St. Patrick’s Day – How to Trap a Leprechaun

St. Patrick’s Day is coming! That means two things – that leprechauns will soon be on the loose – and that my boys will be busy designing traps to catch them.

Did you know that if you build a trap for a leprechaun that sometimes they will leave prizes behind, even if you don’t catch them? Years ago, my oldest son learned about this in preschool and came home determined to catch a leprechaun. Their trap hadn’t worked at school, but the leprechaun did leave behind some gold wrapped chocolates. My son spent hours building the trap. He was delighted to find some coins and sparkling rocks in it a few hours later.

That started a family tradition. I love to see what the kids come up with every year. It’s a great exercise in simple machines and physics as they try to outsmart those leprechauns by getting pulleys to work, cups and baskets to drop, and dominoes to fall. They sort through the project box and break out all their building toys, the legos, the K’nex, and even the tinker toys. Every year the traps get a little more complicated. To entice the leprechauns to visit, they bait their traps with sparkling gemstones, a shining coin or two, and anything green or clover-leafed.

The leprechauns don’t leave much, just a few things. Sometimes they leave chocolate coins, or gold wrapped rolos, green jelly beans, or green and yellow (gold) gumdrops. One year the leprechaun left tiny shamrock and rainbow stickers. One year the prize was small green leprechaun hats that the teddy bears got to wear. Another year it was shiny quarters sprinkled with green glitter. Once it was multi-colored glass “gemstones”.

The boys really do have a great time building their elaborate traps. And they are always excited to find the small prizes. But they haven’t caught a leprechaun yet.

More St. Patrick’s Fun:

The Importance of Family Traditions

St. Patrick’s Day Family Fun