).
7. Cook a St. Patrick's Day Treat
Math is always an important part of cooking, and who doesn't love to eat a yummy treat at the end of a project? Try creating a delicious St. Patrick's Day treat in small groups or as a whole class, such as Leprechaun Popcorn Delight (see recipe below). Let students measure and use math to work out serving sizes and amounts.
You can also use colored, ring-shaped cereal to create rainbows that teach patterns, a fundamental skill for learning math. Use your creativity, do a little searching, and see what recipes you can find to incorporate into your classroom celebrations.
Leprechaun Popcorn Delight:
- 1 full-sized bag of microwave popcorn
- 1 cup green chocolate candy melts
- 1/2 cup white chocolate candy melts
- Green/gold sprinkles
- Green M&Ms
Pop the popcorn. Remove any unpopped kernels.
Place the candy melts in small bowls or glass measuring cups, one for each color.
Microwave the green candy for 40 seconds then stir, repeat in 20 second intervals until melted and smooth. (about 1-2 minutes)
Drizzle the melted green chocolate candy over of the bowl of popcorn and use a silicone spatula or your hands to toss to coat evenly. Spread popcorn mix out onto a large serving platter or baking sheet. Add some of the green sugar sprinkles.
Melt the white candy melts and drizzle over the platter of popcorn, immediately top generously with more sprinkles. They will adhere to the melted white chocolate candy.
Toss on the M&Ms. Allow the Leprechaun Popcorn to cool a few minutes before serving. Serve in bags or bowls.
Whatever activities you incorporate into your classroom St. Patrick's Day celebrations, enjoy the festivities while helping your students learn and have a "craic," good time!