Mardi Gras is the colorful respite we all need from the cold, wintry blues. You may know it as Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent, when people indulge in large feasts and celebration.
If you are planning to travel to NOLA, read our tips on taking the family to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. For those of us staying local, there are plenty of ways to create that carnival magic at home.
Transform an otherwise average Tuesday into a festive party for the whole family!
The Toddler Party
Sensory bins are always a hit for this age, and Mardi Gras is the perfect theme! Dye rice in purple, green, and gold; throw in cups and scoops; and grab beaded necklaces and gold coins from your local dollar store. Feathers are a fun texture addition too.
>> RELATED READ :: 5 Sensory Bins to Keep Kids Happy <<
Feel free to sub the rice with the base layer of your choice: dry beans, kinetic colored sand, pom poms, etc. Research for other fun sensory bin examples.
The Preschool Parade
If you’ve been wanting to host a playdate, this is a perfect opportunity. Have everyone bring a box their kiddo can sit in. Let the kids decorate to their heart’s content. Then line the boxes up and let the kids scoot around or push each other.
I still have great memories of taking my daughter to a playdate where we did this. The kids all had so much fun, and we gave them beaded necklaces to wear and take home.
Elementary Mask Craft
Find a free printable mask and bust out a variety of markers, sequins, sticky jewels, glitter glue, stickers – basically ALL the craft favorites. Tie it on with ribbon or glue it to a popsicle stick to hold up like a photo prop. Commence goofy picture taking.
Let the Middles Eat Cake
Obviously, this is not age specific, but who doesn’t love cake? Pick up a king cake at your local market or bakery. Inside is a plastic baby! Tradition says that if you get the baby, you get to be king for the day!
Let the winner pick a game for the family to play or make a fun rule, like everyone has to talk in an accent the rest of the night. Traditionally, the winner is responsible for providing the cake the next year, but I suppose we can let the kids have a pass.
>> RELATED READ :: Family Game Night <<
All of this Mardi Gras talk probably has you craving beignets by now. A shorter drive than Café du Monde, PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans serves them in North Dallas. A new location is coming soon to Frisco, so stay on the lookout for that. Fingers crossed for a Mardi Gras grand opening!
Teenage Dinner and Mocktails
Let your high schooler invite some friends and make mocktails together. A non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri doesn’t require much but feels special and tastes delicious. Another easy mocktail is the Blue Hawaiian.
Foods like jambalaya and gumbo are great to feed a crowd. If you have someone who is not a fan of seafood, this red beans and rice dish is creamy deliciousness. Ask your teen to set the music but request that “Down in New Orleans” make the playlist.
Let the good times roll, or as they say in NOLA: Laissez les bons temps rouler! Try a classic drink like the Hurricane. If Bourbon Street is calling your name, or you’re craving a dessert liqueur, let this Drunken Grasshopper transport you.
Even if you don’t observe Lent or have never been down to New Orleans, this is a holiday for all.