As a child, any holiday was an excuse for magic. Everyone follows the same calendar of engagements: a visit from Santa Claus and the Elf on the Shelf on Christmas, a basket surprise from the Easter Bunny on Easter Sunday, not to mention unplanned visits from the tooth fairy.
It wasn't until I was in elementary school that I learned that another figure was willing to pay me a visit, and all I had to do was leave my shoes by the front door. For many children, a visit from the leprechaun on the night before St. Patrick's Day is part of these traditions as well.
The leprechaun is believed by some to be derived from the the Irish "leach bhrogan," meaning shoemaker. And leaving your shoes by the door is a sign to the leprechaun to pay a visit. If you're lucky (as most are on St. Patrick's Day), he will leave you some of his treasure in your shoes! There are many things that the leprechaun may leave behind from his loot for a lucky child. In addition to candy and gold coins, leprechauns may leave a "lucky charm" or two.
And what makes a better shoe stuffer than two iconic symbols of St. Patrick's Day? These four-leaf clovers and rainbows are made of pipe cleaners, making them soft to the touch, unbreakable, and perfect for small hands.
How to Make Pipe Cleaner Four-Leaf Clovers
In the early day of Ireland, the Druids thought that four-leaf clovers offered magical protection and warded off bad luck. Today, they continue to be considered a sign of luck. Tuck one (or a bunch) into your child's shoe for extra luck.
Card stock (any color)
Hot glue gun
Green pipe cleaners
1. Draw your own petal template on card stock. The size of the template will determine the size of your shamrock.
2. Use your cut out template to trace four petals onto a sheet of green felt. Cut out with scissors.
3. Using the green thread and sewing needle, carefully string the four petals together with a running stitch.
4. Once petals are stitched together, take the ends of the thread to tie a knot. Pull tight. Petals should come together to form a shamrock. Adjust with fingers.
5. Once petals are arranged properly, pull tightly and double knot. Use scissors to trim excess thread.
6. Using hot glue gun, attach a green pipe cleaner to the shamrock as a stem.
How to Make Pipe Cleaner Rainbows
Hang them over your childUse this craft as a learning experience to teach little one's the order of the rainbow and to practice naming colors. These rainbows make great decorations and look lovely in centerpieces, mobiles or given as gifts or charms.
Pipe cleaners in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet
white pom poms
1. Starting with violet or innermost ray of color, curve pipe cleaner to the desired shape and cut to even length using scissors. Using this ray as a measure, measure and shape all other color rays, increasing order so that they fit together.
2. Once arrangement is set, use craft glue to attach pipe cleaners.
3. Finish your rainbow by adding white pom-poms at either ends of the rainbow to mimic clouds.