Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leprechaun Trap For the WIN!

here at the ranch, we're fond of any and every excuse to have a celebration. and the combination of rainbows, pots of gold, tons of green and, of course, the pinching... makes St. Patrick's day is a favorite of everyone's. 

we raided our library a week ago for St. Patrick's day books, and so far, this one has been a steady favorite: 
Leprechauns Never Lie, by Lorna Balain. 

Ninny Nanny and Gram are in a bad state. The thatch on their roof is broken, the rain barrel is empty, the potatoes need digging, and all they have to eat is rainwater soup. But Ninny Nanny is lazy and not inclined to work. So she decides to catch a leprechaun and find out where he has hidden his fortune! The idea is splendid, but finding the pot of gold turns out to be much more than Ninny Nanny and Gram bargained for! 

this book is fun and the illustrations are bright and cheerful. 

and, naturally, it sparked our curiosity. 
what is the best way to catch a leprechaun? 
we googled it, and found that leprechaun traps are kind of a big thing. 

and so we decided to make one of our own! the boys are SERIOUSLY OBSESSED with Rube Goldberg Machines (click on that to see some awesome rube goldberg videos!) so i was pretty sure, the trap would involve some simple machine elements. it took a while to assess what materials we had on hand and to come up with a design that would work using what we had. 

we used the following supplies:

medium-sized cardboard box
an old wooden dowel about a foot long
homemade playdough
nail and hammer
empty bobbin spool
rainbow colored yarn
small stout stick
4" x 6" piece of wood
1 small basket
1 strawberry basket
2 blocks
1 jingly ball
1 sparkly shoe - the bait. since leprechauns are fond of shiny things, and like to cobble. 

first, we cut the flaps off of the box and turned it on its side. we set the flaps aside, and painted the box a bright Irish green. (and orange. and blue.)

while max worked on the painting, owen decided to decorate the strawberry basket by weaving it with rainbow-colored yarn. 

max slid the bobbin onto the nail and then hammered the nail into the dowel. we pushed the dowel through an incision we made in the top of the box, and some homemade playdough was employed to keep it steady. we also painted the two sticks, the piece of wood, and one of the long flaps from the cardboard box that would act as our platform. 

to keep the girls employed and out of the way of the design team, we pulled out the rest of the homemade playdough and they were instructed to make their own inventions. annika's is a volcano-powered marble shooter, and naomi said hers was yummy. :)

then came the business of putting it all together.
the basic frame:

and all the accessories:

here's owen to explain how it works:

combining art, science, history, and literature, this was maybe the most fun we've had yet doing a book project.  

check out these other sites for some inspiration, and build one of your own!
building your own leprechaun trap
catch a leprechaun in your garden
to catch a leprechaun

linking up to:
We Play

Shibley Smiles


LitLass said...

Very cool! My boys would love that.

quiverfull said...

thanks! we had such a great time doing this. :)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love your traps! I love this book too.

Thanks for linking for Read.Explore.Learn.