Mardi Gras 2014 has come and gone. Most of us spent the day indoors thanks to unwanted cold and rain that followed a most beautiful, ideal weather weekend. I must admit, the weather had me upset. I imagine that when I have a child, the little guy will be coming out with a mask and beads around his neck and probably a hankering for some crawfish. That’s how much I LOVE Mardi Gras. So this was going to be my step-daughter’s first real Mardi Gras. I was really excited to spend it with her screaming “Throw Me Somethin’!” at the top of our lungs and seeing her little face light up when she caught the good stuff (according to her, Moon pies or gummy bears). When I first came into my step-daughter’s life, she was just turning two and had never been to any sort of parade. Needless to say, we introduced her to parades with the Irish Italian last year, but this time, Mardi Gras was upon us and I had to show her what that was all about.
The weeks leading up to Mardi Gras day were so much fun for her. We turned our Christmas tree into a Mardi Gras tree and let her put beads all over it, we took her to parades, and she quickly fell in love with the bands and dance teams in between floats. Since then, she is constantly asking when we could go to
the next “Hoorade”. I saw the little love of Mardi Gras light up inside her like when I was a child, and it was fantastic.
And then Mardi Gras Day came, with cold air, wind and rain; lots and lots and lots of rain. The first thing she said that morning was “Can we go to the Hoorades?” and I felt so sad that I couldn’t help her experience Mardi Gras Day, all because of some crummy weather. We could have let the day be a total flop, but, being a teacher, I had a few crafts up my sleeve and Mardi Gras was saved in its own special way. The best part is, each craft we did can be done any time of year, with a simple switch of colors!
Donut King Cakes are such a fun way for the little ones to get involved and kick off Mardi Gras! The great part about this, is it can also be done to make their own personal birthday cake or really, a little treat for any holiday. The great people at Rouses’s will give you king cake icing and sprinkles with an order of plain donuts if you tell them it is for a King Cake craft. We gave her a spoon of icing for her to smear onto the donut and then she sprinkled the toppings on! It actually turned into a couple spoons of icing because she kept eating it right off of the spoon, but hey, it’s Mardi Gras, a girl can party! Kids absolutely
love cooking and making treats and this was a very fun way for her to do that. She made little king cakes for breakfast and served them to her Dad and I, although ours happened to have missing icing!
After the sugar high started to wear off from breakfast, we did a good bit of art in the afternoon. We all love structured art that looks pretty on our fridge, but free art is a great way for kids to explore their own creativity! I like to get sneaky and hide some learning into our art time. I cut out different shapes in
purple, green and yellow and she practiced pointing out the shapes, their colors and counting how many of each shape we had. The best way to have a child learn is to make it fun, and this is one of the best ways I have found to teach and play simultaneously.
We also did some bubble wrap art which was a TON of fun for her! We just tore a bit of bubble wrap and gave her some mardi gras colors and let her paint away. Once the bubble wrap was covered we flipped it over onto some paper and she got jump on it to finish the art. Every kid loves bubble wrap and gets a kick out of that pop, so this was probably extra fun because it was noisy. Be aware, this craft can be messy if there is a lot of paint. She ended up splattering paint onto the sides of her feet and leaving little footprints around the living room.
Although this wasn’t the Mardi Gras Celebration we had been looking forward to, we all still really enjoyed our day together and made some lasting memories. Although the weather literally rained on our parade this year, we wouldn’t have changed it for anything.