Based in San Francisco, iteachkids.org is an early childhood education blog by Tiva Lee Samaru. HER posts explore; through videos and other resources - original early childhood education curricula and ideas for enrichment classes, as well as, tips and tricks for classroom management and general childcare.

Playing mas

Playing mas

"I remember that feeling of excitement when Carnival costume workshops opened their doors for viewing of next season's costumes," Tiva exclaimed.

The "mas camp", as it was commonly called, was the place where you would go to view the costumes and put down a down-payment on the costume of your choice. For obvious reasons, it was a place that was always buzzing with excitement. Nowadays you can do that in advance by simply attending a band launch or visiting an associated website to browse through the costume selections at your disposal. The option of visiting the mas camp is still available, but if your busy life or distance prevents you from doing either, then at least you know modern day advancements are on your side!

Sometime after that selection phase and usually the week of the main event, the chance to collect your costume and take it home is presented. Upon taking it home you should make sure everything fits, figure out which shoes you will wear and maybe even accessories, hair and makeup options; particularly for the adults.

Costumes are usually brightly colored and adorned with beads, feathers, glitter and all sorts of other eye-catching details. Worn on Carnival Saturday and Sunday (for children) and Carnival Monday and Tuesday (for adults), these costume wearers are referred to as masqueraders and the actual event participation is called "playing mas". The most widely anticipated part about playing mas is being able to wear your beautiful costume and who wouldn't want that! On the contrary, the sad part about it all is you only have two days to wear them and parade them through the streets of the cities, towns, and boroughs that make up the small islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Nonetheless, every masquerader loves to get dressed up and look their best and that includes children as well.

With colors on our mind, we knew a color song about masqueraders would be the perfect story time activity and would easily fall in line with our carnival theme. 

The following activity is a descriptive, color-focused song using the three popsicle stick masqueraders from our most recent arts & crafts with Tiva project. The focus of this activity is to teach children about colors through cultural customs expressed in the song.

How did it go?

First of all, everyone thought the masqueraders were so cute and as a result, they were eager to see what the activity had to offer. Well loved by students of all ages, this activity had everyone jumping, clapping and singing along. Most importantly, our students were shouting out the colors and at times even spelling them out loud! Surprised by this overwhelming outcome, this one quickly shot to the top of our "most successful activities" list. It is also one we have continued to use outside of our Carnival theme.

One suggestion to make it longer would be to add more colors and obviously make more popsicle stick masqueraders to match your newly selected colors. 


Take a look!

So, if you are trying to find different ways to teach your students their colors, then we got you! Check out our video and you will see and hear everything you need to know. Also, check out our arts & crafts video (see link above) to learn how to make the masqueraders!

Color Me This, Color Me That,

Tiva & Randa

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