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21 fun St. Patrick's Day games that'll get the paddy started

You're in for a shamrockin' good time.

These fun St. Patrick's Day games and activities will have you and your family Dublin over with laughter.

Entertain all your little leprechauns on St. Patrick's Day with solid-gold craft projects like building a leprechaun cottage, making lucky friendship bracelets, or creating leprechaun costumes.

The whole family will love playing creative St. Patrick's Day games like pin the shamrock on the leprechaun and roll a rainbow, or get up and moving with activities like shamrock hopscotch and gold coin toss.

Even if spring showers have your family stuck inside, plenty of these games are indoor-friendly, and most crafts on this list can be made from materials you can find around the house.

Of course, this holiday involves plenty of sugar. Have your kids compete for their candy with a gold coin scavenger hunt, or make your own St. Patrick's-themed desserts and sweet treats.

For an educational activity, play a few rounds of St. Patrick's day trivia, or learn more about the Irish traditions behind the holiday.

Parents, after you've finished the festivities and posted your St. Patrick's Day crafts on the 'gram, kick back and treat yourself to a Guinness. You've earned it.

For a holiday that really sham-rocks, try out these St. Patrick’s Day games and crafts below.

Lucky leprechaun game

lucky leprechaun hunt printable
Play Party Plan

Hide the items on the checklist throughout your house, then have your little leprechauns (um, kids) hunt 'em down.

Get the tutorial at Play Party Plan.

Make friendship bracelets

There’s a famous St. Patrick’s Day tradition of pinching anyone who doesn’t wear green on the holiday. To avoid said pinch, make friendship bracelets complete with green beads to wear around on the holiday. For extra leprechaun points, make a few extra bracelets for friends who forgot to to don their best emerald green gear.

Pin the shamrock on the leprechaun

This themed twist on the classic game will challenge players of all ages. Instead of pinning the tail on the donkey, have your kids try to stick the shamrock on the leprechaun. 

Lucky candy guessing game

\multicolored candy in glass jar on red background
Norman Posselt / Getty Images / fStop

This game will test both your luck and your logic. Fill up a jar with small, colorful pieces of candy, such as Skittles, and have your kids try to guess how many pieces are in the jar. Whoever gets the closest gets to keep the candy contents.

I Spy

This game is the perfect indoor activity for a rainy March day. Have your kids try to spot all the green things in your house, from knickknacks to broccoli. Whoever identifies the most green items gets first dibs on some candy or a St. Patrick's-themed dessert.

Gold coin toss

Not only does this test your kids’ hand-eye coordination, but it also forces them to focus. Get green paper cups, and those gold coins we mentioned above. Place the cups at various distances, making them harder and harder to reach. The goal: successfully toss gold coins into the cups. As for the one who gets the most coins into the pot of gold? Well, that’s one lucky kid.

Roll a rainbow game

roll a rainbow game
Over the Big Moon

Roll the dice and put a candy on a colored circle that corresponds with the number it lands on. Mini pompoms also work well if your candy supply is running low.

Get the tutorial at Over the Big Moon.

Gold coin scavenger hunt

Who can gather the most gold coins and put them in the pot of gold? A great way to blow off steam and get kids excited to play together, this scavenger hunt also doubles as dessert when kids devour the edible coins. Buy the coins, hide them around the house, and give kids five minutes (more or less, depending on ages and patience levels) to find the coins and put them in their own pot of gold. The one with the most coins … gets to load up on sugar. 

Shamrock hopscotch

Desperate to get your kids off their screens and into the outdoors? The good news is, this classic game never gets tired, and green chalk provides a festive twist. Instead of boxes, draw a shamrock, and instead of rocks, use gold coins (or any candy, for that matter). It’s a win-win.

Cookie decorating contest

This one is as simple as it gets: You buy the cookie cutter. You make the dough (or use pre-made cookie mix). Load up on green frosting and sprinkles, and you have yourself a St. Patrick's Day bake-off. If you want to keep the kitchen chaos to a minimum, make and bake the sugar cookies yourself, allow them to cool, then let the kids get to work. The challenge: Decorate the most original Irish-themed cookie. The more bespoke, the better.

