From early to late spring, many countries -- including Brazil -- celebrate a pre-Lent festival known as Carnival. It's a boisterous event filled with merry-making fun and frolicking in the streets with parades and parties. Brazilians are also famous for their samba dancing. Why not get your kiddo crafting to set up a Carnival celebration in your home? And don’t forget about the samba -- it may just be the answer to work off your little one’s extra energy!
1. Create a Costume
Look into the far reaches of your closet for long scarves, glittery fabric, old hats, colorful vests and blouses, feather boas and dangly faux jewelry. Invite your child to try on some pieces of clothing to create a festive costume for your mini-Carnival at home. Along with a mask or non-toxic face paint, your little partier will be ready to put on a show or parade down the street.
2. Masked Merriment
Wearing a mask is part of the Carnival celebration. Masks add color and glitz to your child’s costume, but they're also safe because the eyes are uncovered for visibility. Draw a simple face mask from poster board in neon colors. Cut out large eye holes. Let your youngster decorate this mask using colorful markers to create unique designs. He can also glue on colorful craft feathers and flat sequins. Staple on a strip of elastic on each side to keep the mask in place on the face.
3. Make Some Party Shakers
With parades and parties comes noise -- the fun kind. Let your preschooler make homemade shakers from a clean aluminum soda can. Fill it with small pebbles, dried rice or beans and tape the opening shut securely. Cover the can with colorful paper and decorate it with drawings or stickers. Supervise this activity at all times. An empty cardboard toilet tube makes for a fine streamer shaker. Decorate the tube in colorful designs and attach lengths of curling ribbon all around one end. Get your little one in the groove by shaking these party props to festive music during your Carnival celebration.
4. Party Floats
Whether your celebration is just you and your child, or with a few of the neighborhood friends, decorate bicycles, tricycles and wagons to use in a parade route around the block. Tape on crepe paper streamers and stick on bows to adorn the vehicles. Floats can also become an art project indoors. Gather boxes in different sizes and shapes and let the kids glue them together to make a float form. Use art paper or fabric to cover the boxes. Add silk flowers, shredded paper grass, small toy figurines, streamers and confetti to jazz up the floats. Your child can parade around the house holding his float or just set it aside as a display during your Carnival celebration at home.
- Holiday Hoopla: Multicultural Celebrations; Kathy Darling
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