When my son was younger, St. Patrick’s Day meant setting up a leprechaun trap. In some households, the Leprechaun causes trouble like knocking over chairs. I also always left a trail of shamrocks and gold coins that led to a pot filled with a few green-colored gifts (usually candy and a swimsuit since it’s almost pool season here in Arizona). Even if you’re not Irish it’s still fun to be festive and keep going with this through the teen years. Everything on my list is pretty simple and inexpensive.
Showing your family they’re special to you
Teaching and learning – focus on the cultural and historical aspects of the holiday
Culture. We should teach our kids more about our own cultures and about other cultures around the world. There’s the holiday and learning about the origins behind it. It also gives us a chance to talk about the culture and the regions of the world that celebrate the holiday.
Based on the media and what stores are selling for the holiday, my son started to get the impression St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday celebrating beer. This started a conversation where we discussed the cultural traditions behind the holiday and gave us a chance to research the culture. We’re foodies and that always includes the food. One of the things I like to do on St. Patrick’s Day is to enjoy an Irish meal at an Irish restaurant for the full experience. Because St. Patrick’s Day can turn into a drinking and party holiday out at my Irish restaurants/pubs we try to go earlier in the day or the day before the crowd gets crazier (the same goes for Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo).
Don’t miss our St. Patrick’s Day Gift Guide for Teenagers.
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15 ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with tweens and teens
One: Eat all things green – make all green foods for a meal. Dye pancakes green and top with rainbow sprinkles. Make green jello. Pasta with pesto sauce and a side of green veggies. Add some green dye to milk. Chocolate mint ice cream (if you can find one that is green) for dessert.
Two: Irish dinner – Cook up (or go out for) a traditional Irish meal. Corned beef is a favorite in our home and so easy to cook. Get the kids involved and use this as a chance to teach more cooking skills.
We have a few Irish restaurants in town that put on a huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration and serve all the traditional dishes, live music, and green beer. Because this is a drinking holiday for some, I do recommend going to the restaurants earlier in the day or the day before to avoid the drinking crowd.
Three: Gift your teens fun green socks to wear on St. Patty’s Day. Something fun, simple, and festive.
Four: Give them a pack of St. Patrick’s Day pins or stickers that they can share with friends. Wearing a bit of green, even just a sticker or pin, avoids the punching (all in fun) because you’re not wearing green.
Five: Decorate your home with St. Patrick’s Day home decor. This isn’t a holiday to go overboard with but you can add a wreath or welcome sign on your patio or a decoration or two in your home. I updated my mantel for the holiday this year.
Six: St. Patrick’s Day-themed bento lunch – this one is more for the tweens than teens. For the older kids, you could add a holiday chocolate to their lunch.
Seven: Dye the toilet water green. I don’t think boys will ever outgrow the amusement they get from this.
Eight: Serve Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast. Serve it with green milk.
Nine: Binge-watch Irish movies.
Ten: Fun manicures with green nail polish or themed designs if you’re really creative. Use green, white, and gold nail polish – paint the ring finger gold and the rest of the nails green. Add white dots to the green nails using a toothpick dipped in polish. It’s easy to do and so fun! Don’t forget the toes.
Eleven: Bake Irish Soda Bread together – super easy quick bread
Twelve: Experience the local Irish culture. Does your town host a St. Patrick’s Day Parade or Festival? Is there an Irish cultural center?
Thirteen: Dye your teen’s hair green. You can use a temporary dye and just do a small section.
Fourteen: Get Shamrock Shakes at Mcdonald’s. Or make your own at home.
Fifteen: If you have a vinyl cutting machine such as a Cricut craft machine, make fun St. Patrick’s t-shirts together
Don’t forget about the college kids away at school
Do you have a kid away at college? Send them a fun care package with Lucky Charms cereal, green gummy candies, and fun socks. Send them an Uber gift card so they have a safe way home.
We hope you found some ideas that you can use for some family fun. Have a new idea? send up a note and we’d love to hear it. Share your St. Patrick’s Day fun on social media and tag us, @sweetshoppemom
…and after St. Patrick’s Day, there’s Easter
Planning ahead for Easter – we have some great ideas for making Easter fun for teens and tweens