Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I DO believe in Leprechauns, I DO, I DO, I DO!

Some of the best times in my life are spending them crafting with my daughter. We could sit for hours on end talking and gluing and talking and coloring and talking and decorating and with St. Patricks Day next week, I thought I would share with you a really cool project that we did together that you could certainly do with your own kids. It is loads of fun and it will give your kids a sense of ownership in a project that can be dragged out every year and used over and over again.
Another good thing for doing crafts with your kids is that you can figure out who the crafty ones are and when you get old and gray, you know who you can dump all of your crafting supplies on before you die. But that is another story that I will share with you later.
I got this idea from the Family Fun Magazine and I will add the link to my blog so you can look for other really cool things you can do with your kids.

Magic Treasure Box
Leprechaun treasure from FamilyFun

This St. Patrick's Day, let your child in on a well-guarded secret and start a new family tradition in the process. The fun begins with the legend of the leprechauns and leads to a treasure box filled with goodies and gifts. Here's what to do. On the day before the holiday, read aloud the following tale:
Full of magic and trickery, the leprechauns remain in their hidden world until the night before St. Patrick's Day. On that one night of the year they appear throughout the world to dance and sing and frolic. Disguising themselves as leaves and grass, and sounding like the wind and the crickets, they come and go unnoticed. However, it is said that if a decorated treasure box is left empty under the moon, the leprechauns must fill the box with gold or jewels or gifts. But then they will hide the filled box in the most unlikely of places. If the box is found on St. Patrick's Day, the treasure remains in our world. If not, the leprechauns may retrieve what is rightfully theirs. And though the leprechauns are very clever, it is not impossible to find the treasure because, unknowingly, leprechauns often leave a trail of greenery behind them.
Now, have your child decorate an empty shoe box or tissue box with paints, glitter glue or stickers. If she tries to bargain for a bigger box, explain that leprechauns are tiny and if they can't reach the top of the box, it will remain empty. Just before bed, she should place the finished box on a windowsill where the moon will shine on it. Once she's sound asleep, the resident leprechauns can fill the box with small treasures, such as foil-covered chocolate coins, costume jewelry or a bag of marbles, and then hide it in a special place. All that's left to do is lay a trail of green leaves or paper shamrocks from the windowsill to the box. An older child may even enjoy the challenge of several trails to follow, some with dead ends (you know, trickery of the leprechauns!).
Okay, so I know they suggest using an empty shoe box and that is what we did because you know how I must follow directions to the tee, but I will let you in on a little secret...... shoe boxes are way to big! After we decorated the box and my daughter was all excited about using it, we found that a shoe box just doesn't quite fit on a narrow windowsill ledge and don't forget that you will need to fill it. I would suggest finding something a bit smaller to work with.
These unfinished wooden boxes are perfect for your treasure chest. This one is even shaped like a treasure chest. These can be found at your local craft supply store and I have also found these at the dollar store. They can be painted or colored with crayons. However your child would like to decorate it.

Make sure that you get ahold of some plastic gems like the ones pictured here or sequins, etc. You will need something to decorate the box with that will reflect the moonlight to attract the Leprechauns. Ribbon and rick rack and stickers are also some things that you can use to decorate with. Take your kids to the craft store or dollar store with you and let them choose what they want to use to decorate their very own treasure chest with.

Pssst, Mom/Dad, er, I mean, Leprechauns, while you are at the dollar store, don't forget to pick up some jewels and trinkets to fill up the treasure chest.

I also picked up some four-leaf clover confetti and used that to make a trail from the window sill to the hiding place somewhere in the house so my daughter would have a trail to follow to find her treasures. Don't forget to lay some added trails that end at a dead end for some extra fun!

Any letterboxer will have a great time with this project. It incorporates all the fun and some of the aspects of letterboxing in a holiday themed project with your kids.

Now that you have completed your Leprechaun Treasure Chest, have your kids sit in front of the computer staring at this website: http://www.irelandseye.com/leprechaun/webcam.htm and make sure that you refresh it regularly. A friend of mine turned me onto this webcam for Leprechaun sightings and I was there for hours waiting to see if I could be the first to spot one! Good luck and Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. What a cool project... sort of the Tooth Fairy meets Letterboxing. I wish my mom knew about such things when I was a kid or that I knew about it when my niece and nephew were younger.

    I also think it's very cool that you and Cat's Meow can share your love and creativity through crafting together. It is a great bond for the two of you.

    And BTW, let me tell you... I have several people already clammering for all my craft/stamping supplies... I may be old and gray, but I'm not dead yet!

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