The arrival of St. Patrick’s Day means that many will be searching for new and innovative ways to add green to their activity plans.
Wearing green is the easiest, of course.
Eating green is another option. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) much of the food that comes green naturally is not on a child’s list of favourites. Broccoli comes to mind. Brussels sprouts. Leafy greens.
Green beans may be more palatable. And then there are the fruits – green apples, green grapes, kiwi.
There is also green jello. And green food coloring can work miracles.
Check out In the latest Healthy Child Coalition – Central Region newsletter for a green idea. You fill a shaker with green jello powder and label the shaker “Leprechaun Dust’. If you shake some of the ‘dust’ onto sliced apples, the apples turn green right before your eyes.
Green is the colour of spring – green grass, green leaves. As we pass the mid-March mark and find our way to April, there are opportunities here to connect the green of St. Patrick’s Day with the green of the coming season.
Nowadays green has a new environmentally conscious meaning. We might be able to connect our activities to the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ theme.
We don’t have to limit ourselves to the colour green, either.
There’s a legend that St. Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. Not true, but it makes a good story. Snakes are simply not indigenous to Ireland. But add the word ‘snake’ to your St. Patrick’s Day activities and suddenly there are more things to do. Cutting a snake shape out of paper. Forming a human snake chain and weaving your way across the room. How long a snake can we make? Can we hiss like a snake?
What are the colours in a rainbow? What does a rainbow mean? Sing a rainbow song. Draw a rainbow. What’s at the end of a rainbow? A pot of gold, of course.
Fill a container with some of those gold foil-wrapped chocolate wafers you can purchase. They look like gold coins and they taste delicious. Not as nutritious as broccoli, of course, but a treat worth waiting for.
The child care program my children attended many moons ago had an annual pool party on St. Patrick’s Day. Staff would cover the floor with plastic and lug in a couple of plastic wading pools.
Bring your swimsuits and some towels, they told the children. The children would spend the morning splashing in the pools, pretending it was summer. When pool time was over, they towelled off, changed out of their swimsuits and sat down to a ‘green’ lunch.
The children loved it. The staff – despite the extra work involved in preparation, filling and then emptying the pools and general clean-up – looked forward to it from year to year.
Sometimes, I think, the way we celebrate a special day is not as important as the simple act of celebration itself. The joy of the celebration.
Those children are now adults, but they still talk about those St. Patrick’s Day pool parties.