Have you ever tried to catch a leprechaun? These mischievous little sprites are tricky to catch, but it’s fun to try and well worth the effort.
In our family, the leprechaun trap has had different incarnations. The most basic, a box held up by a stick, was the boys’ first attempt. As the kids grew, so did the complexity of the trap. The last attempt was an engineering feat that included a working elevator. The base of the trap was constructed out of Aidan’s old science fair project.
There is no reason to shop or spend money on materials. Use what you have on hand and your own creativity.
Materials for a trap
- Laundry baskets
- Regular wicker baskets
- Clean, small trash baskets
- Paper towel or toilet paper rolls
- A clean boot or shoe
Decorations for your trap
- String, yarn
- Green and gold glitter
- Four leaf clovers made of green construction paper
- Creative drawings with crayons, markers, or paint
Bait for the trap
- Shiny beads
- GOLD! Use costume jewelry that you don’t mind lending your child.
- Real coins or gold coins made of yellow construction paper
- Spray paint small rocks to make gold nuggets
- A small glass of Guinness (Not for the kids, obviously.)
Once the trap is made, decide where to set it up. The kids will have some great ideas where to place the trap.
Remember, Leprechauns don’t want to be seen. It may be a good idea to set the trap up in an out of the way location.
Once the trap is set, you may enjoy reading The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day. This is a whimsical book that follows two children as they prepare for St. Patrick’s Day.
You may also want to do a small craft with your child, to build the anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. This is a cute rainbow craft from Tatertots and Jello. A free printable is available.
Finally it’s time for the Big Event!
If you are home when the leprechaun comes, all sorts of fun things may happen. Our radio always started playing an Irish jig. Sometimes we would see a flash of light. Then, the chase was on! The kids would run around, usually ending up upstairs to search. This left the trap unattended! Suddenly, the trap would be sprung and a small treat would be left behind.
Maybe your leprechaun comes when no one is home. You’ll know he was there by the sprung trap or glitter left behind.
Our leprechaun always left a bit of green glitter when he escaped through the dining room window.
Treats were always in the trap, which helped with the sting of not catching the leprechaun. Cookies, coins, gold chocolate coins, and golden crackers have all been left at our house. Somehow the leprechaun always knew what the boys liked.
If you have a mischievous leprechaun, you may find small messes around the house. The pillows may be off the bed or some books may be off the shelf. Our leprechaun was famous for leaving green in the toilet. We think he may have had a medical condition.
Have fun building your trap! The planning and execution of the trap is a great family activity that can easily turn into a tradition.
While your kids are having fun with this activity they are also strengthening their skills in the following areas: language, fine motor, visual motor, spatial skills, social skills, teamwork, and reasoning. Bonus!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!