Many Americans have some Irish roots, so it’s hardly surprising that March is often proclaimed Irish-American Heritage Month, especially with the occurrence of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17. This month is a great time to teach your class about the legends, practices, food, and music of Ireland. Here are a few fun craft ideas to get you started!
1. Celtic Knot Bookmark
The Celtic knot is an icon of Irish culture, symbolizing eternity. Show your students that these designs form endless loops by encouraging them to trace the path through a design with their finger or a pencil. They can then copy or trace the design onto strips of cardstock and color them in with pencils or felt pens to make Irish-themed bookmarks. Finish off the craft with a small hole in the top of the bookmark through which your students can tie a tassel or a piece of ribbon to make it extra snazzy.
2. Shamrock Stamp
Using toilet paper tubes and tape, make simple shamrock stamps, which can then be used to decorate other crafts. Simply press a tube into a heart shape, and secure it with tape. Dip it into paint to create the shape of a shamrock leaf.
You could incorporate this into a lesson on St. Patrick or Irish history. The shamrock is often linked to St. Patrick as he is believed to have brought Christianity to America and to have used the shamrock to represent the Holy Trinity.
3. Festive Plate
Making decorated plates is the perfect way for your students to have keepsakes that will remind them of everything they’ve learned. Encourage your students to decorate their plates with their favorite Irish foods or people from Irish history. They can even share their choices with the rest of the class!
4. Musical Bodhrán
Why not round off a lesson on Irish music by making homemade bodhráns? Using a cleaned-out circular food container or pie tin, encourage your class to decorate the sides and top with designs based on the things they’ve learned about Irish culture.
The class can use their bodhráns for a musical activity like making up rhythms or playing along to traditional Irish song. The bodhrán can be beaten by hand, or your students can make tippers from chopsticks, pencils, or even by taping together plastic spoons.
Learning about cultures and practices is valuable for any class, as it shows your students that things done differently in other parts of the world are fun and interesting to learn about and share. Furthermore, it gives your Irish-American students a wonderful insight into their cultural heritage!
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