Candy matching game

Really, you can use any type of candy, but we’re partial to Hershey’s Kisses for obvious reasons. Get a bag of multi-colored Kisses, and put stickers at the bottom of each candy. Kids have to match both the color of the Hershey wrapper, and the sticker at the bottom of each Kiss. Twice the challenge, double the reward. 

Gold coin challenge

Think poker. Or at least, poker face. Gather the kids, and have them close their eyes. Hand one of the kids the gold coin. The kids sit in a circle with their hands behind their backs and have to guess which of them has it. 

Leprechaun costume contest

Look like a Leprechaun to win prizes in this St. Patrick's Day game.
Look like a Leprechaun to win prizes in this St. Patrick's Day game.Getty Images

In Irish folklore, a leprechaun is similar to a fairy, and is typically dressed in a green jacket, white shirt, green culottes and a signature hat. Either buy a mix and match assortment of leprechaun-friendly clothes, or if you have older kids, arm them with old, outgrown outfits and scissors as well as fabric glue. The one who has the most unique look wins. 

St. Patrick's Day photo booth

What’s better than a goofy photo op featuring silly beards and even sillier hats? Nothing, that’s what. This one requires a bit of prep: You need to buy wood dowels or popsicle sticks. Then you either need to draw, or print out, silly chapeaus and facial hair and grins. Attach each to the dowel (or stick) and have kids pose for photos, the sillier the better. 

Musical shamrocks

Think musical chairs, but the Irish-themed version. Gather a bunch of chairs together. Then, cut out shamrocks and place them on each seat, minus one. Kids have the length of one song, randomly stopped, to sit on a shamrock. Whoever finds themself in a seat sans shamrock is out until there's only one player left standing.

Leprechaun trapping competition

Singer Pink set the standard here, but you can take a page from her book without wrecking your entire house. The goal: Trap the leprechauns. The challenge: Build the most inventive, cool, offbeat traps to get the little critters. Use boxes, felt, glue, glitter, popsicle sticks, and whatever else you have that’s crafty and kid-friendly.

Build a leprechaun cottage

This craft is a slightly sweeter twist on the leprechaun trap. After a long day of chasing rainbows, even the most sprightly leprechaun needs a place to rest. Inspired by fairy houses, build your local leprechaun a cute cottage out of upcycled materials like shoeboxes and ribbon.

St. Patrick’s Day trivia

Beyond leprechauns and rainbows, how much do you really know about St. Patrick’s Day? This list of trivia questions will help you brush up on your holiday knowledge. Write the questions on flash cards to make the game feel even more official.

Painted rock contest

rock painting
Irina Starikova / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Another wonderful way to get kids off the couch and in touch with their inner Monet, this one requires them to find and paint rocks in order to win a prize for the most on-theme design. You want them to source flat rocks (those are easier to paint). You, in turn, supply the multi-surface paint, brushes, and if you’re even more determined, glue and glitter. Set the timer. Whoever does St. Patrick proud wins ... a pound of soda bread. We kid, we kid. We meant candy of course. 

Shamrock bingo

Not only is this a fun game, it’s also a great way for kids to develop letter and word recognition and work together instead toward a shared goal. Simply get a piece of paper (or poster board). Draw a table made up of vertical and horizontal squares, and write an Irish-themed word in each square. Green. Gold. Shamrock. Leprechaun. You get it. And then when you call out a word, your bingo players have to place a green button on the corresponding square. If you want to earn solid parenting points, swap out the green button with an edible gold coin. 

Rainbow connection

Fair warning: You can play this game with paper, but we opt for the candy version. Why? Because it’s the holidays! Load up on Airheads chews, which come in a rainbow assortment of colors. Divide kids into teams. Give each team the rainbow-colored candy. Whoever creates the most unique rainbow, using the candy (and this is harder than it sounds, because Airheads are very, very sticky), wins.