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5 Great Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

5 Great Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Written by Chelsea Gonzales.

It's almost March 17th! And you know what that means: time to dress in green, head to parades and festivals, and whip up green treats to share with family and friends.

Many people like to join in the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, of course, but I often wonder how many of those folks actually know the story behind St. Patrick's Day? How many of those wearing “Kiss me, I’m Irish” t-shirts truly know anything about their Irish culture?

The answer? Probably not many.

This is where the homeschool mom in me gets a little excited. After all, what homeschooling parent can pass up an opportunity to use an already fun holiday as an engaging learning experience? I definitely want my son to be one of the few who actually knows a bit about what he’s celebrating and the culture everyone suddenly claims as their own once March rolls around. I’m willing to bet you want the same for your kiddos.

Luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my best tips for incorporating St. Patrick’s Day holiday in your homeschooling adventures this month...or any month!

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5 Great Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Read About the Origins

Learn a bit about the history of St. Patrick’s Day by reading a few great books together. It hasn't always been the over-the-top day of green we celebrate today, and the backstory and evolution of the holiday is quite fascinating.

For young children, I'd recommend St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons to learn a bit about St. Patrick himself. For slightly older children, I usually refer to this article.

Other books worth exploring: 

Make a Traditional Meal

Obviously, the green cupcakes and cookies we all enjoy eating on St. Patrick’s Day are not traditional Irish foods. Learning a bit about what foods are considered authentic Irish fare could be a fun way to expand upon your knowledge of true Irish culture.

Most people are well aware that potatoes are native to Ireland. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that foods such as potato pancakes and a hearty stew with root vegetables are considered Irish staples. But don't forget about Corned Beef and Cabbage with a side of soda bread.

Soda bread can be a lot of fun to make, and putting together a loaf of your own can provide your children with a number of educational opportunities. Try this recipe first, then feel free to experiment to create the perfect loaf for you and your family.

Learn Some Step Dancing

Dance is a huge part of Irish culture. During the month of March, you’re likely to see some step dancing in your community by attending St. Patrick’s Day festivals, parades, and other events. Watching from the sidelines is fun, of course, but it’s even more exciting to learn how to do some dancing of your own.

Many Irish dance schools will allow potential students to drop in and try a class out. Some teachers may even be willing to put together a special homeschool class just for your family and friends. If all else fails, you can check out the trial lesson that this online Irish dance school offers.

5 Great Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Play a Tin Whistle Tune

Another huge part of Irish culture is music which goes hand in hand with Irish dancing. Put together a playlist of Irish folk music to listen to throughout the school day. Or better yet, consider purchasing an Irish tin whistle to play some songs of your own.

This simple whistle is incredibly easy to play, and some people can learn a song in a single day. With a whistle, you'll be able to introduce your kids to playing an instrument while introducing them to Irish culture all in one go.

Explore the Folklore

The Irish culture is full of all kinds of fantastical tales. Stories about faeries, banshees, and selkies are mysterious and beautiful, and I find they really transport you to a completely different time and place.

Some of my favorite Irish folklore books for kids include the following:

The O'Brien Book of Irish Fairy Tales and Legends by Una Leavy
Great Irish Legends for Children by Yvonne Carroll
Tim O'Toole and the Wee Folk by Gerald McDermott
Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola
Fin M'Coul: The Giant of Knockmany Hil by Tomie dePaola

I also love the following movies:

The Secret of Kells
Song of the Sea
The Secret of Roan Inish

Hopefully, these ideas will help you plan an unforgettable St. Patrick’s Day learning adventure. Have a great holiday, and don’t forget to wear green!

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