Family-friendly is not necessarily the first thought that comes to mind when I think about Mardi Gras celebrations. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras — or Fat Tuesday — is the celebration to top all celebrations. And it's usually a party of extreme excess — lots of music, food, and downright raunchy behavior.  


But Mardi Gras can be a fun party for all ages, and there's no reason to leave kids out of the festivities. Here are some great ways to get kids involved in the fun today:


Food. So many great recipes come to mind when it comes to Mardi Gras food: red beans and rice, shrimp etouffee, beignets, bread pudding, and of course King Cake. Fortunately, MNN's Food blogger, Robin Shreeves has them all covered in her post on Mardi Gras recipes. And she even has a post on the history of the Mardi Gras King Cake with a video that kids are sure to enjoy.


Fun. Mardi Gras is all about beads and sequins, so you know they are plenty of great crafts to accompany the day, like this tragedy and comedy garland, these Mardi Gras masks or jester hats, or this jester on a stick. Bring on the bling!


Festivities. Hosting a Mardi Gras party? Get kids involved in the fun with games that include 'Pass The Baby' (think 'Hot Potato'), Doubloon Toss, a costume contest, face painting, or even a pinata. If you have lots of kids, let them each decorate a shoe box as their favorite float using fabric, paper, beads, tin foil, feathers, and anything else they can think of. When they've all finished, they can parade their floats throughout the party to show off to all of the guests.


How will you and your family celebrate Mardi Gras this year?

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