St. Patrick's Day Treats to Make With Kids
Cue the green foods! We’re talking leprechaun snack mix, a white hot chocolate bar, pesto shamrock pastries, and more.
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Article and featured recipes and photos by Ashley Strickland Freeman
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I grew up in Savannah, Georgia where St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal. The city hosts the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S. and dyes all of the fountains in the squares green (there are a lot). Everyone dons their best green attire to celebrate. When I was a kid, school would be canceled for the day and we would go out to breakfast downtown before the parade to eat our good luck green grits. Over the years I would bring friends home from college to participate in the festivities, too. So naturally, St. Paddy’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.
Now that I’m a mom, I love sharing my St. Patrick’s Day traditions with my son. While we and others may not be attending parades in person this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the day at home with our own celebration.
With that in mind, I’ve created three new St. Patrick’s Day recipes for you and yours to make together — a couple of easy, festive snacks and a DIY hot chocolate bar — and I’ve paired them with really fun St. Patrick’s Day kids' crafts. Then, just to give you lots of options, I’ve gathered additional favorites from the Yummly recipe box.
Looking for fun things to do with kids on St. Patrick’s Day? Whether you’re 6 or 60, these St. Patrick’s Day kids' projects will put everyone in the Irish spirit.
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Pesto shamrock pastries
First up is an appetizer that’s a great prelude to an adult or kids’ St. Patrick’s Day dinner, or just an excellent snack any time of day. These savory shamrocks are a fun treat to get the whole family involved. They’re made with frozen puff pastry and store-bought pesto, and the hands-on time is only 30 minutes. Here’s how they go together.
1. Roll puff pastry and spread it with pesto
Before spreading the pesto, cut off a strip to use for shamrock stems and set it aside. Then evenly spread the dough rectangle with pesto and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
2. Roll each side toward the center
For the best shaping, roll the pastry snugly from each side to the center.
3. Slice with dental floss
Use unflavored dental floss or a thin sharp knife to cut the log into equal pieces. These are your palmiers.
4. Pinch the base of each palmier to form the point of a heart
To create shamrocks, first pinch the base of each palmier to form a heart. Then arrange 3 of the hearts with points together on a baking sheet, using a piece of the reserved dough strip for a stem. Bake until golden and crispy.
Ready to give the recipe a try?
The recipe makes two of the logs you see in the photos above for 12 shamrock pastries.
While the pastry shamrocks are chilling, or after they come out of the oven, use items in your house to create painted shamrocks. For this St. Patrick’s Day kid DIY project you’ll need construction paper, green finger paint, and shamrock-shaped items such as the bottom of a bell pepper, jumbo marshmallows, a a toilet paper roll, or a water bottle cap.
Leprechaun snack mix
Looking for more fun St. Patrick’s Day food for kids? Try this sweet and salty snack mix, guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. It combines all kinds of crunchy ingredients, including cereal, pretzels, and peanuts, and a smattering of festive green candies and sprinkles. The recipe makes a lot, so you’ll want to share some with neighbors or classmates and store it in zip-top bags to keep it fresh. (You can also easily cut the recipe in half.)
Though you can use whatever decor you like, you can find the Lucky Charms cereal online or at a grocery store, the green M&Ms online or at a local party store, and the St. Patrick’s Day sprinkles online (or use regular green sprinkles). White candy coating melting wafers are available online as well, but you could go with chopped white chocolate bars such as Lindt instead.
The kids (and adults) are sure to love this mix!
Magic leprechaun rocks
Want to know how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with kids outdoors (maybe to run off a sugary treat)? Make Magic Leprechaun Rocks ahead of time and hide them around the yard for your little leprechaun to find. Have a bucket of water handy, because just like bath bombs, these little fizzy balls dissolve to reveal a gold coin (or something else you choose) inside.
White hot chocolate bar
Next up is one of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day kids' projects and recipes rolled into one: A hot chocolate “bar” that’s like a salad bar, but with a selection of delicious treats everyone can choose from to create their own ultimate hot chocolate. Parents, you’ll want to handle making the hot chocolate unless you’ve got an older child whom you’re comfortable with using the stovetop.
