Embrace the green and gold as we enter spring and enjoy some St. Patrick’s Day activities! This St. Patrick’s Day themed Old Maid card game will grab your preschoolers’ attention and have them begging to play over and over!
Be sure to grab a free copy of your St. Patrick’s Day game at the end of this post! See all my thematic preschool activities here.
St. Patrick’s Day Game for Preschoolers
Have you ever played Old Maid with a preschooler? If not, you are in for a real treat! Preschoolers think it’s SO funny when someone pulls their old maid card.
One of the best parts about playing this St. Patrick’s Day game with little ones is that this version of Old Maid has no losing players.
This “winning” game is great for preschoolers to support each other throughout play and build camaraderie instead of competition and challenge. It’s a cooperative game, where everyone works together. There is certainly a time and place for winning, but it’s nice to have games that are just for learning how to take turns and ensuring all players have a smile at the end of the game!
FAQ About Teaching St. Patrick’s Day to Preschoolers
St. Patrick’s Day is full of fun traditions and festivities! Introduce your preschoolers to clever leprechauns, colorful rainbows with a sparkly pot of gold, and of course the search for a lucky shamrock.
Legend has it that wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns! Leprechauns have a nasty habit of pinching anyone not wearing green so stay safe and dress appropriately!
A shamrock is a three-leaf clover and the national flower of Ireland. Four leaf clovers are lucky because they are VERY hard to find. They say you can search clover patches for a thousand years and never find one.
Easy St. Patrick’s Day Game
If you’ve never played an Old Maid card game with your preschooler, this is the time! It’s so fun and I swear your preschoolers will be giggling with anticipation at each turn.
This is one of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day games to play.
- Free St. Patrick’s Day themed Old Maid printable
- Heavy card stock
- tape (optional)
- 3-5 players
How to Set Up the Card Game
Print the card game on heavy cardstock. When it comes to card games, I find the heavier the cardstock, the better. Then cut out. (Save tons of time by using a rotatory paper cutter. I’ve had one for over 15 years!)
You can laminate the cards, but they’ll be slippery and difficult for little hands to hold. But that’s when a cardholder comes in handy. This is the one I use for my preschoolers.
Don’t Forget St. Patrick’s Day Picture Books
Learn about the traditions and festivities of St. Patrick’s Day with high-quality picture books for preschoolers. Check out this book list with great St. Patrick’s Day books for your classroom!
How to Play St. Patrick’s Day Old Maid Card Game
As I mentioned, this version of Old Maid has a slight twist: there is no loser. Everyone ends up being a winner, which is always fun for preschoolers.
To play the game, deal out all the cards to the players. It doesn’t really matter if a preschooler ends up with an extra card. And yes, the smaller group you have the more cards each player will have, which is why these card holders come in handy.
Next, invite your preschoolers to make any matches they see within their hand. Lay those matches aside. Each player can keep track of their own matches.
Select a preschooler to go first. That player draws a card from the player to his left.
If the card matches one of the cards already in his hand, he can place the match with the others he’s collecting. The game continues to the next player, each player drawing from the player to the left, and continues until all the cards have been matched and one player is left with the runaway St. Patrick’s Day card (“old maid”).
Matching cards is an educational activity as it works on visual discrimination skills.
This is a card game for kids that is fun for adults, too! It’s fast paced, but easy enough for even the youngest players. This is a must-add to your favorite St. Patrick’s Day party games. We play it every single year in my preschool!
Winning the Game
Everyone is a winner in this game!
Traditionally, in an Old Maid card game the player left with the “old maid” loses the game. However, when I play this version with my preschoolers, we celebrate all the matches that are made in the game.
Like all children, preschoolers will want to assign a “loser” to the child left with the messy dresser card. When this happens, I say something like, “That mischievous leprechaun has done it again!”
Then I direct the preschoolers’ attention to all the matches we made. We even line up the matches in numerical order, which is just one of many extensions to this game.
More Ways to Use This St. Patrick’s Day Game
Because this is a set of St. Patrick’s Day theme number cards, there are a lot of fun ways to use them! Here are a few ideas.
- Use the number cards to play a game of concentration.
- Distribute the cards as in the Old Maid game and then play “I have, who has?” Here’s an example: “I have number 2. Who else has number 2?”
- Order the number cards from least to greatest, or visa versa.
- Use these cards as traditional counting cards to practice one-to-one correspondence.
- Add some gross motor fun. Tape one set of number cards to the wall and one-by-one give your preschooler a card and have him race to the wall to make a match.
- Set the cards around for a scavenger hunt. At the end, children might find a pot of gold!
Get Your St. Patrick’s Day Old Maid Card Game HERE
Think your preschoolers will enjoy this free St. Patrick’s Day card game? You bet they will! This may not be a traditional Irish game, but it will quickly become a favorite.
And they won’t even know they’re practicing number identification, either. Click the image below to grab your own copy.
Looking for More St. Patrick’s Day Printables?
Looking for something to help teach your preschoolers about rainbows, leprechauns, and gold coins, as well as letters and numbers?! This St. Patrick’s Day Activity Pack includes six super fun activities and multiple variations of each!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.