Many many years ago, the words “Saint Patrick’s Day” inspired plans for an evening of downtown debauchery and a morning of immense displeasure. Nowadays, however, it’s usually a dyed-green something and maybe a pinch for not wearing green. But what about stepping outside for some family fun?
There are a ton of outdoor activities that can be themed for St. Patrick’s Day, just check out our list of leprechaun approved fun!
Fire up the grill for a Texas twist on an Irish favorite.
Grilled Corned Beef
Ready in 3hrs 30mins
4 -5 lbs beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
2 tablespoons peppercorns
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1⁄2 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme, dried
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄2 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1⁄4 cup Irish whiskey
1⁄8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
- Soak the beef for about 30 minutes per pound and no less than 2 hours. You can do this overnight. You also need to change the water a couple times and rinse the corned beef off when you change the water.
- Place the seasonings in a pan to warm then grind them.
- Rub this on the rinsed and dried corned beef brisket.
- Corned beef is frequently sold with a spice packet you can use it in place of the spices I have listed. You want it to get deep inside, so the flavors will spread.
- Rinse and simmer your corned beef for 1 hour. Hopefully in Guinness and some carrots, onions, and parsnips.
- Remove meat and place on paper towels to dry. Lightly spread olive oil over corned beef. Being careful not the burn your hands.
- The liquid can be used for potatoes.
- (Placing on the grill gives you smokiness and lightly browned while basting with the glaze.).
- Over high heat, sear the simmered beef over high heat just to get grill marks.
- Remove to indirect heat with a drip pan below it. You can add some beer to the drip pan for some steaming.
- You want to grill your corned beef for about 1 to 2 hours at a low temperature of 250 degrees F.
- Charcoal and hardwoods will give you better flavors, but you can use a gas grill. Over indirect heat and use a drip pan under the corned beef. Grill until the internal temperature of the meat reached more than 165 degrees F.
Meanwhile prepare Glaze:
- Mix the glaze ingredients together.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
- Spread over cooked meat then proceed with cooking.
- Baste the corned beef every 30 minutes.
- Remove and let sit 10 minutes before slicing.
Pop open a stout and serve with your favorite Irish sides.
Seeing as you’ve got 3.5 hours to kill, we’ve got some fun games and activities to entertain the kids while they wait.
Since leprechauns are always searching for gold, gather your kiddos and send them on a gold hunt of their own. Hide several gold coins (you can use chocolate gold coins, toy coins, gold spray painted rocks, or even pennies) around your yard.
Divide them into two teams. Give each team a pail and send them on a hunt to find as much “gold” as possible in two minutes (you can set the time for longer if you have hidden a lot of coins or have a large area to search). When time is up, have the teams count the coins in their pails. The team with the most coins wins.
To prepare for the Shamrock Scramble game, cut out the shapes of four large shamrocks from green poster board (they should be large enough for a few kids to be able to stand on at once). Tape one shamrock in each corner of the yard.
Play some Irish music and have the kids dance while it plays. Stop the music randomly. When the music stops, the kids must scramble to stand on one of the shamrocks. The last player to get on a shamrock is out of the game. Play continues like this until only one player remains.
This game has teams racing to see who can be first to create a rainbow. Divide guests into two teams. Hand a roll of different colored crepe paper to each player. To start the game, the first players in line must run across the room (or yard), unrolling her streamer as she goes. When she returns to her team, the next player will run the same course, unrolling his streamer over hers. The first team to complete their rainbow wins the race.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
Many cities celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a parade. Supply the kids with some props and costume pieces so that they can have a parade of their own, right in your home, backyard or even through the neighborhood. Some ideas for props include:
- Wool caps
- Leprechaun and Irish fairy costumes
- Toy musical instruments
- Irish banners
- Cardboard boxes they can decorate and wear as “floats”
Go on a Shamrock Hunt
The national emblem of Ireland is the shamrock, a clover-like plant that grows in grassland and roadsides, usually with three leaves and rarely with four. Four-leaf clovers are symbols of luck throughout the world and finding them takes time and patience. In fact, only one out of every 10,000 clovers have four leaves.
Why not try your luck and go on a shamrock hunt with the kids? At best, you’ll find the best good luck charm you can think of. At worst, it’ll be a fun day out.
Your best chances at finding four-leaf clovers are in patches of white clovers, but any clover or oxallis patches will do. The following habitats are good “hunting” grounds for your kids:
- grassy meadows,
- mowed areas along roadsides,
- paths through woodlands, and
- waste areas.
Closer to home, your local park or lawn are great starter points. Once you find a clover patch, don’t get on your knees to scan every single clover in the patch! There’s an easier method recommended by “four-leaf clover” specialists. With your kids, stand above a clover area and brush it gently with your feet to leave no clovers unexposed. While doing that, scan the area quickly with your eyes, I-spy style. Four-leaf clovers being genetic mutations, they’ll have smaller leaves and will stand out from the crowd. Your eyes will notice the odd one out if it’s there! You might even get luckier and find a 5-leaf clover. Good luck!