Cinco de Mayo For Kids: Discover Mexico’s Magical Culture

Karen Patten

If you know Cinco de Mayo as a time of tequilla and tacos, you are missing out on so much that the Mexican culture has to offer! Celebrating Cinco de Mayo for kids means sharing and learning about authentic Mexican traditions and culture.

After I figured out our family’s reasons to homeschool, it became clear that I wanted to raise empathetic adults as well as world citizens. We would want to include travel as part of our learning process as well as exploring and discovering different cultures.

One way to define “culture” is the “arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievements.” Cinco de Mayo is a fun time for learning about some authentic Mexican culture.

Cinco de Mayo is a fun time for learning a bit of authentic Mexican culture. Kids will have a wonderful time with any or all of the fun activities, projects, and ideas collected here to teach them about the authentic art, history, food, crafts, and games of a traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mexico. I used these ideas as a homeschool unit study about Mexican culture and both of my boys loved it! #Mexcianculture #cincodemayo #unitstudy

Part of exploring other cultures includes sharing activities and projects that teach kids about our human commonalities. Art, history, food, crafts, and games are all elements that humanity shares.

So after gathering these resources, I wanted to share them with you!

Regardless of whether you use some or all of these ideas in your homeschool, in preparation for an upcoming trip, or just to broaden your child’s horizons – I hope that you enjoy them as much as we have!

History of Cinco de Mayo

The fifth of May – Cinco de Mayo — is a relatively small celebration in Mexico. Americans often confuse the celebration with Mexican Independence Day – which it is not.

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). (Be honest: did you really even know that Mexico fought in a war against France? Yea. Me neither.)

Many Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals all across Mexico and the United States.

American Celebration of Cinco de Mayo for Kids (at least kid friendly)

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo has become a festive celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.

Cities like Orlando and Honolulu even have their own city-wide block parties to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Next, for kids and adults alike, I say you definitely need guacamole at your Cinco de Mayo celebration. You can use the recipe below to get the kids involved in the kitchen.

Related Post You May Also Like: The Most Luscious, Time Tested & Easy Guacamole Ever!

Cinco de Mayo is a fun time for learning a bit of authentic Mexican culture. Kids will have a wonderful time with any or all of the fun activities, projects, and ideas collected here to teach them about the authentic art, history, food, crafts, and games of a traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mexico. I used these ideas as a homeschool unit study about Mexican culture and both of my boys loved it! #Mexcianculture #cincodemayo #unitstudy

Books About Cinco de Mayo

You can’t find a better way to start learning about specific holidays or the culture of another country than with a book!

Reading aloud is so important in our family. In the winter, we love curling up on the sofa in front of a fire with hot chocolate and reading books to one another. In the spring we may picnic in the backyard with scones and stories. What’s important is that we are spending time with one another and we are learning through the sharing of stories.


Related Post You May Also Like: Books About Mexican Culture for Kids

Authentic Mexican Games

I’m a huge fan of family game nights. So if your family enjoys games – or even if you haven’t held a game night – here are two legit Mexican games that are sure to grab and hold everyone’s attention.


Lotería is a traditional game of chance, similar to bingo, but using images on a deck of cards instead of plain numbers on ping pong balls. Every image has a name and an assigned number, but the number is usually ignored. Each player has at least one tabla, a board with a randomly created 4 x 4 grid of pictures with their corresponding name and number.

Toma todo can be played with two or more players. Each player gets about  ten tokens. You can use anything – beans, small pieces of candy, pennies, bingo chips – you name it! To start, each player adds a token into the center of the table. Each player takes a turn spinning the top and follows the instructions on the side that faces up when the top falls.

Traditional instructions for Toma Todo have the players either take one, two or three tokens from the pile or add one, two, or three tokens into the pile. 

Playing toma todo can also be a fun learning experience for some quick and easy phrases in Spanish:
Te toca a ti. – It’s your turn.
Me toca a mí.- It’s my turn.
¡Qué bien! – Great!
¡Ay, no! – Oh, no!

Cinco de Mayo is a fun time for learning a bit of authentic Mexican culture. Kids will have a wonderful time with any or all of the fun activities, projects, and ideas collected here to teach them about the authentic art, history, food, crafts, and games of a traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mexico. I used these ideas as a homeschool unit study about Mexican culture and both of my boys loved it! #Mexcianculture #cincodemayo #unitstudy

Introducing Mexican Culture Through Music

Mexico is quite a diverse country – both geographically and culturally. So it should come as no surprise that there are many styles of music. (Mexican music)

By far, the most popular genre of traditional Mexican music is the Mariachi. The word comes from the French word meaning ‘marriage.’ It’s frequently played at weddings, quinceaneras, Mother’s Day, and other special occasions.

Other than the Mariachi, the Ranchera genre of music focuses on the traditional folklore.

The third most common traditional Mexican music is the Norteño which highlights the music which has an influence of, get this…polka.

Here are a couple of good collections to listen to and enjoy!


Mexican Folk Art Traditions & Activities

There are many famous Mexican artists – among the most famous are Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo, and many others.

