St. Patrick’s Day represents a carefree opportunity to let loose and embrace cultural traditions. Often, however, this holiday is associated with alcohol-fueled adventures, rather than thought of as a family-friendly occasion. This is a shame, as St. Patrick’s can be a wonderful holiday for people of all ages.

If you plan on celebrating with your kids, you’ll need to adapt your strategy. This is not as simple as hitting up your local pub. You want your kids to recognize what St. Patrick’s truly means while also making memories that will last a lifetime. We’ve highlighted several ideas that will help you accomplish both goals:

1. Leprechaun-Themed Crafts and Activities

Tiny, mischievous fairies known as leprechauns are closely tied to Irish traditions and often prominently featured in decorations for kid-friendly St. Patrick’s Day events. Little kids, in particular, are fascinated by leprechauns and will be eager to participate in thematic activities:

  • DIY leprechaun hat. Transform your kids into true leprechauns with DIY hats that are easy to make. This simple craft calls for green paper plates, green stock paper, and pipe cleaners. Don’t forget to pose for photos once the hats are complete.
  • Leprechaun puppets. Put on a show with DIY puppets mounted to Popsicle sticks. Use printable templates with stock paper, scissors, and craft glue to create a cheeky leprechaun, a rainbow, and a pot of gold.
  • Build a leprechaun trap. Take a shot at catching a leprechaun with a clever trap that includes the ultimate bait: gold coins or treasure. You’ll find plenty of inspiration from the popular book How to Catch a Leprechaun.
Leprechaun crafts made with craft paper.

“#48 : reuse, renew, recycle” by greaterumbrage is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

2. Exploring Irish Culture and History

There’s more to St. Patrick’s than leprechauns. This holiday can be an excellent learning opportunity. This is your chance to introduce your children to a fascinating culture that deserves recognition. Music, dance, and storytelling can all coalesce to create a dynamic experience.

  • Learn a simple reel. You might not be up to Riverdance standards, but anybody can learn basic ceili steps. Instructional videos abound online, and chances are, you will also find some simple in-person classes or workshops.
  • The Legend of Saint Patrick. We often remind children of the “reason for the season” in December, but a similar concept applies in March: St. Patrick’s Day pays homage to the patron saint of Ireland, who receives credit for bringing Christian traditions to the Irish people. He is believed to have used the image of the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. Many books and videos convey this story, which you are welcome to discuss with your kids.
  • Crafting the Irish flag. If your crafty kiddos finish their leprechaun projects in record time, give them the chance to create their own flags. These can be waved during St. Patrick’s parades or displayed in your home. All you need is construction paper (in the appropriate colors), scissors, and glue sticks.

3. Festive Decorations and Dress

In many ways, decorating for St. Patrick’s is simple: the more green and gold, the better! Beyond this, however, you’ll want to feature iconic emblems. Many can be created on a DIY basis; for example, you could show off your previously created flag and leprechaun hats.

Custom cardboard cutouts take this to a whole new level and can convey the mischievous nature of the leprechaun, or pay homage to other Irish traditions. Add some face-in-hole cutouts for posing, or try BigHeads to let kids transform into leprechauns.

Beyond this, all you really need is to feature green and gold wherever possible: streamers, confetti, balloons, and removable wall murals or decals can contribute to a colorful and festive atmosphere.

How your kids dress also matters. Keep it simple and raid your wardrobe for bright green garments. Green accessories can also do the trick by adding a pop of color to an otherwise ordinary outfit. Remember: if you don’t wear green, you might get pinched!

St. Patrick's Day cheerleaders at a festival.

“St. Patrick’s Festival, Dublin” by Miguel Mendez is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

4. Shamrock and Clover Creations

As we’ve mentioned, shamrocks are deeply meaningful in Ireland and a core part of St. Patrick’s Day iconography. They also lend themselves well to crafts and decorations:

  • Cutting shamrocks for fine motor skills. Struggling to convince your preschooler to practice critical skills? Look to shamrock projects to provide plenty of practice. Simple curves will help youngsters level up their skills while producing decorations that make them beam with pride.
  • Four-leaf clover hunt. Said to bring good luck, four-leaf clovers are a St. Patrick’s mainstay. Create a tiny clover out of felt, or purchase a few online before hiding it in your home. Now, you can enjoy a four-leaf clover scavenger hunt, in which the winner gets an abundance of good luck.

