The spring season is here, which means it’s time for spring holidays! While most people don’t forget about fluffy bunnies bringing baskets of candy, St. Patrick’s Day sometimes gets lost in the mix. Be sure to take a few minutes to teach your children about St. Patrick’s Day and discover some great activities to go along with what you learn!
Who Was St. Patrick, Anyway?
Although the holiday is largely considered an Irish one (e.g. “luck ‘o the Irish!”), Patrick himself wasn’t even Irish. Born in AD 387 in Britain, he was later captured by Irish pagans while in his teens and was enslaved for several years. While he was enslaved, he actually grew to like Irish cultures and traditions. Several years after he was released, he vowed to one day return to Ireland.
Patrick put in long studies at monasteries and was eventually ordained by Pope Celestine I as an apostle to the Irish peoples. Initially, his time was rough because the pagans didn’t recognize his authority and bucked against his commands of Christianity. Eventually, the “old religion” faded away and Patrick was able to establish the Catholic Church in his area. During his time as an apostle, he ordained and baptized many other priests. Over a 30-year timespan, he managed to convert all of Ireland to the Catholic Church. On March 17, 461, Patrick died of natural causes. To this day, however, he is considered the patron saint of Ireland.
Why Do We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Not surprisingly, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the anniversary of Patrick’s death. In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is considered a national holiday and is a time to convene with family and friends for worship and other meaningful activities. In the United States, however, it’s primarily a day to wear green to avoid being pinched and celebrate with all things green (e.g. green milk, green pancakes, green eggs…). The color green is said to symbolize spring and Irish culture.
Interestingly, while St. Patrick’s Day is a day of worship in Ireland and has become a secular holiday in the United States, there is no mention of St. Patrick in the Bible. Still, it has a strong familial meaning to the Irish. This is primarily because St. Patrick was said to have led hundreds of thousands of people to the Christian faith.
Homeschool Activities for St. Patrick’s Day
Now that you have a little background on who St. Patrick was and where the holiday stems from, why not intersperse some activities to go along with what you’ve learned?
- Test your homeschooler’s knowledge of St. Patrick’s Day terms and enjoy some games to go along with them.
St. Patrick’s Day Reading and Games
Gather your family together for some St. Patrick’s Day reading and entertainment!
- Tired of boring bingo games? How about playing Shamrock Bingo instead?
“Who’s the Leprechaun,” “Gold Hunt,” and “Shamrock Scramble” are just a few of the 17 St. Patrick Game ideas at The Spruce!
20 Books For St. Patrick’s Day
- How to Catch a Leprechaun by Adam Wallace
- The Leprechaun’s Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards
- Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola
- The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing
- The Story of St. Patrick’s Day by Patricia A. Pingry
- Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola
- That’s What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting
- There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro
- This is Ireland by Miroslav Sasek
- St. Patrick’s Day for Kids by Natalie De Marco
- St. Patrick’s Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting
- St. Patrick’s Day by Rebecca Pettiford
- St. Patrick’s Day: Traditions, Tales, and Trivia by Dr. Dorothy Denneen Volo
- St. Patrick’s Day for Kids by Ian D. Fraser
- The St. Patrick’s Day Shillelagh by Janet Nolan
- Consuming St. Patrick’s Day by Jonathan Skinner
- The Wearing of the Green: A History of St. Patrick’s Day by Daryl Adair
- New Haven’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade by Joan Moynihan
- Beyond Leprechauns: Ireland, Interdisciplinary Activities for Grades 2-8 by Mary Ellen Sweeney
- Seanfhocail: Irish Proverbs and Sayings by Brian O’Kane