Nearly all children are captivated by the lore of the leprechaun. What's not to love about a magical and mischievous creature who loves shiny things and hides his treasure? Even better, leprechauns not only garner children's interest, but they can inspire real learning. When you set out to trap such a clever creature, you have to be awfully clever yourself, challenging young kids to develop planning and problem solving skills, creativity and even empathy. Try it, and it may well become an annual tradition.
If you can give children a compelling problem to solve, then give them time and space to develop a solution, you give them a foundation for building both problem solving skills and creativity. The more you ask questions and get them talking about their ideas, you help them build communication skills as well. Further, the chance to wrap pebbles or other objects in aluminum foil or other shiny material is stimulating to even the youngest child's senses of sight and touch. For many children under 3 or 4, it is very challenging to take the perspective of another person or creature. You may find that your 3 year old will fill the leprechaun trap with her favorite treats. So, this exercise of thinking about what the leprechaun would want is great practice at thinking about others, which forms a foundation for empathy down the road.
We think all families should be learning outside. Try this activity with your child and begin to see the power in outdoor, play-based learning. Have fun!Email it to me