All you do is heat milk with white chocolate chips and vanilla, set out the add-ins, and let your imagination run the show. In addition to whipped cream, you can go with toppings that you find at the grocery store or a party store. Or shop online for sweets such as marshmallows (regular mini marshmallows, Lucky Charms mini marshmallows, or green and yellow mini marshmallows), candy pops (green mini unicorn lollipops or candy sticks), pastel or rainbow mini chocolate chips, cookies (pirouettes, mint Oreos, or shortbread), candy (Andes mints, green M&Ms), and candy sprinkles.
While you’re sipping on your hot chocolate, why not make one of the most hilarious St. Patrick’s day kids' crafts there is: St Patrick’s Day Paper Leprechaun? Cut out construction paper and a photo of your face to create a personalized leprechaun.
9 more St. Patrick's Day treats
In addition to the three recipes I’ve created, here are more from the Yummly library. And I haven’t forgotten a couple more St. Patrick’s Day kids' crafts to go with them, with materials you probably already have on hand.
A leprechaun always has hidden gold at the end of a rainbow, right? As another option for a kids' St. Patrick’s Day dinner spread, I love this fruit pizza. The recipe calls for crescent dough, yogurt, and a colorful array of fruit — all on the healthier side of the spectrum to balance out the sweets. You could also turn this idea into a more savory one, using Alfredo sauce and colorful vegetables as the “pizza” toppings.
I like to continue the St. Patrick’s Day kids' crafts rainbow theme by making Rainbow Sun Catchers. All you need is a coffee filter, food coloring, and construction paper to make a beautiful rainbow.
A choose-own-adventure recipe, this charcuterie board is chock-full of deli meats, cheeses, crackers, and green snacks like wasabi peas, cucumbers, and pistachios.
Besides the white hot chocolate, I love this electric green punch, especially if the weather is on the warmer side. It’s a great dump-and-stir type of drink that can be made ahead and topped with frosty lime sherbet at serving time.
What’s St. Patrick’s Day without a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow? These cupcakes are just as fun to make as they are to eat. You’ll notice that the recipe calls for stout beer — don’t worry, the alcohol cooks out during baking, but you can substitute milk or cola for the beer too, if you prefer.
Continue with the pot of gold St. Patrick’s Day kids' activities theme with a DIY pot of gold scavenger hunt. Parents (or older kids) can provide clues and hide them around the house or outside to find a pot of gold (extras of the Rolos or gold coin candies you used to decorate the cupcakes).
These chocolatey pudding cups couldn’t be cuter (or easier) to make! All you need is instant pudding, some cookies, whipped cream, and sprinkles. The directions call for spray-painting the cookies with edible gold mist, but I like to use vanilla Oreos instead. In a pinch, whipped topping or canned whipped cream can stand in for homemade.
For a super-easy treat to add to your dessert spread, I recommend these dip-and-decorate pretzels made with festive white and green candy melts and St. Patrick’s Day sprinkles.
Similar in concept to the pretzels, these dunked-and-sprinkled cookies are also a crowd-pleaser. Both recipes have fewer than five ingredients and can be made very quickly.
If you’re a fan of classic chocolate chip cookies, you’ll love these green M&M-studded chocolate chip cookie bars. You bake the dough in a sheet pan and then cut it into shapes with a shamrock cookie cutter (or you could simply cut rectangles with a knife).
Combine Oreo crumbs and softened cream cheese, and you have the base for these easy truffles. Shape balls, dunk them in melted chocolate, and then add gold pearl candy and rainbow sour strips for your own edible pots of gold.
Keep exploring St. Patrick’s Day foods
I hope you enjoy making these kid-friendly Saint Patrick’s Day recipes and St. Patrick's Day activities and that they bring a little magic and taste of Ireland to your celebration! For more St. Patrick’s-themed recipes, check out Crockpot Corned Beef and Cabbage, Lamb Stew (Irish Stew) made with Guinness stout, and the following articles.