Items you will need
- Strawberry Container or Small Basket
- Pencil or Pen
- Sheet of White Paper
- Ink Pad
- Gold Candy or Toy Money
- Gold or Green Glitter
Add some Irish magic to St. Patrick’s Day by showing your children or students how to capture a “real” leprechaun. This simple craft uses inexpensive items, and most are found around your home. It is ideal for elementary and preschool classrooms. Of course, leprechauns are far too clever to actually trap, but your children will be thrilled when they see the evidence the mythical Irish creature leaves behind in the trap. Get creative to give your children a great holiday memory.
Setting the Trap
Choose a location for your leprechaun trap. In a home, the kitchen counter or living room coffee table works well. If you do not have pets, you could set up the trap by the front door or foyer. Place a sheet of white paper on the table, counter or floor.
Place the strawberry container (these are usually green, square, plastic baskets) upside down in the center of the white paper. If you do not have a green strawberry container, any small basket will work as long as it has a small weave. You could also use a small box or plastic storage container. This is the cage for your leprechaun trap.
Prop the basket or “cage” up with a pencil or pen. One side should still touch the paper and the other side should lift a few inches off the floor. Show your children or students how bumping the pencil causes the basket to drop. Let them trip the trap a few times.
Reset the trap. Place an open ink pad about six inches away from the open side of the trap.
Take either gold candy (chocolate gold coins work best) or toy money pieces to bait the trap. Place one right next to the pencil. If you want, you can use fishing line to tie it to the pencil itself. Make a trail of gold leading to your trap from the door of the room. Then leave the trap overnight.
Tripping the Leprechaun Trap
Before your children wake up, or your students arrive at school, remove all the gold you have set out.
Dip the tip of your pinky finger in the ink pad and make tiny “footprints” from the ink pad to the trap. Make a series of leprechaun footprints going in circles around the center of the trap and another series leading off the paper in another direction.
Use the pencil or pen to write a silly note from the leprechaun to your children. Be sure to disguise your handwriting and use classic Irish brogue. The note could read: “Thought ye could outsmart us leprechauns did you? But you found out we’re a wee bit too clever for ya!” Sign the note with a strong Irish name like Moneybags O’Farrell or Keifer O’Malley.
For an extra touch, sprinkle a tiny bit of gold or green glitter where the leprechaun has walked.
Allow your children or students to discover the trap.
If you have cat you could incorporate cat paw prints into the trap as if the cat chased the leprechaun. This adds humor as well as credibility. Discuss with your children or students how the leprechaun was able to escape and how to make the trap better for next year. Bait the trap with cheap butterscotch candies but leave a tiny pot of chocolate gold coins stuck in the trap. Tell your children the pot was left behind. Make sure it is a different kind of "gold" than you baited the trap with. Small black "leprechaun" pots are available at most craft stores.
Be aware of pets and janitors. If setting the trap in a classroom, you may want to leave a note on your door alerting the janitor not to clean up the "mess."