With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner (March 17), it’s high time to start creating and decorating with green and gold. Here is a fun sensory art project you can make with young children; my two-year-old had a blast experimenting with different textures and techniques. Older kids will enjoy it, as well; parents can adjust their level of assistance as needed for each child’s age and skill level.
Whatever you do, embrace the mess and let your child lead the way! Unless they’re painting the walls, hold back a tad, Mom. While our instinct as adults is to control every detail of the project at hand, our toddlers are learning by experimentation. Consider using muffin tins for holding assorted embellishments; they’re like crafty candy buffets for little hands.
It’s also worth noting that this project requires letting pieces sit and dry between a few steps. This might be a good thing, if you’ve only got 10 minutes of craft time at once; however, if you do have all day, be prepared with extra paper for paint, or extra cardboard for embellishing. My kiddo didn’t want to stop once we had started!
What you’ll need:
- Shamrock template (click here to print)
- Thin cardboard (we repurposed thin corrugated cardboard from food packaging)
- Jumbo size craft stick (Popsicle-style)
- Black marker
- White glue
- Green paint
- Paint brush
- Assorted green and gold embellishments, such as large sequins, pompoms, feathers, adhesive gemstones or buttons
- Assorted green and gold ribbons, trims or yarns
- Green and/or gold glitter (optional)
- Download and print the shamrock template, then cut it out. Use a black marker to trace two shamrock shapes onto a scrap of cardboard.
- Pour a little paint into a small plastic cup or paper plate, and allow your little one to paint the shamrocks (it might help little ones to tape the cardboard to the table). When they’re finished, set it aside to dry. (Kids’ paint usually soaks into the cardboard and dries fairly quickly, but depending on how thick they painted it on, it can take up to several hours. If needed, a hairdryer can help speed the process along.)
- Cut out shamrocks from the painted cardboard just inside the marker lines.
- If you’re adventurous enough to try glitter, now is the time! (If not, skip, to the next step.) To add glitter, help your child apply glue wherever they want; my daughter asked for stripes. Working over a scrap sheet of paper, show your child how to sprinkle glitter from the bottle. When they’re finished, tap off the excess glitter onto your scrap paper. (Discard or save the excess glitter.)
- Prep the shamrocks for embellishment by adding squiggles of glue all over the painted surface. (Be generous! It will dry clear.) If you added glitter in the previous step, add glue to the un-glittered areas.
- This is the fun part: let your child go to town with the embellishments, sticking sequins, pompoms, gems, feathers or buttons onto the shamrock however they like. Add more glue as needed. When finished, set shamrocks in a safe place to dry for several hours.
- Cut assorted ribbons, trims or yarns into 8- to 10-inch tails (you can trim them even later).Place shamrocks wrong side up and add a generous amount of glue to the stem, then let your child help you adhere the ends of three to five tails to each shamrock.
- Glue the end of a jumbo craft stick to the stem of one shamrock, on top of the ribbons and trims.
- Next, you’ll assemble your finished wand. This is the trickiest step, only because you’re handling a lot of wet, glued items at ones; don’t stress out, just keep smushing it all together!
- A). Apply a generous amount of glue to the wrong sides of each shamrock, including the top of the craft stick B). Sandwich the shamrocks wrong sides together, encasing the top of the craft stick and trims. C).Use clothespins to clamp shamrocks together at the edges while everything dries. If and when the glue seeps out from the edges, you can use a Q-tip or paper towel to wipe it away.
- Set wand in a safe place to dry completely before handling. Remove clothespins. If desired, trim tails even.
- Printing the shamrock template onto plain paper will work just fine, but cardstock is sturdier and easier to use.
- This was my first experience painting with my toddler at home, so I used a 40% off coupon to purchase ourselves a 10-pack of washable Crayola Kids’ Paint that cost under $5. It washed and wiped away very easily, and as a bonus, we now have a variety of colors for more crafting fun.
- It’s entirely likely that your embellishments may fall off once you start handling the finished shamrocks, especially if you used child-friendly School Glue, since it is not as strong as regular craft glue. It happened to us! Don’t fret; just glue them back on. Anytime you’re crafting with kids, the fun is had more in the activity than in a perfect finished product.
- I planned on just taking photos of my daughter while she crafted, but she wanted to know where mine was, so I made a wand, too – and I highly recommend it! It was a lot of fun to sit and create together.
- I love craft projects that don’t require purchasing loads new supplies. Don’t run out and spend a lot of dough on an assortment of embellishments to make this craft happen! A single embellishment (such as just sequins) and a single trim (such as giftwrap ribbon) can be used to create just as lovely of a result. You can also use regular Popsicle sticks for the wand handle, cut one from cardboard, or leave it off altogether and make it a hanging.