5. Gold and Treasure Hunts

Shamrocks and four-leaf clovers are fun to search for, but there are plenty of other ways to incorporate scavenger hunts into your St. Patrick’s Day plans. Keep it simple and create a Pot o’ Gold scavenger hunt around your own home, providing simple yet entertaining clues that eventually lead your children to the end of the rainbow. Reward them with chocolate coins featuring golden wrappers.

6. St. Patrick’s Day Games and Interactive Fun

Whether you need to keep your kids busy or require a few more activities for your family-friendly St. Patrick’s party, these fun activities are sure to please:

  • St. Patrick’s Day Bingo. Once your kids are a bit older and have enjoyed several St. Patrick’s Day parties, they should be familiar enough with traditions to ace a game of bingo. Free printable bingo cards feature all the usuals: leprechauns, shamrocks, and so on.
  • Lego Leprechaun challenges. Master builders can create just about any St. Paddy’s Day concept from Legos, as you will discover while scouring ideas on Pinterest and YouTube. Fun options include leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold.
A dog dressed as a leprechaun and decorated with gold chocolates.

“The Pot Of Gold At The End Of My Rainbow” by DaPuglet is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

7. Creative Food and Drink Ideas

Picky kids might not appreciate standard St. Patrick’s fare such as corned beef, but there are plenty of specialties worth sampling or even cooking at home. Otherwise, you can always whip up green concoctions.

  • Soda bread. Traditional soda bread is always a welcome St. Patrick’s treat. This Irish quick bread does not require yeast, so it should be easy to bake.
  • Green cupcakes. Green frosting or sprinkles can instantly transform an ordinary cupcake into something special for St. Patrick’s Day.
  • DIY Shamrock Shake. People of all ages eagerly await the annual tradition of the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake, which is refreshingly mint-flavored. You can create your own with vanilla ice cream and peppermint extract.
A collection of St. Patrick's Day themed cookies.

“St. Patrick’s Day decorated sugar cookies” by m01229 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

8. Educational Activities

While much of the educational appeal of St. Patrick’s involves introducing youngsters to Irish traditions, there are also plenty of ways to build reading or social studies skills into this festive occasion.

This could be as simple as reading thematic books or working on coloring pages that mention St. Patrick’s Day traditions. Building with Legos or Play-Doh can also be highly educational. Feel free to discuss related topics, such as how St. Patrick’s marks the beginning of spring.

9. Local Events

While we’ve highlighted many ideas that can easily be carried out from the comfort of home, you shouldn’t shy away from getting your kids involved in community affairs. While many local events will be clearly designed for adults, those marked as family-friendly are definitely worth attending. These might include dance performances, theatrical productions, or even parades.

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10. Printables and Resources

Many of the best St. Patrick’s Day activities are available online. From tutorial videos to printable coloring pages and even thematic games, you will plenty to keep your little tykes entertained. These options will build anticipation and also make for a great backup if you end up sick and stuck at home on the big day. When in doubt, look to these free resources for inspiration:

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Cardboard Cutouts

Are you ready to plan a kid-friendly St. Patrick’s party or event? Custom cardboard cutouts will make your festivities feel a lot more vibrant and whimsical. Whether you print leprechaun cutouts or use wall decals to add green to your space, you will be glad to have access to so many options. Upload photos, browse our selection, or learn more information.


  • Jason Frank

    Jason Frank is the Co-Founder and Vice President at Cardboard Cutout Standees. After 25 years of selling factory automation he started the company with one of his college roommates. The company has grown to one of the largest providers of large format custom printed products in the United States. Along with the namesake cardboard cutout standees, they also provide BigHeads, Point of Purchase Displays, Wall Murals, and Wall Decals to a diverse client base across the US and Canada. When not focused on the business, you usually find Jason either on the road biking or our in the woods and fields of western Wisconsin.

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