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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Create a Leprechaun Trap

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, bringing to mind shamrocks, good luck, the color green and leprechauns! Tiny, mischievous, mythical creatures from Irish folklore, leprechauns have been a symbol of Ireland for centuries. According to old tales, these whimsical beings are said to grant a wish to anyone who captures them.

To build your very own leprechaun trap, check out the activity below. Will your trap have what it takes to catch a leprechaun and secure you a wish?


Materials Needed:

  • Craft supplies, like sequins, glitter, beads, feathers, etc. (optional)
  • Glue or tape
  • Markers
  • Objects to use as “bait,” like coins or small toys
  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • Recyclable materials, like small cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, paper towel tubes, etc.
  • Scissors


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. On a piece of paper, sketch your trap design. Consider what features might help you catch a leprechaun. Once you have your design, choose which recyclable materials you’d like to use for your trap.
  2. Using scissors, cut an opening in your trap for a leprechaun to enter.
  3. To lure a leprechaun, place your “bait” inside the trap near the entrance. Keep in mind, leprechauns love shiny and colorful objects!
  4. Add obstacles and other traps inside and around the entrance to make it harder for the leprechaun to escape once inside your trap. For example, you might use paper towel tubes or cardboard to make tunnels. Get creative!
  5. To attract a leprechaun, decorate your trap using colorful markers and fun craft supplies.
  6. Set up your trap near a window or doorway, making sure it’s stable and won't tip over.
  7. Once your trap is set, leave it for several hours, or even overnight. Check periodically to see if you’ve caught a leprechaun!
  8. While waiting to catch a leprechaun, think of several wishes you would like granted. Write them down and share them with your family or friends!


What Are We Discovering?

The leprechaun trap you created is considered a prototype, or an early working model of a product meant to test a concept or process. Building a prototype is an important part of inventing. It helps an inventor figure out what works and what needs to be changed.

Prototypes serve as valuable tools in the creative process, providing inventors with tangible evidence of their ideas and concepts. They allow for hands-on experimentation, encouraging improvements or modifications where necessary. Prototypes illuminate areas where innovation can be applied to make a design more efficient, user-friendly or cost-effective, and they are often a bridge between our imagination and reality.

Prototypes can be made anywhere with any kinds of materials, just like your leprechaun trap. National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Steve Sasson, inventor of the digital camera, made his very first prototype called the “Do Nothing” box in a closet his parents had cleared for him to use in their home!


Keep the Fun and Learning Going!

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