St. Paddy’s Day is almost here!

I am very excited – I always love having a holiday that I can use as a theme to base my sessions around. What could be more creatively stimulating than a holiday filled with leprechauns, rainbows, and shamrocks?

Today I’m going to share some ideas I have for my upcoming St. Paddy’s Day sessions for my tween and teen groups. Everything I do (whether based around a theme/holiday or not) is ALWAYS goal oriented. With that, I’ve included some of the skills and goal areas I’m targeting in each activity.

Opening Questions
I begin with some opening questions to orient the group to the theme for that day:
What holiday is coming up?
What color do people wear on this day?
What things are associated with St. Patrick’s Day? (ie. pot of gold, leprechauns, rainbows, etc.)

Irish…or Not?
This is a game I came up with to introduce the group to Irish music while also working on attention and auditory perception skills. It involves a bunch of shamrocks and music from a variety of genres (country, jazz, merengue, and hip hop, to name a few).

I thought it would be helpful if I created an easy to download PDF for you. The download lists the instructions for how to facilitate the Irish…or Not Irish? musical game and shows you all the musical selections I used. Download that freebie here:

Playing  a Rainbow
Pass out one colored instrument to each group member (ie. Boomwhacker, hand bell, tone chime, or other instrument that comes in a rainbow colored set). Using color coded notation for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” cue each member of the group to play their instrument when they see their color. You can cue individual notes to create a melody line or you can cue in chord groups to create the chords of the song (and you sing over top). If the group plays the melody, see if they can guess what song they are playing. (Think “Name That Tune!”) This is an effective way to work on a number of skills at once: sustained and selective attention, impulse control, and gross and fine motor skills.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World”
Pass out rainbow colored scarves or streamers to each group member. Instruct them to wave their scarf or streamer up above their head in the shape of a rainbow as you sing. Sing and play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” on ukulele and invite the group to sing along. Here we are working on gross and fine motor skills through use of scarves and streamers.

I have some more ideas that I’ll be sharing next week as well, so stay tuned!

If you’re looking for even more creative ideas for working with school-age clients or teens, I’d love for you to check out the E-Course I created, Tune In To Teens. It’s approved by CBMT for 5 – 15 continuing education credits, depending on the package you choose, and is packed with creative session ideas and strategies for working with teen clients: