For several years, I worked at a daycare for medically fragile children. The kids were bussed in from all around the city to the daycare where they received nursing care and well as developmental therapies – physical, occupational and speech therapy. It was a clinical site for the speech therapy students at LSU, so we had lots of hands and hearts to love on those precious little ones. We were able to do holiday parties, water days, pet therapy, etc. It was a great place!
Mardi Gras was one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with them! We would get all the kids up in whatever kind of equipment they needed – wheel chairs, gait trainers, strollers, wagons…whatever worked! Each class would take a turn parading around the center to “Mardi Gras Mambo” visiting the other classrooms and passing out beads. Seeing those sweet smiles was magical and I will be forever grateful for those memories.
Leading up to the Mardi Gras parade, I would help the kids make Mardi Gras masks as part of their OT session. Decorating the mask is pretty open-ended and can be used for a variety of developmental levels. You can color it, paint it, use do-a-dot paint markers, snip paper to glue on it, glue feathers, sequins, glitter…the list goes on!
Here’s What We Used:
Mask Template (plain)
I linked several, free printable options available for download. I print them on card stock when possible. The template with small details would be great to work on using precise finger movement for fine motor control. I love the do-a-dot option from my friend, Lauren, at busybeespeech.com because it can be used several ways — the dots can be “targets” for do-a-dot markers (of course), but they can also be “targets” for coloring, stickers, torn pieces of paper, dots of liquid glue to place sequins, etc.
If you are local, Hobby Lobby sells pre-cut masks (pictured) that come with elastic attached so they can be worn around the head. (I’m not sure about Hobby Lobby stores outside of Louisiana!) Many of my friends prefer taping the mask to a craft stick rather than wearing it around their head.
Simply cut out the template and decorate it however you would like. My little one is all about the bling, so she had fun with the sequins. We added feathers to the top, then not so patiently waited for the glue to dry.
If you choose the popsicle stick option, simply tape it to the back of the mask after the glue is dry.
Have fun and Happy Mardi Gras!