Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Some Fit and Fun Activities!

March 15, 2013

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with fun and healthy activities!

For the next two weeks, many classrooms and communities will be decked out in green for St. Patrick's Day, an annual celebration of all things Irish. As with any school celebration, the temptation can be high to celebrate with sugary treats. But there are plenty of ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without green cupcakes and Shamrock Shakes, while still including lots of fun and good cheer.

Here are some fun activities where food is not the focal point of the day’s festivities:

  • Dance Party! What better way to connect the class to Irish culture on St. Patrick’s Day than by learning some traditional dance moves? There are a ton of resources for learning basic steps, from countless videos on YouTube to, for the more advanced learner, an instructional DVD from Irish dancing legend Jean Butler, an alumna of Riverdance. You could turn it into a dance contest or a race to see who can reach the finish first, or have a more informal dance activity.
     
  • Gaelic Games: Ireland has a very passionate and fascinating sports culture, from rugby and Gaelic football to the national soccer team, nicknamed the Boys In Green. If space and weather allow, have a soccer tournament or, for older students, an adapted version of rugby. An easier game might be Rounders, a popular game in Ireland and a close relative of softball–you can find the rules here.
     
  • Treasure Hunt: Go with the leprechaun theme and send students on a “treasure hunt” around the school, using plastic coins, gold erasers, or other prizes. Along the way, connect clues to facts about St. Patrick’s Day or Ireland for an educational and cultural experience!
     
  • Relay Games: Relay races are great for younger students who need to burn off a little energy and easy to do with limited space and resources. Kaboose has a great collection of festive competition ideas for St. Paddy’s, but we particularly liked the “Shamrock Shimmy,” which we’ve adapted below:
     

Set-up for the Shamrock Shimmy Relay Game:

  • Cut out a stack of paper shamrocks from green colored paper, one for each child.
  • Write an instruction on one side of each shamrock. Instructions might include : Hop like a bunny, walk like a crab, bear walk, skip, walk backwards, etc.

How To Play the Shamrock Shimmy Relay Game:

  • Children divide into two teams.
  • Put the shamrocks at the end of the room in two piles.
  • At your signal, the first child on each team runs to the pile, takes a shamrock, follows the instruction on their paper shamrock while returning to their team, and sits down.
  • The next team member then runs to the pile… etc.
  • The first team to be all sitting down is the winner!

We encourage teachers and schools to be creative and look for opportunities to integrate physical activity into the school day. Have a great holiday party idea that works in your school or classroom? Tell us by tweeting @healthyschools. You can also consult our Pinterest board for more class party ideas.