This St. Patrick’s Day game is a simple way to help your preschooler practice colors, counting, and develop critical thinking skills in a sneaky way. March comes in like a lion, so they say. For us here in Utah, that certainly seems like it’s going to be the case. It snowed again today, and I’m starting to lose patience with winter. I’m so DONE with surprise blizzards, and I’m aching to get my boys outside to play more often! But in the meantime, at least we’ve got fun preschool activities to keep us busy…and the hope that March means it will officially be spring in a few weeks, no matter what the weatherman may say.
Little Man is such a holiday fanatic. He told me the other day that he wished every day could be a holiday and that we could just skip all the days in between. Cute boy! I love how much he loves to celebrate…anything and everything!
To appease him, we’re breaking out the St. Patrick’s Day activities a little early around here. Today I’m sharing with you a simple little game I thought up a couple weeks ago and finally introduced the boys to today. It’s a variation of the “Button, button, who’s got the button” game, but it aims to help kids with color identification and counting skills.
It’s super simple to create and play, and both of my boys (ages 4 and 2) loved it! We played it this morning several times, and then Little Man asked to play it again this afternoon. He likes when we take turns being the “sneaky leprechaun” and hiding our gold somewhere in the rainbow.
Read on to learn how to play!
The Sneaky Leprechaun
A St. Patrick’s Day Game for Preschoolers
What we’re learning:
- deductive reasoning
- self-control (keeping your eyes closed is HARD for little ones!)
- optional: counting (see variation below)
- 6 cups in various rainbow colors (or white cups with strips of construction paper taped to them to create a rainbow effect).
- A piece of “gold” (a coin, or just cut one from yellow paper)
Note: Before you play this game, it would be helpful to explain the idea of leprechauns and gold to your child., if they don’t already know. Get some books from the library (like THESE), and learn about the traditions of this fun holiday. Once your child has some background knowledge, you’re ready to play!
- Line up your cups in rainbow order on a table or open space on the floor. This is a great part to get an older toddler involved in. Can they remember rainbow order and put the cups in the right places?
- Explain to your child that you are going to be a sneaky leprechaun and hide your special gold coin somewhere in the rainbow.
- Have your child close his eyes (or turn around completely if the temptation to peek is to hard to resist). Hide the coin under one of the cups.
- Invite your child to turn back around and guess which color of the rainbow is hiding the coin. Have your child name the color of the cup he thinks the coin is under and you can lift it up to reveal if he’s right or wrong. Keep doing this until your child discovers the gold!
- Once you have done this several times, you can switch roles and let your child play the role of the sneaky leprechaun. If your kids are like mine though, they’ll have a hard time not telling you which cup has the coin!
Variation: To add a math component to the game, use a handful of coins instead of just one. Place a different number of coins under the cup of your choice each round. When your child finds the coins, you can count how many coins the leprechaun left behind.
Like this game? Try these other fun preschool learning activities:
- Leprechaun Gold Hunt: A St. Patrick’s Day Alphabet Sensory Bin
- Rainbow Road: a life-sized learning game for preschoolers
- Dice Wars: a simple and fun math game for kids
- The Best Nest: a literacy and STEM preschool lesson
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