I am not Irish, but I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s day. Green is my favorite color, so a day when I can wear as much green as possible and other people wear lots of green too makes me happy!
My mom always made corned beef and mashed potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s a tradition that I continue with my family every year.
When I was a kid I used to pretend that leprechauns were living in large rocks outside, and that I could hear them on St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday seemed fun and magical to me.
I wanted to share some of the magic of St. Patrick’s day that I felt as a kid with my kids this year by doing three fun STEAM activities inspired by St. Patrick’s Day using themes of of green, gold, and rainbows.
Keep reading to learn how to grow sprouts on a sponge (GREEN), save and count gold coins (GOLD), and make rainbow crayons (RAINBOW)!
Green Sprouting Sponge
This is a simple fun way for kids to learn about how seeds grow. They can watch seeds grow right on a sponge in the kitchen! You can use a green sponge (and even cut it into a shamrock shape like they did on this blog) to make this more St. Patrick’s Day themed.
Remind your child not to eat the seeds (although it shouldn’t hurt them if they do), wash their hands after touching the sponge and seeds, and remember to immediately clean up any water spills that may occur while caring for your seeds.
- Kitchen sponge (green, if available)
- Chia seeds (or any garden seeds you may have at home)
- Squirt bottle
- Optional: Soak the chia seeds in a small cup of water overnight, at least 10-12 hours, until they look like a paste. We first tried the experiment without soaking the seeds and we did not have success getting the seeds to sprout. (However, we are still waiting for seeds to sprout for our second trial too because we started too close to publication time…)
2. Soak the sponge in water
3. Squeeze some water out of the sponge so it’s just damp, but not dripping wet
4. Use a spoon to spread a thick layer of the seed paste across the top of the sponge
5. Poke the seeds down into holes in the sponge
6. Place on a plate in a sunny location
7. Keep the sponge moist by misting with water (we misted about twice a day as we checked on our seeds and looked for sprouts)
8. Check on your garden and watch it grow! Note: at time of publication, we did not yet have sprouts (although my kids have enjoyed checking on their seeds and watering them daily). I will add photos when we get sprouts!
Your child learned about how plants grow from seeds while watching the seeds sprout in your kitchen. They also learned about how to care for plants by watering the seeds daily, and they learned patience because the seeds take time to grow.
Saving and Counting Gold Coins
This is a great way to introduce toddlers to counting and help preschoolers learn to count higher numbers. It also is how I work on reinforcing good behavior with my children.
My kids benefit from positive reinforcement to encourage good behaviors. My husband and I started giving them gold coins to save when they do something good around the house and told them if they save 50 coins they can exchange them for a goodie of their choice (for example: a chocolate milk at dinner or a small toy).
The coins, especially if you are using real money, are dirty. Be sure your children wash their hands thoroughly after playing with and counting the coins to prevent the spread of germs.
- Coins (I used plastic toy coins from the dollar store, but real change works well too!)
- Prize of your choice to give the child when they collect 50 coins (Examples: chocolate milk, juice, cookies, small toys or books)
- Give your child a coin every time they do something good around the house without you asking them to do it.
A. Examples of this are: putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, making their bed, placing dishes in the sink, cleaning up their toys when they are finished playing with them, using polite words, sharing, learning to use the potty, etc., so they should hopefully be getting many coins throughout the day.
2. Have your child store the earned coins in a container
3. Ask your child to count their gold coins at the end of every day
4. When your child has collected 50 coins (and counted to 50 with you), reward them with a prize of your choice
A. Prizes my kids love are chocolate milk or juice with dinner, a special treat or snack like a cookie, or a small toy.
Your child learned that they will get a reward for good behavior, so this encourages more good behavior. They also learned that collecting and saving coins can lead to a bigger reward. And last but not least, they learned how to count using the coins they collected.
Homemade Rainbow Crayons
We saw this fun activity in our KiwiCo Rainbows Koala Crate magazine. We tried it out and it was so fun that I wanted to share it here on the blog!
You will use your oven in this experiment. Keep children away from the hot oven, and do not allow them to touch the crayons or the muffin tin until they are completely cooled.
- Crayons in assorted rainbow colors
- Muffin tin
- Cupcake liners
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees F. My oven would only go to a minimum of 170 degrees F, so we used that temp and it worked perfectly.
2. Place cupcake liners in the muffin tin
3. Unwrap the crayons
4. Break the crayons into small pieces (we used all our already broken crayons – my two-year-old loves breaking crayons in half…)
5. Place the crayon pieces in the cupcake liners (be sure to put one of each color in each liner)
6. Bake the crayons in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the wax has completely melted
7. Remove from the oven and let cool in a safe location out of the reach of your children
8. Remove the rainbow crayons from the cupcake liners
9. Use the rainbow crayons to make colorful drawings
Your child learned that broken crayons can be re-purposed into new colorful crayons by melting them together in the oven. They are also learning about changes of state (see my Rice Krispies Treats post to learn all about changes of state). The solid crayons melt to liquid in the hot oven. When they are removed from the oven and allowed to cool they return to a solid.
I hope you have fun with your child trying one or all of these fun St. Patrick’s Day themed activities.
Which one makes you think most of St. Patrick’s Day, the green, gold, or rainbow activity? If you love rainbows and want more, check out my STEM for Kids Rainbows post!
Let me know if you try any of them and how it went in the comments below!