Leprechauns Strike Again with Green Water

LeprechaunWaterI will never forget St. Patrick's Day 2006. This morning I woke to the screams of our almost four year old twins, Mark and Scott.

"Daddy, wake up! Look at what those Leprechauns did," yelled Scott. I jumped out of bed to find the twins picking up green and gold coins that peppered the living room floor. Traces of gold dust covered the counter top, and a glass of water that was left next to the sink was now green. By this time, our seven year old, Jack, was scouring the house in search of more evidence of Leprechauns.

"Mom! Dad! Bring the boys here. Look at what I found in the toilet," screamed Jack.

You guessed it… the toilet water was green. This was sufficient evidence for the twins that our home had been visited by Leprechauns – they took the bait hook, line and sinker. As I glanced over at Jack, I could see his wheels were spinning. While he never said anything out loud, his facial expression told me that he wasn't buying this whole Leprechaun thing.

"What do you think about those Leprechauns?" I asked. "Oh, it's pretty cool," Jack replied. Then he whispered to me, "Daddy… I kind of know that Mommy just colored the water with food coloring."

For the first time as a parent I felt his disappointment. He wanted so badly to believe, but his ability to think and reason was getting in the way of him believing in Leprechauns. My little boy was growing up – figuring things out – becoming wise to the ways of the world. In the mean time, Jack's brothers were caught up in the frenzy, searching each toilet and sink for more green water. In a split second I had to respond. "Jack, you're probably right. But let's keep it our little secret… deal?"

Leprechaun Green WaterJack seemed fine with the deal, but his face told a different story. The magic was gone. I walked Jack over to the kitchen sink and handed him an empty glass. "If Leprechauns were real, the water coming out of the faucet would be green," I said, with a sense of defiance in my voice. Just then I turned on the faucet and the water began to flow… and it was green!

"Oh my gosh! Daddy! It's green! Mommy, come here… right now! Mark, Scott, get over here!" This time the screams of excitement were real. "Mommy, the Leprechauns are real. They really colored our water. Look at this…" A wonder sense of fun filled the house as the boys ran from faucet to faucet to check the water supply. In each case, the water came out green.

Call me sappy, but I could feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I looked over at Mommy who was holding the glass of green water. "The water came out green," Renee said, with a smirk on her face. "I know the Leprechauns must have visited last night." But there's more …

It's probably best that you stop reading this if you're one of those people who wants to believe.

But if you want to know how we made the water turn green, keep reading. The secret is nothing more than a few coloring tablets secretly hidden in the screen of the faucet. The tablets are called Fizzy Tablets or True Color Tablets. You can find them on-line or occasionally at a department store. Don't use Easter egg dye tablets because they stain! 

Leprechaun Water

Just unscrew the screen piece from the end of the faucet and dry the screen with a paper towel. Place a few of the coloring tablets in the reservoir and twist the screen piece back onto the end of the faucet. Some of the tablets only come in red, yellow and blue, so you'll need to combine a blue and yellow tablet to make green. It's that simple.

LeprechaunWater2.JPGWhen you turn on the water, the tablets dissolve and color the water. Remember that it only lasts for a short time before the coloring tablets completely dissolve, and the color is the most vivid during the first few seconds. Be sure to collect a sample in a cup to prove that it really happened!

It's amazing to me that something so small and easy to do can make a memory as unforgettable as this. I hope the Leprechauns find their way to your home.

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Comments (45)

  • Cathey Smith Reply

    Thanks for the great sciene ideas! I’d love to be able to do this at some of my Irish friend’s houses. Thanks again!!

    March 18, 2006 at 7:55 am
  • Dawn Reply

    Thanks for sharing! That was great. I cant wait for my daughter to get alittle older so I can try that on her.

    March 18, 2006 at 9:11 am
  • Karen Reply

    I saw you at the NAEYC in DC. I’ve purchased so many of your things for my preschool, but I’ve found it a challenge to take them into school once my 17-year old son sees them. He actually took the “spud launchers” to a sleep over last night, along with the smoke circle launcher. He wanted the Airzooka too, but I’d actually taken it into school for our “wind” unit!
    Just wanted to comment on your Leprechaun scheme. I have my preschool children design a “leprechaun trap” each year. We use “fools gold” (forgive me, I’ve forgotten the scientific name for the stone!) to set outside the trap to lure them in. The next morning classroom is a mess with gold glitter, pieces of small green fabric in the trap (we ALMOST got him), chairs upside down and tipped over… And candy everywhere. We didn’t get his gold but a consolation prize. One year, I actually put a drop of green food coloring in the bottom of each child’s milk cup, and as I poured each glass of milk, I showed them the white milk pouring from the carton, once it filled the cup it turned green. I also put green food coloring on my plate and you can guess what happened. They were all convinced that my Irish heritage was visiting me for the day!
    The children talked about that for years! (That was several years ago, and those children are in high school now!)
    Thanks for sharing additional thoughts for those of us who like to “celebrate the green!”
    -Karen Roberts
    Burke, VA

    March 18, 2006 at 9:36 am
  • jan flowers Reply

    I loved this story. What a great idea. I could really visualize their faces lighting up.

