10 Children’s Books and Activities for St. Patrick's Day!
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Don’t forget to wear green! St. Patrick’s Day lands every March 17th, and for elementary school students this means, wear green or be pinched! But what else does it mean? St. Patrick’s Day began as a celebration of the Patron Saint Patrick who brought christianity to Irealand around the year 430. The Irish celebrated his life with feasts and church services on March 17th. It was Irish immigrants who brought the holiday to the United States and created a tradition of celebrating all things Irish. In many ways St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration of the rich history of imagration in the United States.
Read on for a list of children’s books and activities to do with your family or elementary school classroom. These activities will engage students in the stories being read and help bring the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day into your classroom or home!
1. Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Torie dePaol
Learn the story of St. Patrick and why he is so important to the people of Ireland. This is a great story to teach about faith and Christianity.
ACTIVITY: Do a scripture search and learn about people in the bible who have faith or who’s prayers are answered. How can we be an example of faith each day?
2. Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato By Tornie dePaola
What will the lazy farmer do if his poor wife can’t help farm the potatoes that year? Will his luck change if he catches the leprechaun?
ACTIVITY: Have a baked potato bar, or even an “all things potato buffet.” You can even look up the history of the potato in Ireland and talk about how important it was to their history.
3. That's What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
Learn about all the mischief a group of leprechauns can make as they journey to hide their pot of gold.
ACTIVITY: Make your own Leprechaun puppet from a paper bag. Then write a list of character traits or write a biography telling about the life of your puppet leprechaun. Let children have their puppet share his or her story with the group.
4. The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing
A great spin off the poem, “Twas the Night Before Christmas”...will the children catch the Leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day night?
ACTIVITY: Have a Leprechaun picture, nicknack or doll. Have one student leave the room. Choose another student to hide the leprechaun. Let the student who left the room come back. Have a St. Patrick’s Day poem up. The class must choral read the poem as the student who left the room looks for the Leprechaun. If the student is walking closer to the Leprechaun the class must read louder, if the student is walking farther away from the Leprechaun the class must read more quietly. This continues until the student finds the Leprechaun.
5. Happy St. Patrick's Day Curious George by H.A. Ray
George enjoys many traditions typical to participate in on St. Patrick’s Day. What might he discover?
ACTIVITY: First, have students decorate a shoe box to make a St. Patrick’s Day treasure chest. Then, hide chocolate gold coins and let the students find them and put them in their box. For older students or children you could have the kids hide the coins for each other and give rhyming clues or riddles that the other students/kids can use to find the coins.
BONUS ACTIVITY: Have students write St. Patrick’s Day Limerick poems. Share them with the class or in small groups.
6. How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
Enjoy the captivating pictures as we journey with a mischievous Leprechaun who must escape every trap on St. Patrick’s Day!
ACTIVITY: Engineering/STEM activity, create a leprechaun trap using ideas from the partner book “How to build a Leprechaun Trap” by Larissa Juliano. You can give students specific materials or time requirements to increase the engagement in the STEM challenge.
7. Pete the Cat: The Great Leprechaun Chase by James Dean
Join Pete the Cat as he starts a Leprechaun catching business to help bring good luck to his friends!
BONUS ACTIVITY: Make lucky charm thank you cards. Have students write cards to their family and friends where they can express why they are lucky to have them as a friend or family member.
8. Baby's First St. Patrick's Day by DK
A simple book with pictures and vocabulary to see and learn about on St. Patrick’s Day.
ACTIVITY: Color a picture of a St. Patrick’s Day word that was taught in the book and put it up to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day.
BONUS ACTIVITY: For smaller children, listen to St. Patrick’s Day songs on YouTube and have a dance party or go around the house and find things that are green.
9. Fiona's Luck by Teresa Bateman
A story about a greedy Leprechaun who steals the luck in Ireland and a girl’s journey to get it back!
ACTIVITY: Make Lucky charms by making four leaf clover cut outs and then having students write things they can do to be successful (lucky). Help teach them about ways we can be our best self in school or at home and be grateful for the small things in our lives.
10. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess
A story about trying new things. Not very Irish, but a fun story (that is very accessible for last minute planners ;) and great for the activity of serving your children a green breakfast before school on St. Patrick’s Day.
ACTIVITY: Dye scrambled eggs green and serve them for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day.
11. As Good as Gold: Disney’s Out and About with Pooh Volume 1 by Ann Braybroot
Join Whinnie the Pooh bear and his friends as they search for gold at the end of the rainbow, only to discover they have something even better.
ACTIVITY: Make gold coin cut outs for your children or students. Have them write down goals they have or important things in their lives. Put all these coins in a shoe box on the floor next to a butcher paper rainbow cut out on the wall. As a class or family, write what ideas for what we can do to get to our pot of gold. Have students think about what they can do to reach their goals and how they should set their priorities and enjoy the most important things in life.
How do you catch a Leprechaun?Catching a Leprechaun can be a great family activity around St. Patrick’s Day. In order to catch one, you must first become familiar with Irish folklore around leprechauns in order to know how to outsmart them. It is also important to be very clever and have an idea of what bait will entice them to come to the trap.
What are good holiday read alouds?Read alouds are a great way to bring the magic of a holiday into your elementary school classroom, without taking up instructional time. Check out my blogs below to learn more great books to read around the holidays throughout the school year!