Yesterday I did a little Caribbean Carnival intro as a theme for our home education co-op. It was a bit of a random time as Nottinghill Carnival had already been and St Paul’s Carnival was downsized to a celebration this year (and had already been). But hey ho.
Also, I’m not sure I really nailed it as a theme though we did have fun. Perhaps we could have done with a circle time or videos. Certainly, I’d have liked to have included some tropical fruit or Caribbean snacks. In future, a field trip to see a steel band or mas camp (where costumes are made) or working together on junk modeling a large costume could be effective.
At any rate, I thought I’d record what we got up to here as a reminder for next year and as a useful starting point for anyone introducing kids to a topic on the Caribbean or Carnival. Here are six ideas for introducing kids to Caribbean Carnival.
1. Play music from the region. We had calypso going in the background.
2. Put up a display wall with facts about the West Indies, maps and pictures of Carnival costumes.
3. Use blank masks for the kids to decorate
4. Kids can give lolly stick people costumes
4. Read and look at Caribbean picture books (take a look at our list of Caribbean picture books for young children), travel books & a kids’ atlas
I do think West Indian Carnival is worth exploring with kids regardless of background. The history of colonialism and slavery is bound up in it (something to explore with older ones, especially) and it’s a great visual way learning about the region. Kids of all ages can benefit from the play opportunities involved in looking at, creating, trying on and dancing in different identities.