Cinco de Mayo Party Games

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Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexican heritage through a variety of activities. A Mexican fiesta to mark the day allows everyone to experience aspects of the culture. Smashing a pinata typically comes to mind at the mention of Cinco de Mayo games, but additional games with a Mexican theme can make the party a festive celebration.

Mexican Jumping Beans

Mexican jumping beans are native to Mexico. This modified version of freeze dance incorporates movements of this Mexican phenomenon. As you play Mexican music, the participants jump around like jumping beans. Playing in a gym or other open area prevents the "jumping beans" from smashing into one another. After a minute or two, stop the music to signal that the children must freeze. Any child who moves after the music stops is out of that round. Continue starting and stopping the music until one player is left.

Mexican Hat Dance Relay

The Mexican hat dance, known in Mexico as Jarabe Tapatio, has strong cultural connections to the country. It sometimes is called the "national dance of Mexico." Add this cultural staple to a traditional relay race. Divide guests into two teams, with a hat at the opposite end of the field for each team. One player from each team runs down to the hat and does the hat dance around it five times. For a simple dance, the player dances around the hat and kicks her feet as she circles the hat; this resembles the movement at the end of the Mexican dance when the man kicks his feet over the hat as the woman picks it up. The player then runs back to the starting line to tag the next person, who repeats the process. The first team to have each member complete the task is the winner.

Hot Sombrero

The word "sombrero" refers to any number of brimmed hats in the Mexican culture. Use a brimmed hat to play a modified version of Hot Potato. Players stand or sit in a circle with one player holding a sombrero. The music begins and the sombrero is passed around the group. Each player quickly puts the sombrero on his head before passing it to the next person. The person holding or wearing the sombrero when the music stops is out of the round. The sombrero passing continues until only one player remains.

Peso Toss

Arrange five sombreros in a row, placing them progressively farther from a starting line. Assign point values to each sombrero, with the closest hat having the lowest point value and the farthest hat having the highest point value. Any point values work as long as they get progressively higher. Each player receives three pesos to throw at the hats. Use quarters or other coins if pesos aren't available. Players toss pesos toward the hats, attempting to make them land on one of the hats. If the peso lands anywhere on a sombrero, the player earns the corresponding point value assigned to that hat. If it lands on the floor, he doesn't earn any points. After he throws his three pesos, he adds the points earned to calculate his score for the game. The person with the highest total is the winner. If there is a tie at the end of the game, the two players complete one more round to determine the winner.

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