Between the fantastic food, music and festive atmosphere, Mardi Gras is an exciting theme for your child's birthday. When the kids are not eating or having their own zydeco parade, keep them entertained with games that fit the festive Mardis Gras theme.
Mardi Gras-Themed Children's Games
Play classic children's games with a Mardi Gras twist, such as musical chairs. Set up chairs in a tight circle, with the seats facing outward. You should have one less chair than you have children participating. Place a Mardi Gras mask underneath each chair. Play New Orleans zydeco music. When the music starts, the kids must walk around the chairs. When the music stops, they must quickly find a seat and put the masks to their faces. The child who doesn't have a seat is out. Take away another chair for the next round. The game continues in the same manner until only two kids are battling over one chair. For a version of "Simon Says," have the kids play "Mardi Gras King or Queen Says." The leader might say, "Mardi Gras queen says march in place," and the kids must follow. However, if the leader gives a command and doesn't say "Mardi Gras queen says," the kids are not to follow the command. Anyone who does is out.
Scavenger Hunt Games
Scatter Mardi Gras bead necklaces all over the party area for the kids to find and put around their necks. The person with the most beads wins. Hide a special Mardi Gras necklace, such as one with feathers attached or that lights up. The child who finds that necklaces gets to keep it and also earns a special prize. You can also have a scavenger hunt with chocolate gold coins. Hide small, toy treasure boxes filled with the chocolate coins in various places. Label each box with a number and mark each coin with that number as well. Give the kids a list of clues as to the location of each box. Put the children in pairs to figure the clues to find the chocolate coins. The winners are the first children to bring back one chocolate coin from each treasure box in order.
Encourage the parents to bring their children dressed to the party in their best or most creative Mardi Gras gear. The outfits can be anything with the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. For example, a girl might don a fancy ball gown or another child may opt for a jester's costume. Give the kids secret ballots to vote for the best costume. They cannot vote for themselves. For a mask contest, give each child an undecorated paper Mardi Gras mask. The children must decorate their masks using any art and craft items you have on hand such as glitter, paint, feathers and stickers. Each child will get to stand up and present her mask to the group. The children then vote -- by secret ballot -- for their favorite mask.
Make or order a traditional New Orleans king cake, which has a tiny baby figurine hidden inside. Slice the king cake, which is similar to a pastry in a ring shape, and give each child a piece. Tell the kids that somebody has the baby king hidden in their slice. They are to use their hands to tear apart their slice to find the baby. Ensure that no one eats the cake until the baby is found to prevent the chance of any child choking on it. The child who finds the baby in her slice gets a special prize. For another game, divide the children into three teams. Fill a large wading pool with purple, green and gold balloons to represent the Mardi Gras colors. Assign one color to each team. The teams must send one person at a time to the wading pool to grab as many balloons -- in the team color -- as they can carry back to their team in a designated area. The team to retrieve all of their balloons wins.