Many of us recognize Cinco de Mayo as a day of colorful fiestas, parades with traditional dancing and mariachi bands, and, of course, delicious Mexican food. But there’s so much more to it. Learn more about Cinco de Mayo and the rich history and culture of our neighbors to the south with these 20 creative Cinco de Mayo activities you can incorporate into your core curriculum subjects, as well as art and music!
1. Get the straight story about Cinco de Mayo
Many people believe Cinco de Mayo is a national celebration of Mexican independence. But did you know that Cinco de Mayo is actually a state holiday commemorating an important military victory over the French in the Mexican state of Puebla? Learn all about the original Cinco de Mayo and how the holiday has evolved over time.
Learn more: Twinkl Teaching Resources
2. Read stories about Cinco de Mayo
From a mischievous mouse to a dear grandma and much more, these charming tales will spark your students’ interest in Mexican culture.
Learn more: Kirkus Reviews
3. Learn fun facts about Mexico
Watch this engaging video with your students and learn fun facts about Mexico’s geography, history, and culture. And for more, read A Kid’s Guide to Mexico by Jack L. Roberts and Michael Owens.
Learn more: Learn Bright
4. Make a Mexican flag
The Mexican flag is not only a representation of Mexico’s history but also its culture. Learn about what the red, white, and green stripes, along with the national coat of arms, on the Mexican flag represent.
Learn more: Paper and Glue
5. Learn how to introduce yourself in Spanish
Introduce your young students to the melodious language of Spanish with this fun video. And if you have Spanish speakers in your classroom, see if they’d like to do a mini lesson for their friends.
Learn more: Language Learners Español
6. Learn about famous people in Mexican history
From artists and leaders to military heroes, Mexico has a rich history of men and women who not only made an impact on their country but the whole world. And for more, read Courageous History Makers: 11 Women From Latin America Who Changed the World by Naibe Reynoso.
Learn more: ThoughtCo.
7. Learn about Mexico’s national holidays
There are only a handful of official national holidays in Mexico, but there are a great many regional celebrations, like Cinco de Mayo. Note that Mexican Independence Day is actually celebrated in September.
Learn more: ThoughtCo.
8. Discover one of Mexico’s treasured heritage sites
Chichén Itzá is an ancient Maya city ruin in the south-central Yucatán state in Mexico. Discover how the ancient pyramid was built and why, and learn what the region means to the country today.
Learn more: Manuel Bravo
9. Construct sand pyramids
After watching the video above, give your students the opportunity to create their own pyramids using moon sand. Collect box lids from families and let each student build on one of their own to contain the mess. For more, check out 10 Stunning Pyramids in Mexico.
Learn more: Inspired by Family
10. Watch children perform a Machete dance
Los Machetes is a popular folk dance from the Jalisco region of Mexico. It was created by farm workers who used machetes as their main tool for harvest. Traditionally, real machetes are used while performing this dance.
Learn more: Dobbs Folklorico
11. Take a spin at salsa dancing
Get your kids up and moving with this fun dance tutorial set to the tune of La Cucaracha.
Learn more: Kodomo Kids
12. Make some DIY Mexican musical instruments
Music is a huge part of Mexican culture. Listen to these 10 Most Popular Mariachi Songs. Then, get your students in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo by learning about traditional mariachi instruments and making a few of their own.
Learn more: Crafts by Courtney
13. Make a traditional Ojo de Dios
Ojo de Dios is Spanish for “Eye of God,” and this traditional Huichol Indian craft symbolizes wishes of health, long life, and protection.
Learn more: Layers of Learning
14. Try your hand at papel picado
Papel picado is a traditional Mexican folk art that frequently adorns Mexican fiestas and parades. Teach your students and create a colorful banner for your classroom with this fun video.
Learn more: HappyThought
15. Create a bean mosaic
In many regions, beans are a staple of Mexican cooking. Collect a variety of dried beans, glue, and paper plates and let your students’ imaginations run wild. Project this image of traditional Mexican symbols and see if your students can re-create them with beans.
Learn more: Pretty Life Girls
16. Craft some paper cacti Cinco de Mayo decorations
All you need for this adorable craft is a few paper rolls, a bit of cardboard, colored construction paper, and some googly eyes. Watch the video for step-by-step directions.
Learn more: Happy Crafty
17. Engineer a colorful piñata
This STEM activity challenges students to create a Mexican piñata from a balloon, newspaper strips, glue, and fringed crepe paper. Let your students take their project home, where they can decide to fill it with candy and give it a whack, or keep it as an art keepsake.
Learn more: Kiwi
18. Play Cinco de Mayo math games
Try one of these free downloadable TpT activities to incorporate a little Cinco de Mayo into your math curriculum.
19. Make tissue-paper flowers
One of our favorite Cinco de Mayo activities: No fiesta would be complete without the brilliant, bright paper flowers that are part of many Mexican celebrations. Easy and quick to make, your students will love the garden they create.
Learn more: A Crafty Composition
20. Read poetry in Spanish
Check out these 8 Fun Spanish Poems for Kids Who Love Reading. From stars, flowers, seasons, animals, dinnertime, and the importance of family and friends, your students will get a kick out of these poems and learn Spanish words to boot!
Learn more: Spanish Academy
To learn more about Mexican culture, check out 16 Fun Activities to Honor Hispanic Heritage Month.
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