Sunday, April 10, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Gold Hunt for Preschoolers!

First station of the Gold Hunt
I wanted to teach my kids about the saint behind St Patrick's Day, as well as celebrate all the other fun traditions of this special day, so I rolled them all together in to a fun Gold Hunt! 
Gold Hunt stations: #1 Leprechaun, #2 Boat, #3 Pig, #4 School, #5 Shamrock, #6 Pot of Gold
First I researched a little about the life of St Patrick and the reasons behind the traditions, then I picked out six points that I wanted to use for the clues. (I held the Hunt as a MOMS Club activity, so I kept it secular; however it could have been done with a much more Christian focus.) I tried to pick simple items since our little ones have short attention spans and cannot read. I chose pictures that would work in black and white and color (I will explain that next) and then I wrote a short bit of information to tell the kids about the days significance (sneaking the teaching in there!) followed by the clue telling them what to look for next. 

Little Clue Books with six pages
I needed something to keep the little ones busy before the hunt, while we waited for everyone to show up, and to help keep them focused during the hunt, so I created these Clue Books. I took each of the "clue" pictures and made them black & white then printed them out and turned them into little books. When the kids arrived they got a Clue Book to put their name on and color.
Putting up the stations
We held the hunt at a local park that had a playground, soccer field, and picnic area. I, and some great helpers, arrived early to set up. I took the Gold Hunt Stations and wire-tied them onto the fence going around the soccer field. The first five stations were evenly spaced around the field, and set up so that we would end near the picnic area. We set up the Clue books and food at the picnic area and let the kids color and play on the playground until it was time to hunt. 

My little Good Luck charm!

First Gold Hunt Station
When it was time to hunt I collected up all the Clue Books and walked the kids out to the field. We stopped for a minute and I talked to the kids about what Leprechauns were and how they love to play tricks and had set up this gold hunt for the kids. I don't have that part written down, I just made it up on the spot when I realized most of the kids were so little that they had never heard of them before.
One of the tricks with keeping the attention of this age is asking lots of simple questions as you teach; the kids love to feel smart and show off what they know. There was lots of excitement and yelling as the kids joined in with their answers!
First Station
When we got to the first GH station I passed out the Clue Books and read to them from the page. I read them the first clue and showed them how to look in their Clue Book if they were stumped for the answer. The clues were very simple: "What did the pirates use to sail across the water...". Answer: a boat. This corresponded to the boat picture in their book and on the next Gold Hunt Station they were looking for.


When they had all shouted out the answer I pointed them in the right direction and we all ran to find the next station. All the kids were so excited by all of the finding and running and looking. One of the little girls actually screamed "I am so excited!! This is the most fun ever!!". (That's pretty great coming from a three year old.)
While we were out in the field hunting I had a helper set up the last station and the "gold" at the picnic area.

Fifth Gold Hunt Station
Six stations was perfect, because by the fifth one the littlest kids were starting to wander, and we made one last run to find the Pot of Gold!

Run! Do you see it?
Sixth Gold Hunt Station
The last station was put up over the picnic table with the Pot of Gold (yellow popcorn), Gold Bags, and all the food and goodies!

Pot of Gold and Gold Bags!
The Gold Bags were filled with Werther's and Hershey nuggets
I passed out one Gold Bag to each child, then we had snack and let the kids play.
Which one will I choose?
This hunt took a little planning, but it was so worth it for the children's reaction! Everyone had so much fun, even the moms, and I think the kids enjoyed learning a little bit about this special day! 

1 comment:

  1. Looks like everyone had a great time! -DH