I was 20 years old when I fell in love with…Mexico.
I spent my sophomore year in college studying at a university in Puebla, Mexico. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s known for its culinary history, Spanish colonial architecture and pottery.
It’s also the place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (May 5), including a month long festival, corrida de toros (bullfighting), and a huge military parade.
Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture.
I’m continuing my love affair with Mexico by celebrating Cinco de Mayo with my kids. Here are 4 ideas to help you celebrate the holiday with your kids.
Teach your kids about Mexican history and culture this Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory over the invading French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (not Mexico’s independence from Spain, which is celebrated on September 16).
Fun facts about Mexico
Here are some other fun facts about Mexico to share with your kids.
- Mexico’s official name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos or the United Mexican States. Just like our country, Mexico is divided into states, 31 to be exact.
- Mexico introduced the world to chocolate. The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the seeds were used as a form of currency.
- Kids in Mexico get their Christmas gifts on January 6 (Día de Los Reyes or 3 Kings Day).
- Mexico is located in the Ring of Fire, an area of the world with the most violent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Mexico has 452 volcanoes.
Read a few good books
I love to get my kids excited about an upcoming holiday by reading special holiday books in the days leading up to it. Here are a few of our favorite books about Mexico:
- Lucía the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza. A little girl discovers that she can be a superhero when she learns she comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition.
- Who was Frida Kahlo? by Sarah Fabiny. Her paintings are easy to recognize; she’s in almost all of them with her black braided hair and colorful Mexican outfits. An invalid most of her life, her work continues to inspire pop culture throughout the world.
- The Princess and the Warrior (a Tale of Two Volcanoes) by Duncan Tonatiuh. An imaginative retelling of a Mexican legend.
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican feast
Thankfully for moms of picky eaters, Mexican food is very kid-friendly, especially if you tone down the spice.
Make it quick and easy with a make-your-own taco bar (tortillas, meat, cheese, and toppings). You could even try this easy recipe for Carne Asada. For a special treat, visit your local Mexican grocery store or panadería (bakery) for pan dulce (Mexican pastries).
It’s not a kids party without a few cool crafts. Here are some easy Cinco de Mayo crafts you can make using items you already have in the house.
- Got leftover plastic Easter eggs and plastic spoons? Use them to make simple maracas in this easy-to-follow plan from Made Everyday.
- Is there anything more fun than a piñata? Your kids can make their own following this easy step-by-step guide from PBS.
- Mexican paper flowers are easy and fun to make using this guide from Kids Activities Blog.
Do you have any fun ideas for celebrating Cinco de Mayo with kids? Be sure to leave a comment.