Carnival and Mardi Gras activities

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In carnival time, I usually talk to my students about  famous carnivals in the english speaking world! My most favourite one is Mardi Gras!

First, I explain to students what Mardi Gras is and why people celebrate it.
I discuss traditions, festivities and vocabulary associated with Mardi Gras.
I explain the colors of Mardi Gras and what they stand for. In 1892, the Krewe of Rex carried out a Mardi Gras parade whose theme was “Symbolism of Colors.” Green, gold and purple were used. Rex interpreted purple as being symbolic of justice. Green represented faith and gold symbolized power.

Today’s Mardi Gras colors are everywhere: on banners, costumes, masks, beads and colored sugar on king cakes.

Some more things I tell them , can be found below…..

What is Mardi Gras?

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Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, and even Pancake Day,  in the UK, is an annual festival falling just before Lent. It traditionally marks the last opportunity for fun and feasting before 40 days of “self-denial”. Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French.

Festivities begin at the beginning of February, leading up to Mardi Gras day, and consist of parades, dancing in the street, costumes and masked balls. The modern Carnival tradition developed in Europe in the Middle ages, and is celebrated mainly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe and the Americas today. Some of the most famous celebrations are held in Nice (France), Cologne (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Orleans (USA)

When is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras will be  celebrated on 4th March 2014.

Later, I either play games or ask them to make some items, following the instructions below and bring them to our school carnival party! This year, I have asked them to make:

Mardi Gras Cup Shakers

These Mardi Gras cup shakers are fun to make and produce a satisfyingly loud noise for our  Carnival party at school
mosaic mardi gras fancy cost competition
You will need:2 polystyrene cups
Green and purple paint
Dried beans or rice
Gold star stickers
Sticky tapeInstructions:Paint one cup purple and one green.Leave to dry and then decorate with stickers.Fill one cup about 1/3 full of rice or bean. Turn the other cup upside down and tape securely together.

Shake and enjoy!

Mardi Gras  bottle Shakers

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To make these Mardi Gras shakers you will need to raid the junk cupboard for supplies. Kids can use them in a very noisy Mardi Gras school  party!You will need:>Small empty plastic water bottles, with lids
Purple and green acrylic paints
Glitter, ribbon, sequins and/or beads in Mardi Gras colours
Dried beans, lentils or similarInstructions:Using the acrylic paints, decorate the outside of the plastic water bottles in whatever design you choose.When the paint is dry, decorate your “shaker” further using glitter, ribbons, sequins or beads. Let the children really go for it!Drop a small number of beans into the bottle (make sure the inside is completely dry first!) and close the lid firmly. Now, shake, rattle and roll!

Mardi Gras Necklace

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This Mardi Gras necklace is fun to make for all ages, but especially younger kids. Depending on how patient your kids are, you might want to prepare the “beads” in advance!You will need:An assortment of pasta shapes, with holes, which can be “strung” like beads.
Purple and green poster or acrylic paints
Gold acrylic or spray paint.
Shoelaces, yarn or string.
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A shaker and necklaces!

Instructions:Sort the pasta into three roughly equal groups and paint each group with one of the traditional Mardi Gras colours. If you have very young kids involved, expect them to get very messy but have a great time!For the gold “beads” it is easiest to use a gold spray paint. Either delegate this to an older child (supervised) or do it yourself, using plenty of newspaper, and in a well-ventilated room or outdoors. Spray one side of the pasta, wait for it to dry, then spray the other side.When the pasta is dry you can assemble your necklaces. Tape one end of your string to the table to make it easier.Take the opportunity for some patterning practice, or try counting the different coloured beads.

Please make sure that the pasta is completely dry before you let the kids put their necklaces on!

Mardi Gras Jester Hat

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Kids will have fun making and wearing this fun, floppy Mardi Gras jester hat!

You will need:Gold card (about 3 inches / 5 cm wide and long enough to go around your head plus some scraps)
Purple and green paper
Glue
Sticky tape
Stapler (optional)Instructions:Cut 3 ‘arches’ of each colour from the paper.Lay your gold card in front of you, face down. Arrange your arches so they stick over the top of the card. Tape into place along the back of the card.Turn your headband over. Roll up each arch and then allow to open again, so that they curve down.Cut 6 circles from the scraps of gold card and glue these to the ends of the ‘arches’.Bend your crown around so it fits your head and staple or tape to secure.

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This is a great National Geographic Video , about Mardi Gras in New Orleans -to watch with your older students.

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/kids/history-kids/mardi-gras-kids/

ENJOY!

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3 thoughts on “Carnival and Mardi Gras activities

  1. Pingback: Carnevale/Mardi Gras | jovinacooksitalian

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