If you want to dig deeper, my friend Cindy is an amazing art appreciation teacher and she has dozens of lesson plans to help deepen your knowledge and understanding of Mexican art

One of the least known, most versatile, and most beautiful expressions of Mexican folk art is hojalata (tin art work), also known in some parts of Mexico as, lamina  or lata. Since the 1500’s, this humble metal has been made more pleasing by being shaped, stamped, punched, painted and cut into a wide variety of decorative and functional artwork.

These days, Mexican artisans use natural, oxidized and brightly lacquered paints to create ornaments, mirrors, lanterns and other decorative pieces.  (Mexican tin folk art)

It’s easier than you think to make your own version of Mexican tin folk art! Check out this terrific tutorial with ideas, instructions, and examples of a beautiful art project you could do with your kids!

And here’s a video of another, not quite as traditional, project:

Movies That Reflect Mexican Culture

Not only do I love a good family game night, but I love a good movie night! So pull up a bowl of popcorn, kick up your feet with your family, and enjoy a movie or two to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo for kids!

I love this list of ten movies that reflect Mexican culture. There are great family movies in here as well as adult oriented selections. So, be mindful that not all selections are kid-friendly.


Natural Features of Mexico

“Almost anywhere you go in Mexico you will encounter stunning landscapes, beautiful valleys and unique natural formations. The country’s sheer size means that dozens of different types of ecosystems and climates await curious adventurers. (Mexico’s natural wonders)

Cinco de Mayo is a fun time for learning a bit of authentic Mexican culture. Kids will have a wonderful time with any or all of the fun activities, projects, and ideas collected here to teach them about the authentic art, history, food, crafts, and games of a traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mexico. I used these ideas as a homeschool unit study about Mexican culture and both of my boys loved it! #Mexcianculture #cincodemayo #unitstudy

Food

One of the most fun ways to learn about another culture is to learn about the food that they eat. Traditional Mexican food has earned recognition by the UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage contribution to humanity.

Check out this resource for learning about Mexican food culture through the ages. And here’s s great site where you can find some authentic recipes specifically from the state of Puebla.


Subscription Boxes

Would you love for your child to learn another language, but you have no idea where to start? With an original storybook, accompanying audiobook, activity pack, flashcards and games One Third Story Boxes are the perfect introduction for little language learners. All stories start in English and end in Spanish, introducing vocabulary using the unique Clockwork Methodology™. (They are also available in French!)
 
Share the gift of binlingual reading with your kids! The Sol Book Box brings one beautifully illustrated hardcover book into your home each month. “Sol Book Box makes reading en español easy by bringing you a carefully curated Spanish or bilingual children’s book each month, sending you stories that celebrate bilingual/bicultural familias.”
 
If you’re looking for another option for bilingual children’s books, check out Booklandia. What I specifically love about Booklandia is that the service has subscriptions available for books from board books through young adult – something that’s wonderful if you have children across a larger age span. Their books are hand selected from Latin America, Spain and independent US publishers.
 
MexiCrate is perfect for gift giving or for bringing a taste of Mexico to your household! Each month you will get a hand selected and large variety of Mexican candies & snacks delivered right to your door. They maintain over 150 different candies and snacks in stock, so you’ll always get an amazing variety of authentic Mexican treats each month!
 
And if you want a fun combo box – check out Mexicandy & Swag! Every box will contain a super soft vintage-style t-shirt in your size that’s designed by a top Latino artist, plus about a half pound of the delicious Mexican candies everyone loves.

Further Resources For Exploring Mexican Traditions & Culture

http://www.mykidsadventures.com/cinco-de-mayo/

https://kidworldcitizen.org/cinco-de-mayo-activities-kids/

Don’t Forget To Pin This for Later!

Cinco de Mayo is a fun time for learning a bit of authentic Mexican culture. Kids will have a wonderful time with any or all of the fun activities, projects, and ideas collected here to teach them about the authentic art, history, food, crafts, and games of a traditional Cinco de Mayo celebration in Mexico. I used these ideas as a homeschool unit study about Mexican culture and both of my boys loved it! #Mexcianculture #cincodemayo #unitstudy

4 Comments

  1. Dac Crossley on May 19, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I didn’t know about that “lime essential oil.” I add finely-chopped fresh jalapenos to my guac.

    For the margarita – I squeeze half a lime into a shaker. Two jiggers anejo tequila, two jiggers Grand Mariner. Shake with ice – pour into glass.

    “Feliz como uno lombriz!



    • Karen Patten on May 20, 2015 at 2:28 am

      So great to see you here, Dac! Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be giving that margarita recipe a try!



  2. […] the right pick me up. If you and the girls are hanging our for a while, check out my recipe for an amazing margarita with lime essential […]



  3. […] the right pick me up. If you and the girls are hanging our for a while, check out my recipe for an amazing margarita with lime essential […]



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Hi, I’m Karen, the Atlanta mama, writer, and creator at Intentional Family Life. I’m a passionate advocate for intentional living so that you can experience all that you deserve for yourself and your family. Here, I inspire moms to chose what matters most and then to only do the things that move them closer to what matters most. Read More About Karen…

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