25 Fun and Festive St. Patrick’s Day Activities for the Whole Family

From Woman’s Day

While St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in Ireland for more than a thousand years, it was Irish immigrants living in the U.S. who, over time, transformed the day into the lively celebration of all things Irish that we’ve come to know and love. It turns out that a lot of things Americans consider St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually originated here. These include St. Patrick’s Day parades, corned beef, and yes, probably green beer.

Speaking of green, get ready to have your mind blown: Blue was the color traditionally associated with St. Patrick. But before you worry that you’re doing it all wrong, take it as a good sign that Ireland has embraced some of these traditions — the city of Dublin usually throws a grand parade. For now, here’s a list of St. Patrick’s Day activities that you can use to celebrate at home.

Photo credit: skodonnell

Photo credit: skodonnell

1. Bake soda bread.

Add a little Irish flair to your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year with a traditional soda bread recipe that consists of flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt, according to Rory O’Connell, an Irish cuisine and food history expert. It originated in the early 1800s and allowed people who didn’t have an oven (read: most people at the time) to make bread.

2. Wear green.

Of course, March 17 can’t come and go without you donning at least one piece of green clothing or accessory. Whether you’re trying to avoid being pinched, or you want an excuse to wear your green pleather pants, consider embracing the colorful tradition.

3. Make an Irish meal.

There are so many delicious St. Patrick’s Day recipes out there to make your celebration even more authentic this year, like a traditional beef stew infused with two cups of Guinness or corned beef and cabbage.

4. Have a shamrock cookie decorating contest.

Decorating cookies can be a part of any holiday, not just Christmas. Gather your little ones (and even your big ones) for the shamrock cookie decorating contest of the ages. Winne gets bragging rights and maybe an extra cookie or two after dinner. No matter the champion, however, you and your quaranteam will have cookies for days.

Photo credit: AnnaPustynnikova

Photo credit: AnnaPustynnikova

5. Play a St. Patrick’s Day-themed game.

With all of the St. Patrick’s Day-themed games that exist, you could have a different one for every hour of March 17, if you really wanted to. From St. Paddy’s Bingo for the whole family to green drinking dice for the adults, everyone’s bound to find a game they won’t want to put down.

6. Make green slime.

Slime on its own can be really fun but making your own slime? That takes the fun to the next level. You and your quarantine pod can watch the goo come to life in front of you. And the best part? This slime kit comes with a bunch of colors, so you can make green on St. Paddy’s and any other color another day.

7. Virtually attend a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

St. Patrick’s Day parades are popular in the United States, Dublin, and other parts of the world on March 17. Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may hinder your chances of seeing your local parade in person this year, you can probably find a virtual one to watch with the whole family.

Photo credit: Drew Angerer

Photo credit: Drew Angerer

8. Whip up a Shamrock Peppermint Shake.

Don’t limit your St. Paddy’s Day drinks to alcohol. With some vanilla, ice cream, peppermint, and green food coloring, you can have the most beautifully delicious and festive milkshake.

9. Make a St. Patrick’s Day craft.

Your little leprechauns will love making these easy shamrock-shaped plates, wreaths, and hats using affordable materials. The best part? Your finished products will leave you with cute holiday decorations to spread around the house.

10. Bake something green.

Starting the day off with Green Velvet Silver Dollar Pancakes and ending it with sweet Lucky Charm Cookies sounds like the perfect way to ring in the colorful holiday.

11. Watch a holiday-inspired movie.

Move over, Christmas movies. Why aren’t St. Patrick’s Day movies more of a thing? Spend the night watching one of these holiday movies at home with an Irish float. And that’s particularly appealing this year, since the holiday falls on a weekday.

12. Make St. Patrick’s Day cards.

Cards are one of the easiest ways to brighten someone’s day, even if it’s for a holiday you don’t normally dish out cards for. The options are endless: Make some for your grandparents, people at your church, or the kids at the local hospital, and you’ll bring smiles to many faces on March 17.

Photo credit: FotografiaBasica - Getty Images

Photo credit: FotografiaBasica – Getty Images

13. Plan a socially distant scavenger hunt.

Test your luck this year by setting up a scavenger hunt with a few friends, family, and the kids — with green masks, of course. You can hide treats around the neighborhood with clues, and, who knows, you just may win the pot of gold!

14. Brush up on your Irish-American history.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 33.1 million Americans claim Irish ancestry. There are a ton of online resources for learning about Irish culture, like Cultural Atlas, Irish Central, and more.

15. Listen to Irish poetry.

Ireland has birthed some of history’s most renowned poets. Luckily, you can get inspired for free by listening to the audio works of W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, and Samuel Beckett on Spotify.

16. Cook like an Irishman.

Invite your significant other and have an at-home Irish cooking class by following along with an online tutorial. Or if you prefer having a step-by-step physically in front of you, consider ordering a copy of The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm, which features classic Irish recipes made modern, like Irish farmer cheese soufflé.

17. Listen to Irish music.

Irish music gets the heart going. So, throw on some classic Irish tunes and bust out a jig in your living room with the whole family. You can listen to a 3-hour compilation of some of the best Irish music here.

Photo credit: jdwfoto - Getty Images

Photo credit: jdwfoto – Getty Images

18. Give to a green cause.

Concern Worldwide is one of the largest international charities based in Ireland that provides food, shelter, and healthcare to those in need. Consider donating water or supplies at ConcernGifts.org.

19. Have an Irish Coffee.

If you’re not a Guinness fan, Irish Coffees make the tastiest — and most festive — cocktails to drink on March 17. Try this delicious recipe, which features brown sugar for extra sweetness. There’s a healthy amount of Irish whiskey in here to keep you toasty, so savor it slowly.

20. Have a Guinness.

Guinness really is the official drink of St. Patrick’s Day. Whether or not you’re usually into the stout beer, indulge in a pint this holiday and toast to your Irish roots. If you haven’t had one in a while, you’ll be reminded of how creamy and delicious they are after the first sip.

21. Learn Irish dancing.

Irish step dancing is a completely unique and recognizable style of dancing. If you’re in it to break a sweat and try a fun new way of working out, or you’re looking to really hone a new skill, an Irish step class is a fun way to try something new and get out of your comfort zone on St. Paddy’s. There are plenty of online videos to teach you, so you can learn from the comfort of your own home.

22. Taste some whiskeys.

Irish whiskey is hugely popular these days. Sales of the drink generated $1 billion in revenue in 2018, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. And could there be a better time to try out the trend than St. Patrick’s Day? We think not. Pick up a few bottles from your local liquor store and prepare to become the whiskey connoisseur you always knew you could be.

23. Search for four-leaf clovers.

Take the kids on an adventure in search of lucky four-leaf clovers. They’ll be endlessly entertained searching through a clover field to find the lucky ones, and it’s a good way to get outside and get the imagination wandering.

Photo credit: Yuki Kondo

Photo credit: Yuki Kondo

24. Listen to some of your favorite Irish singers.

Ireland is home to many famous singers, and a great way to pay tribute to the holiday is to dance around your house or belt out some tunes sung by your favorite Irish artists. Some singers to put on your St. Paddy’s Day playlist: Hozier, Niall Horan, Bono, Sinead O’Connor, and Van Morrison.

25. Design a festive manicure.

Designing some festive St. Patrick’s Day nails will have you feeling extra lucky come March 17. Stick to a solid green, or draw on some rainbows, clovers, or perhaps a pot of gold if you really want to make a statement.

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