Photo: amarosy via 123RF

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is always fun to add color and creativity to your March plans. For extra excitement this year, try making a leprechaun trap with your kids! Whether you’d like to build a contraption to lure him with gold or would rather play a family game to claim the prize at the end of the rainbow, take a look at these ideas for fully embracing the holiday fun.

Build a Doorway and Path

The first step to catching a leprechaun is building an enticing doorway from the outside and making a path to your trap. Your doorway can be anything from green tissue paper to an elaborate faux brick-bordered archway, but it should be low down and have green or rainbows to lure that mischievous fellow inside. Then use rainbow paper and cotton or marshmallows to make a pathway to your trap.

Make a Trap

Now the real work begins: the trap! Supplies to have handy include boxes, tubes, craft paper, scissors, glue, and some treasure to lure the leprechaun (try painting an empty applesauce cup gold/black to use as a pot)! The other consideration for traps is the endgame – will your kid wonder why they don’t see the leprechaun in the trap the next morning? Plan an exit strategy: either the leprechaun is magical and thus disappeared, or he executed a daring escape (maybe a hole in the box?).

One category of traps involves a trapdoor method (place a gold coin on top of a hole, so the leprechaun falls in as he tries to collect): a mason jar decorated and then covered on top with tissue paper or a shoebox with a secret hole on top are good options here. Make sure you build a ladder (pipe cleaners and straws work well) so he can reach the top to fall in. The other category involves propping a trap up with a stick that is then knocked down when the leprechaun goes inside to grab the gold: use a shoebox top propped with a pretzel stick to fall when the little fellow starts munching or a green hat propped with a stick that’s tied to the gold. It’s fun to let kids take the lead and build a trap how they envision it, but you can suggest a few ideas if they need inspiration!

Leprechaun Games!

If you need something along with/instead of a leprechaun trap, try some of these easy and fun leprechaun games – you can catch one of those mischievous fellows through play! This simple and quick Roll a Leprechaun game is easy for the whole family, and the first person to build their little friend wins! If you’d like to pair a craft with a game, try Race to the Gold. Have your kids help craft the rainbow gameboard and play pieces (make as many rainbow colors and game pieces as you need for your crew), then see who captures the treasure first! For older kids, make a Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt; you can make the clues follow the colors of the rainbow or have the kids run all over the house finding special spots. Make sure to plan ahead and have a pot of gold at the end – use chocolate gold coins/bars or a homemade treat!

Photo: serezniy via 123RF

Festive Treats

Holidays aren’t only about the decorations and games – they also come with festive treats! For cute desserts that can double as the treasure luring your leprechaun, try these Pot of Gold Cookie Cups. If you’d like a recipe that allows the kids to get a little messy, try these green crispy treats; the kids can be the ones to dye the rice cereal and have fun showing off their green hands the rest of the day! Of course, if you’d like a treat that’s on the healthier side, choose your favorite green smoothie recipe and call it a Shamrock Shake!

Mischievous Tricks

Since leprechauns are known for their mischievous ways, it’s always fun to leave a trail of tricks around the house for the kids to find, especially if your trapped leprechaun managed to get away! (Note: you know your kids best; if tricks like these cause anxiety, best skip this.) A great way to indicate that a leprechaun was to blame is to leave a shamrock sticker near the trick. Some favorites: turn the milk or toilet water green, switch out the cereal for Lucky Charms, leave sticky green footprints on the bathroom counter (use green gel icing!), or pull out the green art supplies onto the floor. Get creative, and make sure your kids have fun while they help clean up that silly leprechaun’s mess!

Your family will love bonding over the planning, creation, and execution of a leprechaun trap; with some festive treats in tow, get to work catching that little fellow!