Kids Green Science Shenanigans for St. Patrick’s Day


Update March 15, 2016 Will you be celebrating the lucky lore and leprechauns/limericks of March 17 holiday hoopla?

Hadn’t seen this easy rainbow slime for STEM & STEAM sensory play and tactile discovery with wee ones; so I’m adding it to this helpful 2016 activities roundup from Playdough to Plato on the St. Patrick’s Day project front for early learners 3-8. Also check out:

 Classroom free fun via Scholastic and fresh factoids from WalletHub on the wild amount of green being spent on St. Patrick’s Day, as well as the trend toward many getting outdoors with green 5K runs, green eco activities and popular ‘color runs’ themed green.

This year, I didn’t have time to write about green hedgehogs in virtual worlds or How to Turn People Green (as in eco-aware, environmentally zealous) but National Wildlife Week wrapping up today reminds us that all creatures great and small all around us constitute ‘wild life’ in both urban and rural environs…

project wild thing titleRather than swig green Kool-Aid, how about taking lucky kids outdoors to enjoy the green with some accompanying ‘green media’ to get in the spirit? Tune into Project Wild Thing to help kids reconnect with nature…perfect for National Wildlife Week!  

Here’s more inspiring green media to share as a link-lobbing reprise for all the GOOD fun that’s out there chock full of ideas for a healthier planet; with green links galore to share for St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!

Original Post Mar. 16, (throwback!) I could make a Lucky Charms brand slam about General Mills incorporating their cereal into lesson plans and advergaming, but I groused enough in my earlier post on Camel’s brand antics today.

So today I’ll focus on turning things green…ANY thing green in the name of fun, science, and mischievous magic for St. Patrick’s Day. My daughter used to have an invisible friend, a leprechaun named Blueberry that became a ‘wee bit of an Irish tradition’ since kindergarten years when he was first introduced to us by her teachers.

He’d turn their computer screens green, change the font, type and color on the classroom keyboards, tint the water in the commode and all kinds of mischievous mayhem in the classroom. And, well…let’s just say the gent rubbed off on me wreaked havoc on the household with silliness and fun…

Blueberry annually changes milk green, pulls a Dr. Seuss Green Eggs & Ham recipe out of his hat, (recipe reviews here) leaves green eco-tips and rainbow wishes on green post-it notes about, and all loooooong before our current Project Green Prom and ‘Teens Turning Green’ eco-alliances had formed…And media and marketing guru Steve Spangler has some easy, green science tips to spike up your St. Patty’s Day celebrations…(video after the jump)


Steve Spangler Science has made a huge name for himself among educators and parent purchasers of his pre-packaged kits and gained quite a following for making science fun.

He’s quite an astute “brand” marketer in and of himself, though I mentioned same here in this discussion of overt and covert branding, and his freebie fans landed on my tail as if I were uttering Satanic verses…(sheesh, it was meant as a compliment, folks!) All I meant was that his turnkey science labs use both media and marketing as a conduit for fun…

From rainbow Leprechaun eggs and the powers of polymer to turning faucet water green, green slime, and videos and how-tos of his favorite science infusions, you’ll find some BIG GREEN FUN without spending ANY GOLD. (got that, freebie, folks?!)

My daughter used to LOVE those ‘tub tints’ that would color the bath but never seemed quite ‘right’ to be putting her little body in (now that I’ve been to the summit at Teens Turning Green, and read this article on Eco Child’s Play I’m wondering about the safety of same…)

Steve Spangler shows how tint fizzies like this can be used for a quick stream of flowing wonder, and THAT is worth a wide-eyeball moment for sure!

Of course, anyone that’s ever received a ‘no way this came from nature’ corsage from a well-meaning beau (do they even do those anymore?) would appreciate the green flowers experiment …And I particularly like the way he has a couple of levels of explanation, one more technical than the other.

green-flowerHe uses simple concepts like “split ends” that any hair-fixated tween can relate to, showing how the water flows through the plant stem/shaft…

He also tied learning into the eco-system flow, showing how the green dye may not harm the flower, but in REAL life, pollutants/toxins are absorbed in the same manner and CAN alter plants, soil, veggies, health and growth leaving contaminants in our food supply.

For older green thumbs, he gets into the nitty gritty, explaining about the two things that combine to move water through plants — TRANSPIRATION and COHESION…

“Water evaporating from the leaves, buds and petals (transpiration) pulls water up the stem of the plant.

This works in the same way as sucking on a straw. Water that evaporates from the leaves “pulls” other water behind it up to fill the space left by the evaporating water, but instead of your mouth providing the suction it is due to evaporating water.”

Got it. Always wondered that, actually. Anyway, if you’re planning on doing this one, it can take up to 24 hours to have the color reach the white petal to turn it green, so get movin’ tonight if you want to snag that ‘aha’ moment in time for St. Patrick’s Day in the morning!

For ‘stimulus’ package folks wishing pennies would turn into gold, check out this more elaborate chemistry lab that needs an adult hand in the mix to toss in some science about alloys.

