Cinco de Mayo is a festive day here in the United States. Presumed to be Mexican Independence Day, the 5th of May (or el cinco de Mayo) marks the day of a small victory beginning the nation’s journey towards autonomy. From pinatas to the beloved food culture and mariachi music, celebrating this holiday with your little ones is a great way to set the foundation of cultural appreciation. (It also teaches them that Cinco de Mayo is so much more than a tequila sponsored event!)
Learn about Latino History
One of my favorite books to reference when teaching my children about Latino history is A Kid’s Guide to Latino History. Broken up by countries, this book serves as a starting point to celebrating the various cultures in the Latino experience and is filled with crafts, recipes and stories.
Also, bilingual Spanish children’s books would also set the tone (or language!) for a culturally accurate Cinco de Mayo celebration with kids. Challenge your little ones to learn a few more phrases than what they’ve learned from Dora!
Make Cinco de Mayo Crafts
My kids learn best when their hands are busy. Celebrate the beauty of Mexican culture with a simple cultural craft. This simple Faux Papel Picado craft is perfect for small hands and culturally relevant. Papel picado is Mexican folk art, typically made out of tissue paper and into a banner as home and party decor. Make simple maracas and listen to mariachi music. Feeling inspired? Make an old fashioned piñata filled with candies and small toys to strike open during Cinco de Mayo.
Cooking with Kids on Cinco de Mayo
Depending on how adventurous your little ones are, use Cinco de Mayo as an opportunity to introduce new foods to your kids. Mexican food culture is a spicy one, so fire up your taste buds and learn about the various chili peppers used in Mexican cuisine.
Experiment with Mexican sauces, like mole or chili verde. Indulge in Tres Leches cake, a traditional Mexican dessert. Drink horchata and eat new cheeses. Mexican food traditions are incredibly rich and bringing your kids into the kitchen to celebrate Cinco de Mayo is a natural way of honoring the culture.
While the American perspective of Cinco de Mayo might be a bit misplaced in relation to Mexican history, it’s still a valuable day to cherish and learn about a culture important to many Americans.