Updated: Feb 17
I am all about family activities that make a big impact on the kids, but really don't require that much expense or work. Let's save money where we can, so we can spend it where it really counts. For this year's leprechaun trap I bought NOTHING. This is an activity you can likely do right now with no prep, and the kids will be thrilled. However, I do suggest having a treat or prize prepared at the end. I did spend money there. More on that later. In previous years we have done more STEM type leprechaun traps. If you are interested in a science/engineering type project checkout the trap we made in the St. Patrick's Day Family Activities article. (Full directions are included.)
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We all know the legend; leprechauns have a pot of gold, probably hidden at the end of a rainbow. If you catch a leprechaun, they might lead you to it! A fun book for kids which talks about these sneaky little creatures is How to Catch a Leprechaun.
Once you get the kids excited about catching the leprechaun, it's time to build the trap. I ran a few ideas by the kids and this is the one they liked best! (They wanted to do something totally different from last year, since last year we didn't actually catch a leprechaun.) The directions to the Leprechaun Trap we made last year can be found here along with some other great St. Patty's Day activities.
MAKING YOUR TRAP:
First find any box. This is one I brought out for the kids. They were pretty sure it was a good size in comparison to the size of a leprechaun.
I wrapped it in green construction paper. No time to sit and let paint dry this year. Then, I had my husband cut three slits in the box to make something akin to a trap door.
Next, the kids decorated it. We had shamrocks that we used to decorate our St. Patrick's Day Tree (which you can read about here.) They glued those and some little gems that we had all around the box. Use what you have, make rainbows or horseshoes. My boys weren't too interested in adding any glitter or anything, but make yours as enticing as you like - to lure that leprechaun!
Then, I added a craft popsicle stick to the back to hold up our sign. I find these are always handy to have around, if you need some...check here. The kids got to decide what the sign was going say. I was considering, Free Lucky Charms but my 6 year old thought Free Leprechaun Snacks was much better. So I printed out the little sign on some photo paper, and just glued it on. Cardstock would also work well.
Finally, add your bait. We are going to use Lucky Charms because 1) the cereal led a leprechaun to our trap last year, and 2) we have some I bought for the kids to have on St. Patrick's Day. We also grabbed a toy ladder we had from a farm set so the leprechaun can climb up! (If you are extra strapped for time, you can just setup the specially marked Lucky Charms box below.)
SETTING OUT YOUR TRAP:
Before bed the night before St. Patrick's Day set out your trap with the bait. Now, its unlikely you will be able to actually catch one of these sly, mini lucky leprechauns. And, we don't want our little ones to disappointed in the morning. So, what can we do? Well, last year, our trap had been set off, but the leprechaun escaped. But while escaping, he dropped chocolate gold coins. The kids were THRILLED to have a chocolate coin for breakfast and some for later!
This year I am going to do something different, thanks to my son's TK teacher. She gave us a little St. Patrick's Day scavenger hunt. So, I'm going to leave the first clue on the trap. Then after running all over the house finding all the clues they will end up at their "pot of gold." I found a similar one here at thebestideasforkids.com You can print out the cards for free!
I don't have chocolate coins this year but I did buy some medals that they collect, which resemble coins. A pot of gold can be anything that the kids would enjoy. Depending on the age of your kids it could be anything from cupcakes to actual money.
I hope your family is lucky and gets to be together to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at some point in the day!