It’s the question that every Louisiana mom asks themselves the day after Mardi Gras, “What do I do with all these Mardi Gras beads (or throws)?” There are 2 things that usually happen:
- They get thrown away or
- They get sorted and stored in the attic waiting for the apocalypse.
There has to be another option.
Here are some options that can either feed your creativity or feed our community!
There are plenty of options that help to enrich our community in Acadiana and beyond.
Arc of Acadiana is a wonderful agency that supports individuals in our community who have developmental disabilities. They provide a drop off point for the beads and the individuals who go to Arc sort and package the beads for re-sale. This is the best of both worlds as far as I’m concerned – enriching our community and making sure those bead don’t end up in a landfill! You can drop them off at any Arc location plus there are bins in front of most Acadiana grocery stores. And, if you aren’t local, almost every area has an “Arc!”
St. Joseph’s Diner, a branch of Catholic Services of Acadiana, is a hugely important resource in Acadiana. They provide hot meals for individuals who are experiencing poverty, hunger and homelessness. They are in desperate need of plastic cups! Yep, you heard me, Mardi Gras cups! Tell the truth – every year you have a massive amount of these overflowing your kitchen, don’t you? I know I do! Well, here’s your solution – donate them to St. Joseph’s Diner! You can drop them off at the Diner (613 W. Simcoe St.), Monday-Friday 6:30am-10:30am and 3:00pm-5:00pm.
Get creative with it!
There are so many fun things you can do with these beads!
This probably goes without saying, but these are “jewelry.” It blows my mind when any Louisiana mom will buy “play jewelry” for dress up! You catch them for free every year! And, if I’m being honest, I catch at least 1-2 pieces that I can wear as actual jewelry.
Mardi Gras Mosaics
I cannot take credit for this idea. I spent the day at Lil Y’ats Art and Play the last time the toddler and I went to spend a few days with the family in New Orleans. This idea was genius! Cut the beads into 1-2 at a time (cut them, don’t twist them, that took forever). Get a paper plate, Elmer’s glue and go wild! My kiddo and my nieces loved it! They can make a design or just experiment with patterns! Super fun and a wonderful activity for a rainy day. I’ve even seen adults use the beads to make major art projects and hang them on the wall. Mother’s Day is coming and I think that Maw Maw, Grandma, or in our case Honey, Dee-Dee and Lolli, would love a hand made mosaic that is both a product of our culture and your child’s creativity.
Mardi Gras Wreaths
Don’t you dare go out and buy another Mardi Gras wreath next year. Head to craft store and get the base of a wreath and wrap it with beads! Bead are shiny, colorful and FREE!
For our littlest Mardi Gras kings and queens, take a water bottle or empty 2 liter. Fill it with all different colors of beads. Hot glue or gorilla glue the top shut and turn the bottle each way. Voila! A treat for the eyes and ears! Maybe even hide a king cake baby in there! It’s a little stress relief for me too – just turning it up and down and watching the colors really quiets my mind.
My sister and I always loved to “play Mardi Gras.” Keep some beads and throws on hand and encourage the kiddos to “play Mardi Gras” at least once a month. There is so much hate in the world, but Mardi Gras in Louisiana is the one time a year where everyone can be whoever they want and really let their inner party animal out without judgment (I hope we’re teaching everyone to do this more often). I think that if we can teach our kids to have a little Mardi Gras in them all the time, we’ll find that life over all is much more fun!