My Pick for St. Patrick’s Day

Posted by on Mar 14, 2012 in Early Learning, Holiday, Math Tie-In, Music Smart, Nature Smart | 0 comments

In the past, I’ve had rotten luck finding a good book to share with wee ones on St. Patrick’s Day, but I think I’ve found gold with this one: Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato: an Irish folktale by Tomie dePaola. Jamie O’Rourke is the laziest man in all of Ireland, never doing a lick of work. He stumbles upon a leprechaun, and the clever leprechaun convinces Jamie that instead of taking his gold, he should wish for the world’s biggest potato – then he’d never have to worry about food again! Jamie grows the biggest potato, enough to feed the town, enough for everyone to eat their fill until they wished they’d never see another potato again! Jamie then makes a deal that satisfies the villagers and his own lazy nature, and the clever leprechaun gets to keep his gold.

If you’re looking for some quick, inexpensive, fun activities to do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, bring in some potatoes and this book. After hearing the story, little ones can play “Hot Potato” by passing around a real potato. If your ears can tolerate kid music (for me, it depends on the day I’m having!) the Wiggles have a song called “Hot Potato” that my littlest ones love. You can make stamps from the potatoes to dip in paint and use to make patterns for an art and math activity. If you have a green thumb (and don’t we all on St. Patrick’s Day?) you can show kids a potato with “eyes” and talk about how a potato grows. I’ve seen lessons where teachers start the budding process by putting potatoes in a brown paper bag and leaving it in a closet, I’ve seen ideas for suspending the potato with toothpicks in a jar of water – I even found a website: teacher resources to get you started! Even black-thumbed folks like me can usually get a potato to bud, so a fun science experiment can grow from one Irish folktale. Now that’s magical!

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