With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to bring a shamrock plant home for Sonny to investigate. He grabbed his magnifying glass and looked closely at the plant. I asked him what he noticed and he said, “it has green leaves and white flowers.” We talked about how the plant has three little heart-shaped leaves attached to each stem. This was his first time looking at a shamrock plant, so he was really interested and asked a ton of questions!
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Heart-Shaped Leaf Shamrocks
Then next day, I purchased a few large leaves from a local floral shop for this activity. Sonny helped me punch 12 leaf hearts with our heart paper punch and cut the large stem of our leaf into four smaller pieces. We went outside for some fresh air and I let Sonny play with the materials. He had fun making different designs with the heart leaves and small stem pieces for about 10 minutes, then I challenged him to make a shamrock. I reminded him of our discussion yesterday about the three heart-shaped leaves and he immediately started making his shamrocks. This was a fun activity and we saved the leaf hearts for more fun later on in the unit!
Shamrock Nature Journal
Sonny had a lot of questions about his shamrock so we decided to grow our own plant! We buried the seeds in dirt, watered everyday, and waited patiently. Every couple of days, Sonny documented the plant growth by drawing his observations in his nature journal and I wrote down what he said on his paper. We displayed his work on the wall behind him. Sonny loved watching his plant and documentation panel grow.
Sonny has always been a little ahead of the game when it comes to letter names and sounds. We have not talked about digraphs yet and I know this is a difficult concept for a three-year-old to grasp, but I thought of a fun way to expose him to this skill! We took two blank wooden dice and put an “s” sticker on one dice and an “h” sticker on the other. I hot glued magnets to the dice so they would attract to each other. This activity helped Sonny associate the magnetic pull with the two letters going together and making one sound. It also makes for a great fidget!
We made a shamrock pointer out of a milkshake straw and green pipe cleaners. I folded the pipe cleaners in half as pictured below and stuck all three into the straw. I gently pulled each pipe cleaner up about half way with my finger and shaped them into hearts. The three heart-shaped pipe cleaner pieces made the perfect shamrock!
We went around the house and looked for objects that start with the “sh” sound and used the shamrock pointer to spot them! We found shoes, shades, shampoo, and shelf. We also lined up shells and Sonny counted them with the shamrock pointer. I had a last minute thought of making green bubbles and using the pointer as a bubble wand, but we never got to it. Next year!
We had so much fun with this next activity! We read “How to Catch a Leprechaun” by Adam Wallace. Sonny was not a big fan of the idea of building a trap because he thought it was “mean.” Sooo we decided to make a fort instead! We came up with a plan, drew a design, and went outside to build our little leprechaun hideout. We used painted sticks/rocks and reused leaf garland we had around the house. The plan was to make the trap outside so the little leprechaun wouldn’t want to come in our house. Unfortunately, we had to bring it in due to an impending snow storm. This was such a fun outdoor STEAM (STEM+Art) activity! There was a ton of problem solving involved and it was fun modeling the process for Sonny.
Wikki Stix Shamrock
Sonny had so much fun working on his fine motor skills with this next shamrock activity! He kept busy pushing dry split peas and green buttons into Wikki Stix. Wikki Stix are made with hand-knitting yarn and non-toxic wax. They are reusable, won’t dry out, and won’t leave a mess! First I cut out a circle of contact paper and put it on the tree stump (this kept the Wikki Stix from getting dirty). Next I shaped the Wikki Stix to look like a shamrock and let Sonny had fun making patterns with the supplies. We also talked about the different shades of green and sizes of the buttons. His little hands got a workout!
This last activity was so incredibly simple and turned out adorable! I let Sonny work on his fine motor skills by cutting the stems of our shamrock plant. I braided two sets of three pipe cleaners together to create the crown base. I let Sonny help me weave pieces of the shamrock through the pipe cleaners and we had our St. Patrick’s Day crown! He was the cutest little preschooler around.
I hope you and your little nature lover enjoy these activities!