Ok, so this little tradition started wayyyyy back when I was in my first year of teaching. I remember going out and buying a tiny rubber “foot shaped” stamp and green ink and going to TOWN in my classroom. The kiddos went nuts and it’s been a favorite tradition ever since.
If you’re just starting this tradition this year I highly suggest these two books:
How to Trap a Leprechaun- Provides a fun background and answers “what & why” for the kiddo who may be wondering what in the heck you are asking them to do! How To Build a Leprechaun Trap– Is a great tool if you are needing trap ideas or if you have bigger kids who want to make something more challenging! It’s pretty awesome and even gives STEAM connections in some of the trap instructions!
(For more St. Patrick’s Day book recommendations, see my March Book Post!)
Legend says that the sneaky little Irish fairies are known to keep to themselves, hide their gold at the end of rainbows, and play general mischief on humans. They are nearly impossible to catch and according to legend, if caught, leprechauns will try to barter for their freedom by granting three wishes! The task- on St. Patrick’s Day Eve, when the Leppies are known to be out causing the most mischief, try to create the perfect trap to catch them…and score yourself some wishes!
We started going away over spring break, so now I pack all these supplies up and bring them with us because the girls were NOT ready to quit making their traps. What I typically try to collect for trap building: (it changes every year)
- tissue boxes
- toilet paper rolls
- shoe boxes
- small paper cups
- paper plates
- cotton balls
- craft sticks
- pipe cleaner
- construction paper
Things Leprechauns Love:
- green hats
- 4-leaf clovers
- the color green
- We love to add creative accents like little craft stick ladders, a giant hole covered with tissue paper for the leprechaun to fall through, a fun toilet paper roll tunnel, hanging some “bait” from a string, etc. Get creative!
- We sit around together to plan, discuss, look at pictures in our book, and then I let them GO TO TOWN! I step in only when they ask for help. If I’m feeling crafty (read as: needing to be in control of the craft) I’ll sit with them and make my own. It’s such a fun family activity!
- Not into crafts? Target has some ready-made green box traps and “leprechaun mess” baggies in the dollar spot! Or this adorable $5 “game” would be the perfect trap too!
We set out our traps before bed. We’ve always set them outside, due to the mess the Leprechauns usually leave in their wake, but you can obviously set yours anywhere. In the morning, the kids wake up and are shocked (and usually pretty mad!) that the tricky little Leps have gotten away (again!) and wreaked havoc on their traps in the process, leaving behind a trail of glitter, a “better luck next year” note, and usually a small treat as a consolation prize. (skittles or chocolate coins are their fav!) One year we got so close to catching a Leprechaun that he left his tiny green hat (cough, Hobby Lobby, cough) behind! He must’ve been so mad…everyone knows how much Leprechauns love their hats!