Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a time for revelry, parades and traditional foods such as corned beef and cabbage. Keep the children involved with some child-friendly activities. For youth groups, many traditional games can be adapted to the holiday by giving them an Irish or St. Patrick’s Day theme.
Leprechaun Relay Race
Prepare for this game by putting together a list of Irish dance steps and demonstrating them to the group. You don’t have to be an expert, just communicate the general idea. Divide the group into two even teams and then divide each team into two groups. Position the players so that each team has one group on opposite ends of the room.
Start the game by playing some Irish music and calling out a dance step. The first player in line for each team must demonstrate the dance as he moves across the room and then touches his teammate. (You can call out a new dance move at any time.) Once the new player is tagged, she must pick up where her teammate left off with the dance and move back across the room in an effort to tag another teammate. The first team to have all its players dance across the room wins the contest.
Irish Hot Potato
What’s more Irish than potatoes? Play the classic game of hot potato with an Irish theme. The players sit in a circle and one is given a potato. Begin the game by playing some Irish or Celtic music. When the music starts, the player with the potato passes it to the player on her right, and the passing continues until you stop the music. Whoever is left holding the potato must step out of the circle. Repeat the procedure until just one player remains. That player is the winner.
Gold, Gold, Who's Got the Gold?
You will need a “gold” coin for this game. You can use a chocolate coin wrapped in gold foil (but be careful, they melt) or you can create one from a craft project. Designate one child to be the leprechaun. Have the leprechaun close her eyes and hand the gold coin to one of the other players. (The more players, the more difficult the game is.) All the players hide their hands behind their backs. The leprechaun then opens her eyes, calls out, “Gold, gold, who’s got the gold?” and chooses one of the other players to see if he is holding the coin. The leprechaun has three chances to find out who is holding the gold.
St. Patrick's Day Twenty Questions
The group leader begins by selecting a person, place or thing related to St. Patrick’s Day, such as leprechaun, pot of gold, rainbow, parade or Ireland. The leader then states, “I am thinking of a thing (or person or place) …” The players then try to guess what it is. In turn, each player asks one question that can be answered only with “yes,” “no” or “I don’t know.” The group has 20 questions to accomplish the task. The player who answers correctly gets to go next.
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Robert Dumas has been a journalist for over 25 years. In 2007 he was the winner of the prestigious Maggie Award for magazine writing and has also received the American Society of Business Publication Editors Award. He has worked in trade journalism and community-based journalism, and spent several years as a sportswriter. Robert holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications.