Children and adults alike are fascinated by Irish lore telling of clever, little, green-clad men with the gift of blarney and a big pot of gold. St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to share the lively Irish spirit with your children as you celebrate the Day O’ The Green. This St. Patrick’s Day, capture your children’s imaginations by showing them how to capture a real, live leprechaun in a trap they can help set up.
What You’ll Need:
A small cage-like basket – the empty, green strawberry containers found in most grocery stores work best.
Pencil, pen or stick
Construction paper or poster board
Chocolate gold coins
An inkpad (preferably black or green)
Place the paper or poster board on the floor or table. Prop the “cage” up sideways and upside down using the pen. Now, place an inkpad toward the edge of the paper.
Leprechauns love gold, so bait your trap with the shiniest pieces of gold you can find. Chocolate gold coins or Werther’s Original butterscotches are perfect, but any shiny gold-wrapped candy, costume jewelry or fake coins will work. Place your chosen gold bait under the basket. Make sure to place a few pieces in a trail leading up to the trap from the direction of the inkpad to lure in your leprechaun.
Show your children how the trap will work. As the leprechaun follows the trail of gold he will walk over the inkpad leaving a trail of footprints. Then, as he busily gathers the gold under the basket, he will trip the stick and be caught inside until they come to let him out. Remind your kids about the leprechaun legends which say if you catch a leprechaun he has to give you his pot of gold. Let them trip and reset the trap to be sure it will work.
Be sure to set the trap before your kids go to bed, school or otherwise disappear for a few hours. Use the inkpad and your fingertips to make tiny footprints from the inkpad to the basket. Make it look like the leprechaun walked around a lot under the basket and then make a trail leading away to the edge of the paper. Trip the basket and take all the gold out of the trap.
If you want to add a little extra magic, leave a little note from your leprechaun using the pen from the trap. Use different handwriting for the leprechaun to say: “Top o’ the morning, to ya! Thanks for the gold, but us leprechauns are a wee bit too clever for ya! Have to be running now!” Sign your note with a strong Irish name like Kieran O’Malley and sprinkle some green glitter around the paper.
Your kids will find the evidence of the leprechaun’s escape when they check the trap. Don’t forget to act surprised!