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11 St. Patrick’s Day Activities for Families

There’s lots a family can do together to celebrate this beloved saint, from baking to crafting to relaxing with a movie. Or two.

Celebrate St. Patrick's day as a family
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Looking for easy St. Patrick’s Day activities for the whole family? We’ve got you covered with fun tips that will bring you together and remind you the reason for this annual holiday.

Anyone who supposedly rid an entire country of snakes—Ireland in this case—is a saint in my book. But alas, when it comes to St. Patrick, that is a myth. And he wasn’t born in Ireland, either. But he is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland back in the fourth century. And as Rick Hamlin’s excellent piece points out, it was a different model of faith. “Goodness sustained by prayer and love.”

Read More: St. Patrick’s Miraculous Life Journey

Today we celebrate this beloved saint each March 17 and the whole day goes green, from clothing to cookies to the Chicago River. There are parades and assorted festivities all over the country. But what about in your home? What’s are fun St. Patrick’s Day activities for families? We offer a few suggestions that might entertain all ages:

Irish soda bread for St. Patrick's Day
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1)  Head to the Kitchen Counter: Take 1

If your family enjoys baking together, try making Irish soda bread. It’s a quick bread, yay! No yeast required as the leavening comes from baking soda and buttermilk. And if baking together is not an option…well, you can enjoy eating it together!

  • Combine 4 cups flour, 4 Tbsp. white sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. salt and ½ cup softened margarine in a bowl.
  • Add 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg and 1 cup raisins (optional) and mix well.
  • Knead dough slightly and form into a round.
  • Place on baking sheet. Cut “X” in bread top and brush with 1 egg white.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Family watching a movie
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2)  Watch Some Irish Films

While the bread rises, watch some Irish-themed movies together. Here are just a few to get you started. They’re full of Emerald Isle wit and wisdom, magical forests, wily leprechauns and a pot of gold or two. Here are some St. Patrick’s day movies for families:

  • The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
  • The Magical Lessons of the Leprechauns (1999)
  • The Secret of Kells (2009)
  • Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959)
  • Finian’s Rainbow (1968)


Cupcake decorated with green icing and a shamrock
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3) Head to the Kitchen Counter: Take 2

Cupcakes with green icing, you must! If you usually struggle to get your kids to eat something green, this won’t be one of those times. There are recipes galore but you can start here, here or here.

4)  Go Full-On Leprechaun

If your home features pre-schoolers, find some chocolate coins or treats wrapped in green foil and hide them around the house. It’s trick or treat, St. Patrick’s style. Or add some Irish to bath time with green-themed bathtub toys or rubber duckies. And while they’re asleep (if you don’t think they’ll wake up) try applying a wash-off shamrock tattoo or stamp to arms and legs. They’ll wake up delightfully decorated by leprechauns in the night!

5) Share Some St. Patrick’s Trivia

What do you really know about the legend behind the man behind the holiday? As we know, he wasn’t born in Ireland. And guess what? His real name probably wasn’t Patrick. (And I still wish the snake thing was true.) But here are some fun facts you can quiz each other about the saint of the day:

Coast of Ireland, Cliffs of Moher
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6) Take a Virtual Road Trip

Yes, Ireland is very green. Full of meadows and grazing sheep. But it also features rugged coast lines, soaring cliffs, castles and bustling cities. Settle into the sofa for the most inexpensive trip abroad your family will ever take:

7) Absorb Some Irish Blessings

There are many Irish blessings but this is one of the most popular, often used at weddings or special occasions. Even offered as a prayer. Watch our special video version which serves as an online meditation:

And read together this lovely memory of a daughter on her mother’s favorite holiday:

8) Read Quotes About St. Patrick’s Day

The country’s rich heritage is not only in its music and landscape, but writers and poets as well. Among some of the world’s best. Here are some inspiring quotes to read together during your St. Patrick’s Day activities:

9)  Pray as a Family

Rick Hamlin offers some lovely insights to a famous prayer by St. Patrick that the whole family can read. It offers, says Rick, a sure guide to a rich full life, to security, serenity.

Making paper shamrocks or clovers
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10) Make St. Patrick’s Day Cards

Your St. Patrick’s Day activities aren’t complete without some arts and crafts. Load up on the construction paper in all hues of green. Gather colorful markers and glitter if you dare. Trace out shamrock shapes and write out quotes and greetings for grandparents, members of your church, anyone cooped up at home or in a hospital. Keep things simple and festive. You efforts will bring lots of smiling eyes, Irish and otherwise.

11) Sing Along with Rick

As well as being a beloved Guideposts columnist and writer, our own Rick Hamlin has a nice set of pipes as well. Sing along with this Irish tune to wrap up a happy St. Patrick’s day with the whole family.


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