Carnival, or Carnaval as it is known in Brazil, is a holiday that occurs about six weeks before Easter. The festive holiday lasts for six days and includes large-scale parades and parties. You and your kids can enjoy this vibrant festival anywhere in the world, even if your city does not host its own parade. Get creative by crafting traditional Brazilian Carnaval gear and dance along to the music.
Vibrant masks are one of the primary features of Brazilian carnivals. Your kids can get into the Carnaval spirit and be a part of the parade by wearing their own hand-crafted masks. The craft site Au Pair Buzz recommends making animal and unusual face masks. You can also make masquerade masks that only cover the eyes. Draw or print out the mask onto a piece of card stock or poster board. Paint or color the masks with bright colors and dramatic patterns. Add feathers and glitter for the full carnival effect. Knot an elastic string or rubber band to both sides to keep it on his head. Ensure that the eye holes are properly cut out so your child's vision isn't obstructed. If you are making a full-face mask, also cut out mouth and nose holes so breathing is not hindered and your child doesn't get too hot behind his mask.
Like the dramatic masks, brightly colored statement jewelry is also a part of Carnaval attire. The Enchanted Learning website recommends this craft for your kids to make and wear. Your kids can use large, brightly colored beads to make long necklaces and bracelets or get more creative and use macaroni. Paint the uncooked macaroni with bright colors such as purple and yellow and thread them onto a piece of string or yarn. Tie two knots at either end and your kids can wear their Brazilian carnival jewelry with pride. Make matching bracelets with shorter pieces of string. Remember, Carnaval jewelry is for both boys and girls.
Noisemakers and music shakers add to the lively festive atmosphere at Carnaval. The website Respect Diversity notes that these music-makers are a fun craft project that you and your kids can make with items you probably already have around the house. Use empty water bottles to make the outside of these instruments. Paint them with traditional Brazilian carnival colors such as purple, yellow and green and decorate them with glued on sequins and paper streamers. Next, pour 10 to 15 plastic beads or uncooked, dried macaroni into each bottle. Cap the bottles tightly and turn them upside down. Your kids will enjoy using their carnival shakers in time to the music and dancing at the parade and even while watching it on TV at home.
Respect Diversity recommends making a Carnaval marching drum for your kids to keep the rhythm as they watch the parade live or on TV. This craft uses many recycled items you can find in your kitchen. Use an empty coffee can or any other container with a plastic lid to make the base of the drum. Your kids can paint and decorate the outside of the can with glitter, stickers, beads and paper-streamers. Poke a hole on either side of the can and thread a ribbon through it so your child can wear the drum across his body and keep both of his hands free. Glue the lid onto the can so it doesn't come off with all the banging. Ensure that your child doesn't wear the ribbon around his neck to prevent accidental choking.