St. Patrick's Day is a whimsical holiday that appeals to any child's imagination and sense of fun. Party games with a St. Patrick's Day theme can draw on traditional legends, symbols and characters associated with the holiday. From leprechauns to shamrocks to rainbows and pots of gold, St. Patrick's Day celebrations for kids offer big potential for lots of excitement.
Games that involve hiding and seeking St. Patrick's Day themed items, such as rainbows or foil-wrapped chocolate coins, are simple to lead and prepare.
Hidden Rainbow involves hiding a cardboard rainbow with ribbon streamers attached, allowing the streamers to remain in view. Start with the children sitting in a circle, and tell the players to get up and silently look around the room for the rainbow. When a child sees the rainbow streamers, he should return to his place in the circle without saying a word until, one by one, each child sees the rainbow and takes a seat. The game is best suited for preschool and kindergarten-age children.
Put a St. Patrick's Day twist on the Easter egg hunt by hiding gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins around the room. Give each child a green paper sack decorated with St. Patrick's-themed stickers in which to collect the coins.
Traditional Irish jig music adds energy to St. Patrick's-themed games while exposing children to a new musical style.
To play Shamrock Parade, place large, laminated shamrock cut-outs on the floor in a circle. The number of shamrocks should be one less than the number of children participating. Instruct each child to stand on one of the shamrocks, explaining that one child will need to stand between two shamrocks. When the music starts, the children should walk around the shamrock circle. When the music stops, each child should jump to the nearest open shamrock. As with musical chairs, whoever is not standing on a shamrock is out. Remove one shamrock with each round of the game. Keep playing until only one player survives.
Give the game Hot Potato an Irish theme. Decorate a small pillow with green ribbons and St. Patrick's-themed trims. Instruct the children to sit in a circle and toss the "potato" from person to person as traditional Irish tunes play. Make sure that the children do not toss the "potato" across the circle, but rather hand it off to the next person. When the music stops, the player holding the "potato" is eliminated.
For each relay race, divide children into two teams. Assemble the two teams behind a line. Each child will run to a designated spot, perform a task and return to his teammates so that the next player can compete.
For the game Shakin' Shamrock, each child will dash to a basket filled with shamrock cut-outs. Printed on each cut-out are instructions for a simple action, such as "Walk like a robot" or "Hop like a Frog." Each player must return to his teammates behind the line in the manner listed on the shamrock.
Another option is the game Pot of Gold. Instruct each child to race to a designated spot and back while balancing a pot of gold coins on his head.