    March 18, 2006 at 10:13 am
  • Brenda Reply

    I love the memories you are making with your family. Your children have been given the same love and wonder of science that you give to us at your presentations! And I will forever remember “If it gets to the dinner table – you win!” Thank you for sharing so much with us. I used the tablets this morning on my husband – of course he is now taking my tablets to his work. So much FUN!

    March 18, 2006 at 10:30 am
  • betsy simpson Reply

    You are an amazing science teacher and obviously an amazing parent, thanks for giving us all a sense of wonder and a little bit of magic for us to share with our own children.

    March 18, 2006 at 11:04 am
  • Karen Marsh Reply

    This is undoubtedly a cool website. I am 37 years old, and I have never had so much fun and interest in doable science in my life. The hair on my arms stood up at the CYY last weekend. The children in my center are enjoying your wonderful talents through our teachers. Thank you so much!!!!!

    March 18, 2006 at 12:43 pm
  • Jody Reply

    I love how you were able to keep the innocense(especially one that is your own) for at least a little while longer. The cool part about the experience, I would say would be knowing that his little gears are working to figure out the process in which these things happened.
    Thanks for the idea and the story.

    March 18, 2006 at 1:40 pm
  • Teresa M. Reply

    What a great St. Paddy’s Day Gift to us all. Thanks for sharing the joy!

    March 18, 2006 at 1:57 pm
  • Stephanie Armstrong Reply

    This is such a great idea!!! I can’t wait to do it to my class and my HUSBAND!!! Thanks again, keep the great ideas coming.

    March 18, 2006 at 3:42 pm
  • Elen Munnelly Reply

    Thank you so much for the smile on my face! I grew up in Ireland and believe it or not the leprechauns were never as mischievous there as they are here! We had a lot of fun at our preschool this week with leprechauns, they were sly and pesky and left huge messes in their wake. From turning rice green in one classroom to beautiful gold nuggets left behind in another. The rice tasted green! The coup was in the room where they almost caught him and he had to leave so fast his underwear was left behind hanging on a doorknob! Did the kids ever love that:) I did not know about the green water so next year I’ll be hunting for those tablets. Add them to your catalog and make my life easier. Thanks! Ellen Munnelly

    March 18, 2006 at 5:39 pm
  • christy staashelm Reply

    What a great idea. Parent to parent tip….at our house the tooth fairy always leaves a glitter trail in your hair, on your bed, and all over your twin sister.

    March 19, 2006 at 9:43 am
  • Sheila Dandeneau Reply

    What a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to try it. It reminded me of a time we had fun with color and a rainstorm. Right outside our classroom window (which was a floor to ceiling window) was a drain hole. The rain was coming down so hard that the water was bubbling back out of the hole and shooting up in the air like a fountain. Of course, I had to run out in the rain and add color to the water. The children had so much fun watching the color change.

    March 20, 2006 at 6:28 am
  • Doris Perez Reply

    What a wonderful idea! I am going to try with a group of students for the Easter Celebration. My student’s Hispanic culture is very strong in the area where I work. I will also try this activity with my own children for the St. John’s celebration. We are Puerto Ricans and this day we do a lot of activities. Thanks for sharing!

    March 20, 2006 at 8:53 am
  • Sheila Dandeneau Reply

    What a fantastic idea! I can’t wait to try it.

    March 20, 2006 at 9:51 am
  • Debbie Smith Reply

    I do believe in Leprechauns! Your story reminded me of the year my oldest (now 24 –then about 9) was old enought to surprise her little sister with a leprechaun trail. My daughter and good friend took baby powder and green gliter and sprinkled it all over our house. Everywhere the leprechaun had danced we found leprechaun dust. He danced on top of the covers on her little sister’s bed, he danced in the bathroom, and in the kitchen…..

    It was a blast to see her so excited about surprising her sister, but what a mess leprechaun dust is to clean up….but the FUN was worth every minute.

    I think next year we’ll have to have the leprechaun come visit again for the youngest of our children. Thanks for sharing your families fun and wonder with all of us.

    March 20, 2006 at 1:32 pm
  • rose Reply

    I love your ideas and products. We always have science birthday parties and use things we get from your website. Today I did the Color Changing Milk project with my homeschooled boys and we really enjoyed it. I have a question about it. I hope you can help explain why the boys were able to make little balls of the colored milk roll across the surface of the milk on the plate when they were playing with the cotton swabs.

    March 20, 2006 at 7:45 pm
  • Rhonda Reply

    I was one of the lucky ones that was able to see Steve at Celebrating Connections in Charleston, WV in February! The experience was unforgettable!

    We also had a visit from the Leprechauns at our school…we went so far as to remind the children all week to lock the doors and windows in their class so that the leprechauns wouldn’t play while they were away!

