Kid's Activity: Mardi Gras!

by Melissa Jaramillo and Julie Snyder

The very words sound fun! "Mardi Gras" literally means "Fat Tuesday." The festival or "carnival" atmosphere has increased in popularity over the years. There are several theories on the actual roots of Mardi Gras. One suggests that it was observed by pre-Christians as a celebration of the coming spring. Another suggestion was that it was to commemorate the days added to the lunar calendar to make it match the solar calendar. These were days "outside the norm" so the regular customs weren't followed!

As early as the 2nd century, Christians began observing a period of 40 days of fasting (often referred to as "Lent") prior to their celebration of Easter. Many families referred to this as "Upside-down" day, offering a huge meal of pancakes, sausages, and more for their "supper". This custom was meant to use up the remaining fats, dairy, and eggs before the fast began. The period immediately prior was designated as sort of a last hurrah, with feasts, parties, parades and great merrymaking!

The colors of Mardi Gras are most often green, gold, and purple. Each of these is a symbol: green for "faith," purple for "justice," and gold for "power." Regardless of personal beliefs, Mardi Gras fun can be had by all!

Parades and masquerade balls are often the centerpiece of Mardi Gras celebrations! Along with your child create your own masks below. Invite neighborhood kids over to do the same and then host your own parade! Have fun!

Mardi Gras Masks

Materials Needed:

  • Paper plates
  • Scissors
  • Paint stick
  • Suggested materials for decorating:
    • Crayons
    • Markers
    • Glitter
    • Craft feathers
    • Craft pompoms
    • Sequins

Directions:

Cut paper plate in half. Cut out holes for eyes. (Adults may need to do this for their child.) Next decorate using desired materials. The more flamboyant the better!

After your mask is dry, mount undecorated side onto paint stick and allow to dry again. You are now ready for your parade!

Variation: Create a full mask using the entire plate. You can still cut holes for eyes and then give your mask a character, perhaps as a court jester, sad or happy face, or more! Use your imagination!

Julie Snyder is a mom of six, interested in kids, pregnancy, birth, people and lives in the outlying Seattle area. Melissa Jaramillo is mom to many. She's passionate about building, encouraging, and strengthening families on this adventure known as parenthood!

Copyright © Melissa Jaramillo and Julie Snyder. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.