Hispanic Heritage Month
Hola y Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated from September 15th to October 15th, is a vibrant and culturally rich time to celebrate Hispanic and Latino communities' traditions, histories, and contributions.
It's also a fantastic opportunity to introduce your young children to the beauty of Hispanic culture. Whether you have Hispanic heritage or simply want to embrace diversity and teach your kids about the world, here are some tips and engaging activities for children to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at home.
The timing of this special month is crucial because so many Latin American countries also celebrate their Independence Day from Spain in September.
Why should we celebrate it?
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with your children can be an enriching and educational experience that fosters an appreciation for diversity and cultural understanding.
It is an excellent opportunity to observe The Americas as a whole continent and learn about its history and rich, unique cultures. It's a great way to start conversing with your children about different cultures, languages, people and customs.
In addition, for any age group, the subject of The Americas as a whole continent is excellent from a geographical point of view. Children can learn more about the diversity of the landscapes, the weather, and its beautiful animals, from the colourful waters of the Caribbean to the lush Amazon forest, the Andes mountains, the Atacama desert, and the icy glaciers of Antarctica.
Which countries are of Hispanic Heritage?
Learn some Spanish
Countries celebrating this month all speak Spanish!
Did you know?
About 406 million people in the world speak Spanish - and the number is growing!
What a fantastic opportunity to learn some words in this gorgeous language!
You could start with simple greetings and simple everyday phrases such as:
Hola - Hello
Adios - Goodbye
Gracias - Thank you
Por favor - Please
Como estas? - How are you?
Latin American Storytime
Reading is a fantastic way to explore different cultures with your little ones. Look for children's books written by Hispanic authors or featuring Hispanic characters. Share stories that reflect Hispanic culture, traditions, and values.
Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong, Let's discover the shapes around us.
It's time to follow the little skeletons on their surprising and intriguing day with Little Skeletons / Esqueletitos: Countdown to Midnight by Susie Jaramillo.
Learn to count to 10 in Spanish with Ten Little Birds (Diez Pajaritos) by 123 Andrés
Take a trip to Peru and travel from Lake Titicaca to Cusco for the marvellous Inti Raymi Festival with Up and Down the Andes by Laurie Krebs.
Travel to Mexico and discover its many wonders, from the fantastic monarch butterflies in the Highlands to a mariachi show in the village square with Off We Go to Mexico by Laurie Krebs.
Let's learn about Galapagos Island and find out who lives there! You will encounter tortoises, albatrosses, iguanas and many other exotic creatures while learning the days of the week in Spanish with We're Sailing to Galapagos: A Week in the Pacific by Laurie Krebs.
Let's learn about the people of the rainforest with We're Roaming in the Rainforest by Laurie Krebs. Children will encounter exciting animals, from chattering monkeys to crouching jaguars.
Stories like these will start exciting conversations. You may want to discuss the story's setting: where it is set, the mountains, the desert, the rainforest, the beach, etc.
Discuss the differences between the landscape in the story and yours. Talk about the clothes some people wear, how beautiful and bright they are, and how different or similar they are compared to yours.
Engage your little one in conversations about Hispanic culture. Discuss famous Latin American figures and their contributions to art, music and literature.
The Mexican Painter Frida Kahlo in "My First Frida Kahlo: Little People, Big Dreams."
Tito Puente, a fantastic musician who was of Puerto Rican descent, in "Tito Puente Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo by Monica Brown
Cuban singer Celia Cruz in "Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa" by Veronica Chambers
Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral in "My Name Is Gabriela/Me Llamo Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral/La Vida de Gabriela Mistral" by Monica Brown.
Cook Something from Latin America
Cooking is a great way to stimulate our senses, get physical by developing fine motor skills, learn some early mathematical concepts such as sequencing, and work on following directions!
There is so much learning happening as we cook; we not only develop areas as mentioned above, but it's an excellent opportunity to introduce your little one to new vocabulary, improving their language and communication skills as they learn about the world!
Furthermore, your little one will love to be a part of the cooking process and eat yummy treats!
Why don't you try making easy and yummy recipes with your little one, such as Quesadillas, Chicken Fajitas, Anticuchos, etc.?
Here is a quick and easy recipe for one of Latin America's most famous sweet treats: Churros!
1 cup water
2 ½ tablespoons white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying
½ cup white sugar, or to taste
One teaspoon of ground cinnamon
How to Make Churros Step-By-Step:
Boil the water, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil. Remove from the heat, then stir in the flour until the mixture forms a ball.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and pipe it into strips.
Fry the strips in hot oil until they're golden.
Drain the churros, then roll in cinnamon-sugar.
Churros are served with a sweet dipping sauce. Try them with chocolate sauce or dulce de leche-caramelised milk (the word translates to candy made from milk).
Music and Dance
Introduce your children to the vibrant rhythms of Hispanic music like salsa, merengue, bachata and cumbia. Create a mini dance party at home and teach them some basic dance steps.
You can also explore traditional instruments like maracas and bongos, encouraging your child's love for music.
Latin American Art
Latin America boasts many art techniques highlighting its diverse culture, history, and creativity. From Mexican folk art to Andean textiles and Brazilian street art, the region's artistic customs showcase its limitless artistic legacy.
Here are some simple art techniques for you to recreate with your little one at home:
Taino Petroglyphs are symbolic carvings on rocks and cave walls. They represent pre-Columbian art and are an essential part of Taino culture. Taino people are native to the Caribbean islands, such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti.
You can recreate this magnificent art form by making your own Taino Petroglyphs with your child using rocks or stones.
Use the internet or books to show your little one some images of Taino Petroglyphs and discuss where these carvings came from and their shapes.
Provide your little one with different size brushes and white paint.
Go outside and gather large stones; this is an excellent opportunity to talk about mathematical concepts such as size and weight!
Amate painting is a folk art that the indigenous people of Mexico have practised for centuries. It is a unique art form that uses handmade paper made from tree bark as the canvas and bright and vibrant colours to create beautiful designs.
Use the internet or books to show your little one some images of Amate paintings and discuss them by commenting on the materials used, colours, shapes and objects.
You can purchase amate paper online or at an art supply store. Alternatively, you can substitute brown construction paper or kitchen-greased proof paper.
Watercolours or acrylic paints work well for this activity. Choose bright, vibrant colours.
Provide a variety of brush sizes to allow for different details in their artwork.
Markers or Fine-tip Pens. These can be used for adding details to their paintings.
South American Copper Art
South American copper art is a long-standing tradition in indigenous communities like the Mapuche in Chile and the Moche in Peru. They craft decorated objects or make paintings using copper as the main material.
To recreate South American copper art at home with children, you can adapt the process to be child-friendly and safe, using aluminium or tin foil, which resembles copper but is cheaper and much safer for your little one.
You will need:
Aluminium or tin Foil. If your foil is too thin, stick two to three pieces together to thicken.
Pencils and coloured markers or permanent pens
Begin by introducing your little one to South American copper art. Using the internet or books, share images about traditional copper designs.
Discuss and select a simple South American-inspired design your little one would like to recreate. It could be a geometric pattern, an animal, or a nature-inspired motif.
Using a pencil, encourage them to sketch the chosen design onto the tin foil lightly. Encourage them to pay attention to details, create thick lines and gently rub a soft cloth or paper towel on the lines to mimic the texture of hammered copper.
When their design is done, they can turn the foil around to see their created carvings! They can now colour the foil using the markers, following the design.
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