    Imagine their suprise Friday morning when their class was a mess, the toilets were green, there were green footprints all over the walls, tables, floors, etc. and little green handprints on the window that they “forgot” to close! Luckily he had left a “POT OF GOLD CHOCOLATES” for the children in the class and down the hall. I have never seen them so excited! They were more than happy to clean up HIS mess and to tell all what had happened overnight!

    It’s great to know that others enjoy the magic of encourging a child’s imagination!!



    March 20, 2006 at 11:00 pm
  • Steve Reply

    Rose – Thanks for your comments. The “little balls” of color are actually globules of soap and fat molecules interacting on the surface of the milk. They disappear quickly, but it’s fun to watch.

    March 21, 2006 at 5:41 pm
    • anonymous Reply

      Steve, thanks a lot for the ‘blog’. I can just imagine your kid’s faces glowing when they found out about the ‘magic’ green faucet water. Again, thanks so much for sharing us the great story.

      March 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm
  • Steve Reply

    Elen – You asked about the coloring tablets. They’re available on our website. Visit http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/product/1156

    March 21, 2006 at 5:43 pm
  • Steve Mertz Reply

    Steve, Great blog with very cool ideas. Thanks for sharing!

    March 21, 2006 at 8:12 pm
  • Lynn Reply

    I felt like I was right there with Mark, Scott, and Jack running around the house finding all the “evidence” the leprechauns left behind-it was exciting!! I need Tub Tints for next year…..

    March 24, 2006 at 6:21 am
  • Margie Lamb-Duff Reply

    The minute Steve told me that he did this with his kids I ran home, with tub tints in hand, and placed them in every toilet and every faucet in the house. It was a huge hit! They searched for the leprechauns for the rest of the evening. Blake (my 9 year old, if you can believe it) swears that he saw a leprechaun in one of our heating vents. It was great to see him still so excited about it at his age. They are still talking about it and plan on setting up a trap next year to catch the little guy!

    March 24, 2006 at 10:52 am
  • Emily Reply

    This is pretty sweet!! I will try it sometime!!

    March 31, 2006 at 5:05 pm
  • Sarah Reply

    Wow that is really cool! Maybe we could use that in our eigth grade science class as a prank!

    May 15, 2006 at 8:47 am
  • Vicki Reply

    I had no idea that Leprechaun adventures were so active in today’s homes and classrooms. I am writing a one act play involving a Leprechaun and during the research, came upon this site. I now have a new tradition that I will add to my St. Patrick holiday. My birthday is close to St. Pat’s Day and I have always called it my special holiday and now with all of these wonderful ideas, I will share the fun and joy even more. Thanks everyone for telling others of your Leprechaun adventures. And, I will pass this site onto my oldest daughter as she begins her adventure as a 1st grade teacher. I think she’ll love it.

    June 3, 2006 at 8:41 pm
  • Cathi Lucy Reply

    For the last few years, I have read a story about a very clever leprechaun and the tricks he played on people and animals. At the end of the story, I have a “letter” that falls out of the book and it is from the crafty leprechaun himself! It tells us that he has left some magic for the class to discover and to add some milk to the white powder that is in the jar right next to the teacher’s chair (pistachio pudding mix – instant of course!). We add the white milk to the white powder and PRESTO – it turns green right before their eyes. They love the magic and some even find out they like pistachio pudding!

    March 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm
  • Shirl Reply

    My students enjoy building their own individual leprechaun traps. I have the students build a cube using flexible straws as a fun extension activity for our geometry unit. To entice the leprechaun, students color a styrofoam cup green and black to resemble a hat for the leprechaun. The day before our celebration, students put their trap with the hat on their desk before they leave school. I collect the cups after they have left for the day and take them home. I put them in the oven, which causes the hats to shrink to the perfect size for the tiny leprechaun! My students are amazed and of course believe that the leprechauns visited our classroom and left them the tiny hat and a few gold covered chocolate coins. Since their signature is on the hat too and it is now reduced to a tiny size on the hat makes it even more convincing that it was leprechaun magic. I was wondering if you could give me a scientific explanation of what happens to the styrofoam when it is heated to make it shrink to a perfect duplicate of the orignal?

    March 4, 2009 at 6:54 pm
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  • Lisa Reply

    I have so enjoyed you and your love of science.
    I have used MANY of your ideas over the years with my own children as well as the children I teach.
    Thank you for sharing your love of science. You have made many children wonder and smile.

    March 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm
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  • kevin Reply

    Im fasinated with evrything you do i even have insta snow from your website rite now mostly i buy things here theres stuff thats so much fun what els is new

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  • Gemma Reply

    Aww this is the cutest thing i have read in a long time its such a shame to lose our imagination i always loved mine and managed to keep mine going for a while longer then maybe most but i myself have noticed how much its gine now. I really miss the excitment that you talked about anyway thanks for this post brings back some nice memories.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm
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