St. Patrick's Day Fun for the Wee Folk

St. Patrick's Day is coming up and it is such a fun holiday for kids to celebrate. Here's some ideas to make the day extra festive!

St. Patrick's Day Books, Activities, and Recipes

Bring the books alive with the activities and recipes, or do them on their own for just as much fun.  


St. Patrick's Day in the Morning

St. Patrick's Day in the Morning

Join in Jamie and Nell's early morning St. Patrick's Day fun with an illustrated recipe for Irish Soda Bread, an Irish flag four your young reader to make, and a homemade flute. Put them all together with some Irish music for your own St. Patrick's Day Parade!



Jamie O'Rourke and the Pooka

Find out what happens when Jamie O'Rourke is befriended by a mysterious Pooka, then create a pooka of your own and enjoy a traditional Irish dish full of cabbage and potatoes.




Although Green is not a traditional St. Patrick's Day book, what color is more associated with the day? Explore the many different shades of green in both the story and our activity and recipes. 


St. Patrick's Day Recipes

Enjoying holiday food is a great way to make any day festive and memorable. Here' a collection of both Irish recipes and some green dishes from our archives that are fun for kids to help prepare as well as eat.

St. Patrick's Day Green Recipes

Irish Recipes

Irish Soda Bread


Green Recipes to Celebrate the Day

Lime Smoothie

Green Wraps

Broccoli Cheddar Pie with Cheesy Rice Crust

A is for Avocado Guacamole 

Zephyr's Spectacular Triple-Veggie Pancakes (green and orange)

Bamboo Stir Fry (also green and orange)

Refrigerator Pickles

Kale Stew

Monster Mashed Potatoes (leave off the monster faces for green mashed potatoes!)

Iceberg Lettuce Tacos

Peanut Pea Salad


How are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day this year? Let us know in the comments or on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Tag your Instagram photos with #booksofftheshelf so we can see what you have been up to! 

Gift Guide 2015 Day 12: Books to Read Aloud

We've come to the last day of our Book-Inspired Gift Guide, and we hope you have enjoyed the picture books and ideas we have collected.  Here's a recap of the past 12 days:


Today we have a (rather long) list of chapter books that are perfect to read aloud with your young reader. We wish you a very merry Christmas and will see you in the new year! 


Mary Poppins


All-of-a-Kind Family


Charlotte's Web


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles


Ballet Shoes


The Saturdays

Because of Winn-Dixie


Stuart Little


Caddie Woodlawn


The House at Pooh Corner


The Betsy-Tacy Treasury: The First Four Betsy-Tacy Books


Miracles on Maple Hill

Gift Guide 2015 Day 11: Gifts for the Young Chef

Spark young readers' love of cooking with these gift ideas. Start with some lovely cookbooks (some inspired by picture books, others with their own stories), then set them up with their own supplies! Happy baking!

Christmas is almost here! Need some more ideas? Check out Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: OliviaDay 4: MadelineDay 5: For Little Artists and CreatorsDay 6: The Very Hungry CaterpillarDay 7: Winnie the PoohDay 8: Miss BindergartenDay 9: Gift for Young Gardeners, and Day 10: The World of Jan Brett.

Fanny at Chez Panisse: A Child's Restaurant Adventures with 46 Recipes


The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook (also featured on our Winnie the Pooh Gift Guide)


Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story


Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up

And for young chef who prefer to cook with ingredients like dirt, sand, and flower petals, Mud Pies and Other Recipes



Young readers will be ready to get cooking in his or her own personalized apron! We love these classic striped aprons from Williams-Sonoma, sized just for children. 



Part of the fun of cooking is sharing with friends! Add these personalized stickers to baked goods and young readers can take pride in their culinary and sharing skills!


Gift Guide 2015 Day 10: The World of Jan Brett

Don't you love Jan Brett's books? We have featured several here on Off the Shelf, including Gingerbread BabyGoldilocks and the Three BearsThe Hat and The Three Snow Bears. In every book you can look at the illustrations for hours before you see all the details. So today we have some gift ideas inspired by her books, many of which are set in Scandinavia. 

Looking for more book-inspired gift ideas? Check out Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: OliviaDay 4: MadelineDay 5: For Little Artists and CreatorsDay 6: The Very Hungry CaterpillarDay 7: Winnie the PoohDay 8: Miss Bindergarten, and Day 9: Gift for Young Gardeners.


