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Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with your Child ... At Home

Ideas for celebrating this Irish holiday with your child

Looking for a few ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with your child? Look no further. Here are some educational ways you and your child can celebrate the famous Irish holiday.

First, you could read her a story with an Irish theme. I would recommend “Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland” by author/illustrator Tomie DePaola. This story is a retelling of the life of Saint Patrick from birth to his conversion of the Irish people to Christianity. Another Irish-themed Tomie DePaolo book to check out is “Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka.”

I would also recommend “The Irish Cinderlad” by Shirley Climo. This story is an interesting twist on the well-known story of Cinderella. It features a little Irish boy named Becan who runs away from his mean stepmother and stepsisters, defeats a giant, slays a dragon and rescues a princess. These books are geared towards children in kindergarten through third grade.

Children have great imaginations, so ask your child to write a creative story about how to catch or trick a leprechaun in order to get his gold. Before she begins, ask her what she knows about leprechauns to get the creative juices flowing.

Encourage her to write her ideas down so that she can refer back to them as she's writing. Ask her questions about what leprechauns look like, how they speak, what kind of personality they have, where they live and where they hide their gold. When she's finished with her story, she may want to color or paint a picture to illustrate her leprechaun or one of the events in the story.

If you would like to improve your child's vocabulary, try a St. Patrick's Day synonym match game. Explain to your child that synonyms are words that have the same or similar meaning, like happy and glad or big and gigantic. Write the following synonym pairs on index cards: clover and shamrock, coins and change, lucky and fortunate, wee and small, trick and fool, hide and conceal, protect and guard, rich and wealthy. Each word is written on its own card.

Depending on the ability level of your child, you may want to discuss the meanings of the words before you begin the game to see if there are any words with which your child is not familiar. This game is similar to the game Memory. Arrange the cards in four rows of four with the words face down.

One player turns over two cards and decides if the words are synonyms. If they are, the player must use each word in a sentence in order to keep the match. If he cannot do this or if the words are not synonyms, then he must flip them back over and the other player takes her turn. If he keeps the match, he may go again.

Play continues until all of the cards are matched. The player with the most matches wins. Perhaps the reward can be a pot of delicious chocolate gold coins!

Another fun activity with a delicious reward at the end is M&M multiplication. This activity is a great way to introduce or practice multiplication tables. Provide your child with a bag of green M&Ms and instruct him to make three rows of five. Explain that to find the total number of M&Ms he can multiply the factors three and five to get the product of fifteen.

If your child is just learning multiplication, explain that this is the same as counting by fives three times, or 5+5+5=15. Multiplication is just repeated addition. Keep practicing by changing the number of rows and/or the number of M&Ms in each row. Before you know it, your child will be a master at multiplication. Who knew multiplication could be so tasty? Have a happy St. Patrick's Day!

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