Caveat emptor, once you change it gold, there’s no going back, as the penny won’t be ‘cashable’ anymore.

Though how many times have I seen adults AND kids pass by a penny, deem it as ‘useless’ or even throw it in the TRASH?


Talk about burnin’ through money…I think I saw that in a movie, anyone know which one it was?

Freakonomics folks may find this a valid use of pennies for sure…Finally, here are a few more collaborative literacy projects, limericks and poetry fun, as well as easy songs ‘sung to the tune of’  which I’ve always loved to ‘Google in a pinch’ for quickie entertainment for wee ones…

Teens, this works GREAT for babysitting kids using media for last minute entertainment on the fly. Thanks to Little Giraffe’s Teaching Ideas for the compilation of songs, story starters, and other great activities.

irishdoorhangerLast but not least dear leprechauns, a list of a few favorites for How to Turn People Green (literally and figuratively)…

And this easy, cheap econo-craft (visual at left) that can literally turn a paper plate into a pot of gold with a few rainbow pens to welcome in the holiday without spending any green. Great way to keep kids busy while you’re fixing the faucet for that leprechaun ‘wow’ moment!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Related Resources

Shaping Youth: How to Turn People Green

Shaping Youth: Getting Kids to Eat Green: Using Shrek Against His Drek

How to Make a Green Smoothie (Eco Child’s Play)

Seven Ways to Green Your Fast Food (Eco Child’s Play)

Virtual World St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Second Life (BBC article)

Elf Island Goes Green for St. Patrick’s Day (blog) and Fan Site

Shaping Youth: Project Green Prom, March Into Sustainability

How to Turn Your Parents Green Blogspot

Top 5 Green St. Patrick’s Day Foods (Ask the Trainer)

Little Green Leprechaun Footprints (Craft project: AlphaMom)

Children’s Healthy Environment Coalition: Healthy Child, Healthy World

Shaping Youth: Green Teen Videos on Climate Change

The Green Guide: Environmental health news, tips

Shaping Youth: Green Media & Kid Vid Galore

EWG Green Skin Deep/Science Database

More Shenanigans & Fun Ideas? Pop ’em in the comments, please?!

Steve Spangler Science Shares St. Patrick’s Day Science: 2:54

Visual Credit: Shamrock: Discovery Education’s Clip Art Gallery created by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator, Steve Spangler’s St. Patrick’s Day Science, EcoSherpa’s green recycled graphic and Kid Crafts magazine for the rainbow door hanger.



  1. Hi Amy – I was not one of Steve’s rabid fans who landed on your tail for an earlier post, but I am a Spangler fan. I have done Steve’s St. Patrick’s Day activities with my kids for a few years and they have gone wild. Before I learned how to turn water and snow green, I barely wore green for St. Patrick’s Day. Now the leprechauns visit and my girls get so excited running around the house trying to find evidence of their visit. Our leprechauns go a step further than the Spangler ones, and leave leprechaun stew – pistachio pudding that turns green when you mix it with milk.

    And just in case you missed it, Steve has another new way for outreach – a widget you can put on your blog and it displays an experiment each week. Go Steve!

  2. Hi Laurel…thanks for the green stew tips! I’ll give it a go…
    Found a couple of other new greenie things this year, which I’ll save up for maybe an ‘Earth Day’ post…

    btw, The widget is very cool too, thanks for the heads up! (now if I just had time to build this into a ‘real’ site to house such worthwhile things!) Gotta get some interns and HELP that’s sustainable. If you know of any tween/teen testers, we’re taking interns right now, btw…(for school service credit, etc. to do some media literacy/fun projects and site/game exploration—)

    Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment!)

    Amy Jussel’s last blog post..Influencers, Accountability and the Global Cost to Youth

  3. Hi Amy – I look forward to your greenie things! I love Earth Day and am always trying to find suggestions of things to do with my kids outside of the normal picking up litter project.

    I hear ya about the blog updates. I still need to get my blog up and live. It takes so much work!

    I will see if I can find some tween/teen testers for you. You don’t have to be local to participate, right?


  4. Hi Laurel, absolutely NO need to be local, in fact, it’s BETTER for us to have a point of view that’s far reaching with youth advisors to pool a cross section of kids of diff. ages, regions, interest areas, etc. Right now we’re testing out the new ‘learn and earn’ reward system of SmartyCard for a form of digital allowance that tweens can use/save/earn themselves…cool idea, need some diff. points of view (parent, child, fun factor, etc. with a similar audience to the Spangler crowd I’d think…3rd to 6th grade for certain…)

    Let me know if you have any takers! 🙂 Lots of other stuff forthcoming too…In fact, I need testers inside of prior to Earth Day, so if you’re into ‘green’…um…spread the word! 🙂 Thanks, Laurel. Best, —Amy

    Amy Jussel’s last blog post..Diagnosis Endometriosis: What to Know As Preteens Grow

  5. Amy – Thanks for sharing some of our St. Patrick’s Day science activities with your readers. Who doesn’t like turning the water green? You have a fun blog to read. Thanks.

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