Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Art/Music/Movement.


  • paper plates
  • art materials (paint, feathers, and so on)
  • glue
  • craft sticks or elastic thread
  • yarn
  • recorded music (jazz, zydeco, and so on)
  • ingredients to make gumbo

Objective: Children will engage in a variety of activities to learn about Mardi Gras (MAR-dee-grah).

In Advance: On a map of the United States, point out New Orleans, Louisiana, and tell children about the special carnival that is celebrated each year called Mardi Gras. The name means "Fat Tuesday." People wear costumes and beads and celebrate with a big parade, special parties, and even a ball. Children may be accustomed to carnival traditions if they have family from Trinidad, Brazil, Italy, or New Orleans. Ask them to share their knowledge of carnival celebrations.


Mardi Gras Masks. Explain that Mardi Gras masks are very fancy. Cut paper- plates in half. Measure the eye area on each child's mask and cut out eyeholes. Give children brightly colored paints to paint their masks. Children can decorate their masks with feathers, sequins, and fabric trimming. Glue a craft stick to one side of the mask or attach elastic thread to each side of the mask.

Carnival Beads. Children can make carnival beads from salt clay or self-drying pottery clay. Provide them a small amount of clay and invite children to roll small pieces of clay into different shapes. Provide them with straws, toothpicks, and pencils to make holes in their beads. Place the finished beads on a tray to dry. Children can use tempera paint to decorate their beads. Give them yarn to string their beads.

Veggie Gumbo! Cook this traditional Cajun dish: Ingredients: 8 cups of water, 2 vegetable bullion cubes, 2 tomatoes diced, 1/2 cup corn, 1 stalk of celery diced, 1 carrot diced, 1/2 cup okra, 1 onion diced (optional), 1/2 cup converted rice.

Directions: Place all of the ingredients in a large pot, bring to a bod, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remember: Never let children near boiling water.

From Blues to Zydeco! Collect recorded music that features the different styles of music made famous in Louisiana like zydeco, jazz, and blues. Children can create dances and drawings or paintings while listening to music.

Curriculum Connection

Family Involvement: Mardi Gras Family Ball. Invite families to a class Mardi Gras Ball. Children can make invitations and gumbo for the celebration. Parents can help their children make Mardi Gras crafts. Play zydeco music and invite all to parade around the classroom.