St. Patrick's Day traditions can seem pretty mysterious to a young kid. What's a leprechaun? Why do people wear green? And where is that pot of gold everyone keeps talking about? Crafts are a fun way to introduce the holiday to children and might even spur a new family tradition.
Here are four fun art projects tried and tested by busy moms. They're all relatively simple and, just as important, inexpensive.
The Leprechaun Trap
Leprechauns, those mischievous elves of Irish folklore, are notoriously hard to catch. But as legend goes there's a handsome monetary reward if you manage to capture one.
Ann Rinkenberger, mother to Olivia, 8, and Sophia, 10, said her daughters have been making "leprechaun traps" for the past five years. But there's just one problem.
"It is rather annoying," Olivia said. "We never catch them."
There are many different ways to imagine a leprechaun trap, they require only a few supplies and a lot of creativity. The Rinkenberger family uses a cardboard box with unsealed flaps at the top.
Next, they paint most of the box green, but they sponge paint one side grey to make it look like a rock wall. That's because leprechauns love stones, Rinkenberger says. And they dislike following rules, so her daughters add signs that read, 'Do Not Climb!'
Then they create a stone pathway, sprinkled with coins, meant to lure the leprechauns all the way to the top of the box where they'll, hopefully, fall right in. Nearby, there's a tiny tea set with a crumb of bread -- just in case the leprechaun is hungry.
"At the bottom of the box, the girls put some wool or paper towels to 'cushion' his fall," said Rinkenberger, 44.
But the Scandia, Minn. family doesn't just make crafts during the holidays. They also make art for a living. Rinkenberger's business on Etsy.com, Harvest Moon by Hand, sells handmade products and toys. Her daughter Sophia also participates by creating beeswax molds, and Olivia is now eager to help out too.
So far they haven't outsmarted the crafty leprechauns, whose overnight visits are marked by golden glitter and gold one dollar coins. But Olivia says if she ever does succeed in trapping a leprechaun, the first order of business would be to "ask where the money is."