Start with any of her books! 

Two we like are The Animals' Santa and...


her latest release, The Turnip.


Here are a few items that reminded us of her books! 


Woodland Animal Toys featuring, what else, a hedgehog!



A gorgeous Nordic-pattern hand knit sweater for girls



A black and white wool sweater  


Pinecone Hedgie



Scandinavian-inspired heart mittens

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Off the Shelf! 

Gift Guide 2015 Day 9: Gifts for the Young Gardener

Although we are just heading into the winter months, you and your young reader can dream of the warm spring and summer days ahead with these gardening gifts. Start with a few garden inspired books  (of course) to tide you until planting time, then get ready to dig in the dirt! 

You might also enjoy the other posts in our Book-Inspired Gift Guide: Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: OliviaDay 4: MadelineDay 5: For Little Artists and CreatorsDay 6: The Very Hungry CaterpillarDay 7: Winnie the Pooh, and Day 8: Miss Bindergarten

Young Gardener's Gift Guide

My Garden by Kevin Henkes

My Garden on Off the Shelf


The Gardener by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small


Growing Vegetable Soup


And Then It's Spring

And Then It's Spring on Off the Shelf



Get young green thumbs started with this child-sized VegTrug



We love the idea behind these kid-friendly seeds from Gardener's Supply. From the product description: "Powerful Plants uses lively characters to get kids connected with the outdoors and to help them make healthy food choices. Six packs of vegetable seeds have playful graphics that tap into kids' imaginations. Download the free app, and then aim your phone or tablet at the seed pack and the characters on the seed packets come to life to share growing and cooking tips and other fun facts. Seed packets include Tom Thumb heirloom shell pea, Daucus red-cored chantenay carrot, Mammoth sunflower, Casper pumpkin, Snow White cherry tomato, and Lacinato (dino) kale."



They can help their garden grow with this set of child-sized hand tools and wooden plant markers from Etsy shop BettyandDodge.



Etsy shop The Gifted Tomato has several kids' seeds packets and gardening kits including a Pizza Garden Kit (which comes in a mini pizza box!), and a starter kit (pictured above). 



Finally, they can wear their pride on their sleeve with this Garden Tools T-shirt! Choose from five different colors and six different sizes, and it comes in adult sizes too!


This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Off the Shelf!

Gift Guide 2015 Day 8: Miss Bindergarten

On the first day of the last week of school before the holiday break, we have gifts inspired by the best (in our opinion) teacher in children's literature: Miss Bindergarten! Did your young reader start kindergarten this year, or is he or she getting ready to start in the fall? The Miss Bindergarten books are the perfect introduction to the fun and "controlled chaos" that is the kindergarten classroom!

You might also enjoy the other posts in our Book-Inspired Gift Guide: Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: OliviaDay 4: MadelineDay 5: For Little Artists and CreatorsDay 6: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Day 7: Winnie the Pooh.

Miss Bindergarten Gift Guide

Love the original Miss Kindergarten? Add to your collection with any of the 6 other title in the series. Two that work particularly well for this time of year are... 

Miss Bindergarten Stays Home From Kindergarten (the sick-day season is upon us!) and...

Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten (the 100th day usually falls in January). 


Share story time with your own Miss Bindergarten Doll! Also see illustrator Ashely Wolff's customer review with her Miss Bindergarten look-alike border collie!



Miss Bindergarten's classroom is a wonderland of toys to play with and learn. These wood building blocks reminded me of the blocks in her classroom, which seem to be very popular with her students. Shop Howells Natural Wood Products has block sets in many different sizes to choose from, so your young readers' creations can be as big as their imaginations!



The animals, alphabet, and bright colors on this ABC Animal Print are reminiscent of the Miss Bindergarten books. Perfect for hanging in a reading nook!

Gift Guide Day 7: Winnie the Pooh

Day 7 of our Book-Inspired Gift Guide is all about Winnie the Pooh! Be sure to check out our post on a Collection of A.A. Milne Books. There is a lovely recipe for Honey Hot Chocolate, and some Honey Bread to go with it! 

You might also enjoy the other posts in our Book-Inspired Gift Guide: Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: Olivia, Day 4: MadelineDay 5: For Little Artists and Creators, and Day 6: The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Winnie the Pooh Gift Guide

Cuddle up with the silly old bear with this Classic Winnie the Pooh Plush! Classic Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger are also available. 


The Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook



I absolutely love this Hundred Acre Wood Print from Etsy shop TheDutchHospitalArt is available in a variety of size. I can't think of a better piece of art to decorate a playroom or bedroom!


Finally, young readers can learn the story of Winnie, the bear that inspired Christopher Robin's own plush bear, in these two lovely picture books:

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear


Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

Gift Guide 2015 Day 6: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the most beloved picture books of all time, and that shows in the number of products available featuring the caterpillar, fruit, and butterfly. Any of these would make wonderful book-inspired gifts, but I think we have chosen some that really inspired young readers' creativity, curiosity, and imagination. Aren't those the best kinds of presents you can give?

We are halfway through our Book-Inspired Gift Guide! You might also enjoy Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter Rabbit, Day 3: Olivia, and Day 4: For Little Artists and Creators.

Don't forget to check out our Very Hungry Caterpillar post, featuring recipes, art activities and more inspired by the book.



Does reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar pique your young readers interest in the minuscule world of bugs? Help them out with this Very Hungry Caterpillar Magnifying Glass, perfectly sized for small hands!


How much fun would it be to act out the story with these puppets? Simply pull out the play food, and start with the Caterpillar Hand Puppet...

...then finish the story with the Butterfly Hand Puppet! Complete the play by making our Cardboard Box Puppet Theater together!



You can also recreate the entire story with this exquisitely handcrafted felt play set from Etsy shop Sew Smart Home. Young readers can thread the caterpillar through all the foods from the book, then watch as the butterfly emerges from the cocoon. Comes with a trifold book to keep track of all the pieces. Amazing!



Young readers can color their own version of the books with this Very Hungry Caterpillar Coloring Book. Hint: They can use some of the art supplies from yesterday's post to bring their story to life!


Gift Guide 2015 Day 5: For Little Artists and Creators

Welcome to Day 5 of of our book-inspired gift guide. Today is a bit different from the past few days; we have suggestions for a few book that are perfect for budding artists and creators (and what child isn't one, the other, or both?), then there are lots of supplies that can fuel their creative pursuits. What a perfect way to beat the post-holiday and winter blahs?

You might also enjoy Day 1: Holiday BooksDay 2: Peter RabbitDay 3: Olivia, and Day 4: Madeline.

Gifts for the Young Artist and Creator

Beautiful Oops! 

Beautiful Oops! on Off the Shelf


The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing on Off the Shelf


Sky Color

Sky Color on Off the Shelf



Easel Paper Pad



240 sheets of Crayola Construction Paper in assorted colors



Crayola Ultimate Crayon Case with 152-Crayons



You can never have too many Crayola Classic Markers!



Tinkertoy Classic Jumbo Set



Tinkertoy Classic Construction Set: Junior Builder

Gift Guide 2015 Day 4: Madeline

Spend you holiday at the old house in Paris that was covered in vines with the one and only Madeline! This is day 4 of out Book-Inspired Gift Guide; you might also enjoy Gift Guide Day 1: Holiday BooksGift Guide Day 2: Peter Rabbit, and Gift Guide Day 3: Olivia.


Madeline Gift Guide

If you love the original Madeline, you and your young reader will enjoy A Madeline Treasury, which contains all 6 of the original stories written by Ludwig Bemelmans, including Madeline's Rescue and Madeline's Christmas (The series was continued by Bemelmans' grandson). 



This lovely collectible Madeline holiday doll from Etsy is dressed in tartan plaid and is holding a stocking with Genevieve! 


For a second collectible doll option, this Madeline doll sports a red coat, faux fur muff, and velvet hat. This version of the doll is very special to me; my great-grandmother gave me a Madeline just like this, as well as a copy of Madeline's Christmas, when I was two. She comes out every year to help celebrate Christmas with us!



These hand-painted Madeline wooden peg dolls from Etsy shop TheWhimsicalSweet, including Miss Clavel, Madeline, Genevieve, and the Eiffel Tower, are the perfect way for young readers to act out the story! 




I couldn't resist including this Genevieve plush toy in her own Madeline tote bag! Young animal lovers can play all day with their own Genevieve, then take her anywhere in her special carry bag! 



The Madeline Christmas Activity Book would make a perfect stocking stuffer to top off you young readers' Madeline Christmas!



Finally, just like yesterday's Olivia pajamas, we loves these Madeline pajamas! Again, why don't they come in adult sizes?


This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Off the Shelf!