I love the colors and decorations of St. Patrick’s Day. The bright greens and golds and all of the rainbows are so bright and cheery after the dull grays of the winter months. The mischievous leprechauns and all of the colorful decorations for the holiday lend themselves to some great opportunities for learning fun!

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The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow was written by Sean Callahan and illustrated by Nancy Cote. It tells the story of a little girl named Colleen who helps a leprechaun named Roy G Biv, who has lost his rainbow. Colleen gives him lots of her favorite things to help him get his rainbow back, but in order to complete the rainbow and save St. Patrick’s Day, she must give up her prized whistle. Will Colleen give up her favorite gift from her grandfather to save the day? This story is a sweet tale of sharing with a festive holiday twist. It introduces children to some of the traditions behind St. Patrick’s Day, while teaching them about colors, and the benefits of helping others. The bright and colorful illustrations are sure to delight young readers. There are so many fun learning activities that can be inspired by this book!

Rainbow Hop – This is a fun and simple activity that you can do with young children who are practicing shapes and colors. I cut simple shapes out of construction paper in the colors of the rainbow, and placed them around the room. As I called out the shape/color or both, my daughter had to run from shape to shape. She had so much fun pointing out the shapes and telling me the names of them. You could also use these shapes to hide around the room (tricky leprechauns are known to hide things!) and encourage kids to find the shape or color you are looking for.

Search for the Leprechaun’s gold!

Gold Coin Search 
– This is a fun sensory game that young children can enjoy. I filled a bowl with shaving cream and tinted it green with food coloring. I then tossed a bunch of “Leprechaun Gold” into the bowl and stirred it up. My daughter loved digging through the shaving cream to dig out the coins. I gave her a spoon and she had fun scooping them into another bucket.

Gold Coin Painting – Using an empty cardboard box, we used plastic gold coins to paint shamrock shapes. Cut shamrock shapes out of paper and tape them to the inside of a cardboard box. Tape them lightly, as you want to be able to peel them off the sides later without ripping. Masking tape worked well for this. Pour some green paint into the box and onto the shamrocks. Dump some gold coins into the box and tape the top shut. Give the box to your kids and let them shake and dance to their heart’s content. Put on some St. Patrick’s Day music and dance a jig! Once you are all danced out, open the box and peel your shamrocks off the sides. They should be nicely painted! My daughter really liked shaking the box, while I really liked how little mess there was!

Watch a rainbow appear before your eyes!

Walking Rainbow – This is a fun science experiment which kids of all ages can enjoy. This experiment shows kids how colors mix to make new colors, and how water molecules move. Start by filling 3 short bowls (I used ramekins like these), and placing them in a circle with 3 more empty bowls placed between them. Squirt a few drops of red food coloring into one of the full bowls, yellow into the second and blue into the third.

Roll a paper towel up into a long ribbon and dip one end into the red bowl and the other end into the empty bowl next to it. Then place another paper towel ribbon between the empty bowl and the yellow bowl. Keep going until all of the bowls have two paper towels dipped into them. It will take a little time, but the water from the full bowls will start making it’s way across the paper towels and into the empty bowls, so you will have a full rainbow of colors!

Practice letters and numbers with free printable shamrocks!

A finished shamrock

Shamrock Match – This is a fun activity for practicing letter matching, math facts or number recognition. I created a printable shamrock shape for you to use (available through the link below), so it is easy to set up. Print out several of the shamrock pages and mark each leaf according to what skill you are practicing. For number recognition, you could mark the numeral on one leaf, the number word on a second leaf and the same number of dots on the third leaf. Kids would then have to sift through the labeled leaves to find the correct 3 leaves to complete their shamrocks. For letter recognition, you could mark the leaves with the capital letter, the lower case letter and a word that begins with that letter. For math facts, you can write a solution on the stem and math facts on the leaves (The stem can say 4, the leaves can say 3+1, 2×2, 5-1, etc).

There are so many fun ways to incorporate St. Patrick’s Day into your learning activities! Get inspired by the bright colors and the tricky leprechauns. Do you have a favorite St. Patrick’s Day book in your family? Do you have any fun games you play together? Share in the comments!

93 comments on “Learning About Rainbows with Roy G Biv the Leprechaun!”

  1. This book sounds adorable!!!! I love the leprechaun gold coin search, that is such a good idea! I can’t wait until my daughter is into that stage of being able to do these cool activities instead of wanting to eat everything 😀

  2. Great article. You make me want to read the book. I was especially fascinated to read about watching the rainbow appear. It looks like magic. And i’m sure it would be magic to a little one. Thanks.

  3. How fun! We just started learning about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day today at my house, and I just happened to reserve this book at the library as well (I knew nothing about it except the title sounded cute). Hopefully it comes soon, and we can get busy doing some of these activities in the meantime.

  4. Such cute ideas. My preschoolers used to build a Leprechaun trap and fill with with all the green things they could find. Then while they were napping, I’d trip the trap and leave some chocolate in it for them. They were always sad that the Leprechaun escaped, but the chocolate helped. 🙂

  5. What a wonderful picture book. I’m particularly inspired by these St. Patrick’s Day themed activities. The searching for gold looks amazing. So does creating the rainbow.

  6. We just got back from the library with books on St. Patrick Day for the grandkids. These different games sound like a ton of fun to do. Afternoon planning time.

    • Thank you! I hope you have as much fun with it as we are! My daughter pulls the shapes out at least once a day to play with them.

  7. These are some fun activities to do! So going to do the rainbow experiment with my girls for the homeschooling!

  8. This really brings out the kindergarten teacher in me. I miss teaching that age. I’ll pin this to use with my daughter when her attention span gets longer than 1 minute!

  9. This is sooo fun!! My son would absolutely LOOOVE the rainbow hop and the coin search! I’m always looking for fun activities to do with him, and this is such a perfect way to get in the holiday mood. Thanks for sharing <3

  10. I absolutely love the diversity of all these St. Patrick’s Day activities you shared! Question–where did you buy the gold coins?

  11. Lovely ideas – and for all ages! My kids would love the colour mixing one and likely the shamrock painting inside the box. St Patrick’s day is also my husbands birthday so we enjoy celebrating every year! 😀

  12. These are totally some fun activities and I love that they are tactile/sensory-oriented. I have a friend who will enjoy these! Thanks for sharing!

  13. This is a great post with LOTS of options for kids activities. My personal favorite is the science experiment where kids get to understand the process and still see the pretty rainbow!

  14. Such great ideas! I’ve been looking for some fun things to do on St. Patty’s Day, so these are awesome. I especially love the one with the paper towels.

  15. What great play ideas! I particularly love the walking rainbow activity – I’ll have to try that with my year 2’s when I return to work as part of teaching about colour theory/the colour wheel. 🙂

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