Musical Shamrocks

Musical shamrocks is a fun game to play at a St. Patrick's Day party with kids.Did you ever play musical chairs as a kid? When I was little, I didn’t like playing that game. I”m not exactly sure why.

Maybe it was because I didn’t like the pushing and shoving that the other kids did in an effort to make sure they got a chair.

Maybe it was because I never seemed to win. πŸ™‚

But that dislike didn’t stop me from coming up with a variation of that game for St. Patrick’s Day. I call it musical shamrocks. (Not too original but it will suffice.)

In this game, kids won’t be pushing or shoving because you never take out any shamrocks. No one is eliminated and no one is left sitting on the sidelines while others keep playing.

Here’s how you play it.

First, use my free printable shamrock pattern to print out a bunch of shamrocks on green paper. (Because I’ve been out of town, I didn’t have a chance to buy ‘shamrock’ green paper. I had to use the pastel color that I had. But, the kids didn’t seem to mind.)

Write numbers on the shamrocks with one number per shamrock. For example, if you have 7 shamrocks, you’ll write the numbers 1 through 7 on individual shamrocks.

Create as many slips of paper as you have shamrocks. Write one activity per slip of paper. Activities could be something such as clap your hands 3 times or quack like a duck. (Have activities that fit the age of your grandkids.)

Fold up the slips of paper and put in a bowl.

Place the shamrocks in a circle on your floor. Have your grandkids stand on a shamrock. Play Celtic music. (You can download free Irish music here.) Have your grandchildren walk around the circle while the music is playing. (Or, they could dance a ‘jig’ as they go around the circle.) Instruct your grandkids that they need make sure they are standing on a shamrock when the music stops.

Start playing the music and then randomly stop it. Pull out a slip of paper from the bowl. Read the number on the paper and the activity. The grandchild who is standing on the shamrock with that number has to do that activity. (With little grandkids, you could pull out 2-3 slips of paper so that more than one grandchild could do an activity when the music stopped.)

Musical shamrocks is a fun game to play at a St. Patrick's Day party with kids.

Musical shamrocks is a fun game to play at a St. Patrick's Day party with kids.

Musical shamrocks is a fun game to play at a St. Patrick's Day party with kids. Musical shamrocks is a fun game to play at a St. Patrick's Day party with kids.

Continue play until you can tell that your grandchildren’s interest is starting to wane.

Here is a list of activities that you could write on the slips of paper. You can vary them depending on the age of your grandkids. This list is for young grandkids.

  • Jump up and down a certain number of times.
  • Clap your hands a certain number of times.
  • Pat your head 10 times.
  • Meow like a cat.
  • Bark like a dog.
  • Baa like a sheep.
  • Oink like a pig.
  • Screech like a monkey. (Or you can choose which animals sounds you want your grandkids to make.)
  • Spell their name.
  • Spell grandma/grandpa. (Or other age appropriate words.)
  • Count to 10.
  • Count to 30 by threes. (If your grandkids are old enough to know how to do this.)
  • Have a simple math problem for them to answer such as add 1 plus 8. (Vary the difficulty according to the age of your grandkids.)
  • Have them sing the song and do the actions of Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes.
  • “Throw” a kiss to grandpa (or someone else)
  • Pull a frowny face.
  • Jump like a frog.
  • Sing the alphabet song.
  • Sing the happy birthday song.
  • Repeat a nursery rhyme.
  • Write a word on the paper and have your grandchild say a word that rhymes with it.
  • Have them switch places with another grandchild.

Since you, Dear Readers, are all so creative, I’m sure that you can come up with other ideas that will be age appropriate for your grandkids!

Let me share some lessons learned from this activity. First, it might be nice to tape the shamrocks to the floor. Exuberant grandchildren can make them go sliding all over the place.

Either have your grandchildren be barefoot or wear shoes. If they are in their stocking feet, they will slip and fall if they are ‘dancing’ (or even just walking around).

My grandkids were 6 years old and younger. They seemed to be disappointed if time after time they weren’t standing on a shamrock whose number was selected. So, I started pulling out slips of paper until everyone did an activity.

Because of that, I figured out a variation that I will do the next time we play this game.

Instead of putting numbers on the shamrocks, I will leave them blank.

I’ll have a list of activities on one piece of paper instead of individual slips. I will write my grandchildren’s names on separate slips of paper to fold up those slips and put them in a bowl.

When the music stops, I’ll pull out 2 to 3 slips of paper with a grandchild’s name and read off an activity from the list of things to do. If I have a really small group like I did when we played (there were only 4 grandkids), I’ll have each child do an activity.

I hope you have great fun playing musical shamrocks with your grandkids at your St. Patrick’s Day party with them!

30 thoughts on “Musical Shamrocks

  • Pat Linsenbigler

    Love the idea! Since I didn’t see it in time for St. Patrick’s Day, I’m going to do it for Easter with Easter eggs. I think I’ll have all my granddaughters do every activity. Maybe the number egg they end up on will determine how many times they must repeat each activity. My granddaughters are pretty creative, so they’ll probably be able to come up with even more fun challenges to add to the game. Thanks for sharing.

  • April J Harris

    Nina, I love this game! Musical chairs always struck dread in my heart as a kid too, and this looks like much more fun. Pinned, and featured at the Hearth and Soul Link Party this week. Thank you for sharing it! Hope to see you at the party!

  • Grammy Dee

    I loved playing musical chairs as a child and it is so much fun watching the grandbabies play it. Your version here sounds just as fun. Thank you Nina for sharing this post at the #WednesdayAIM #LinkUp #BlogParty. I shared it on Pinterest. I don’t see any other share buttons πŸ™‚

  • Jen

    I love this! The kiddos faces, that is priceless. What fun and simple way to celebrate the holiday, but learn something too πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing this at the #happynowlinkup

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    Ah! I love your suggestion of how to do a piΓ±ata. In fact, I think that I’ll do one this Saturday for our grandson’s birthday party! Thanks for dropping by!

  • Joyce

    This is so cute! And adaptable to every holiday! I agree with you about not liking very competitive games, even pinatas scared me! I like the version where there’s a bag of candy for each kid with a name on it – and the type of shape where strings are pulled! Your version of this game makes it fun for everybody. I’ll be playing it soon! Thank you!

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    Ashley, my grandkids really loved this activity! It’s amazing how simple activities (ones that take little prep or props) can keep kids entertained. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Ashley

    Love this idea! Perfect gross motor skill activity for me and my 3 year old–it’s hard to play musical chairs with just one kid!

  • Danielle

    Thanks for the great idea, I was looking for an activity to do with our Cub Scouts and this will be perfect!!

  • Jann Olson

    What a fun variation Nina! I like the idea of no pushing and shoving. πŸ™‚ I think my grands would love playing it. Thanks for sharing it with SYC.

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    Hi Pamela,

    I’m glad you like my idea! Sometimes my ideas work and sometimes they don’t. This is one that did. And, the grandkids certainly had fun!

    Thanks for dropping by,

  • Nina Lewis Post author

    Oh Michelle, I rock?? You make me laugh!

    I might be at a conference for work so I’ll see about dusting off some oldies but goodies if I’m around for your link party.


  • Nina Lewis Post author

    HI Carol,

    Yes, I think that this activity could be used for all different ages just by varying the activities they do. Thanks for dropping by!


  • Michelle

    Grandma you rock! They look like they are having so much fun. Another class and grandchildren idea to implement. Thanks for sharing this week and dust off your oldies for next week’s party.

  • Teresa

    Another great idea! I am always looking for things to do and play with my grandkids and I know they would love this. Thank you for sharing it!

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