9 Traditional Cinco de Mayo Activities for Kids Learning Spanish
Are you ready to celebrate Cinco de mayo while learning Spanish?
This unique festivity is a staple of colorful traditions, history, and rich Mexican culture. Whether you’re a fan of freshly made tacos or piñatas, celebrating Cinco de mayo is fun for kids and adults alike.
Partaking in Cinco de mayo activities is common in the United States. Some say it’s even more popular than in Mexico!
It’s an ideal opportunity to introduce language immersion to your Spanish classroom and spice up your lessons with a bit of Mexican folklore.
Read this inspirational blog post to discover nine traditional Cinco de mayo activities for young Spanish students. You’ll find creative games, Mexican recipes, and DIY crafts for making the most of this memorable holiday!
¡Que empiece la celebración!
Let the celebration begin!
Table of Contents:
- The Story Behind Cinco de Mayo
- 9 Traditional Cinco de Mayo Activities for Your Spanish Classroom
- Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With a Spanish Lesson
The Story Behind Cinco de Mayo
In Mexico and the U.S., people celebrate traditional Cinco de mayo activities each year on May 5. The holiday honors the Mexican army’s defeat of French forces in La batalla de Puebla (the battle of Puebla).
On May 5, 1862, Mexican forces engaged in a historical battle with the French military seeking to occupy Mexico City. The fight took place in the state of Puebla, a few hours from the capital. The French were highly prepared and outnumbered the Mexicans.
Nonetheless, courageous Mexican troops led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, stood their ground and defeated the French. Eventually, France did take control of Mexico City. However, the occupation lasted only a few years.
Traditional Cinco de mayo activities commemorate the bravery and resistance of Mexico. Mexicans living in California first celebrated the holiday. It gained popularity in the 1960s and has now evolved to the Cinco de mayo we love today.
9 Traditional Cinco de Mayo Activities for Your Spanish Classroom
Get creative and plan a fun and educational Spanish lesson with unique Mexican traditions. These traditional Cinco de mayo activities teach students about Mexican culture, history, and Spanish vocabulary.
1. Mexican Lotería
Play a game of Lotería with your students! Lotería is a traditional Mexican game for people of all ages. It’s similar to Bingo. It’s popular and beloved in Mexico and other Latin American countries.
It’s an illustrated game where every student has a carton of 4 by 4 cards to complete. Players will use uncooked frijoles (beans) to mark the cards as you call them out. The first player to complete a carton calls out “¡Lotería!” and wins the game.
Each of the cards is representative of Mexican culture. It has many vocabulary words for your students to learn and practice in conversation. It requires your students to concentrate and be quick.
Buy your own Lotería game for less than $10.
Make your Spanish classroom more fun with these 8 traditional Hispanic games.
2. DIY Taco Truck
Delicious food is an unbeatable way to celebrate Mexican culture. Eating Mexican cuisine is a tasty Cinco de mayo activity to enjoy at home or in class.
Set and decorate the table with Mexican papel picado. Gather the taco ingredients. Here are some ideas:
- tortillas de maíz – corn tortillas
- queso – cheese
- cilantro y cebolla – cilantro and onion
- aguacate – avocado
Make Spanish labels for each ingredient and put them on separate containers. Each student will make a taco trio using the ingredients on the table. Have them draw and name their very own special taco truck.
Have each student present their taco truck and share their taco recipes with the rest of the class. Make this a unique Cinco de mayo activity where your students can practice conversation while tasting Mexican flavors.
See also: The Origin and History of Mexico’s Most Famous Food: The Taco
3. Make a Piñata
Piñatas are a colorful part of any Mexican celebration. Kids love them and using them as a Cinco de mayo activity will get them excited with Spanish class.
Create your own Mexican piñata following the instructions on this practical Spanish video. It’s a fantastic opportunity for your student’s creativity to soar and add lots of bright colors!
Once it’s finished, you’ll fill the piñata with:
- dulces – candy
- chocolate – chocolate
- premios – prizes
- juguetes – toys
Hang the piñata in an open space and let the kids break it open. Combine this activity with pop quiz questions where the students who answer correctly get an extra hit at the piñata.
Check out: The Most Fascinating Facts About the Latin American Piñata
4. Make Alebrijes
Los alebrijes are colorful surreal creatures made from bodies of at least two different animals. You may remember them from the movie Coco.
These fantastical beings are an important part of Mexican folk art and are believed to come from dreams. Alebrijes come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Their physique is unusual and doesn’t always add up, something that makes them extra special.
As a Cinco de mayo activity, have your students create their own alebrije using play-doh, construction paper, acrylic paint, and any other art supplies.
Creating an alebrije is a fun, creative, and versatile activity. Make it a vocabulary lesson on vertebrate animals in Spanish or teach opposites for kids in Spanish.
5. Cook a Mexican Dessert
Once again Mexican food makes it into this list as part of the top traditional Cinco de mayo activities. Making a Mexican dessert is a sweet way to join the festivities. Source the ingredients and follow the recipes in Spanish step-by-step with your students.
Take it as an opportunity to practice Spanish cooking vocabulary and discover sweet Mexican flavors in class.
Here are two simple recipes to follow:
- Como hacer flan de caramelo – How to make caramel flan
- Como hacer pastel tres leches – How to make three milks cake
6. Cinco de Mayo Videos
Spanish videos are excellent learning resources for visual learners that support Spanish listening, pronunciation, and conversation. Here are some for you to use in class:
- Batalla de Puebla para niños – The Battle of Puebla for Kids
- Cinco de Mayo: 10 Hechos Interesantes para Niños – Cinco de Mayo: 10 Interesting Facts for Kids)
7. Luchador Mask Art Project
La lucha libre Mexicana (Mexican wrestling) attracts tourists from all over the world. Luchadores (wrestlers) have become a curious and interesting symbol of Mexico.
Make a Mexican luchador mask as an arts and crafts Cinco de mayo activity for your students. Use a free template, old magazines, acrylic paint, and construction paper.
Have students design their own mask and describe their newly created luchador mask in Spanish.
8. Cinco de Mayo I Spy
Play a fun game of I Spy in Spanish class. Look for displays of Cinco de mayo decor, food, and elements of Mexican culture. Here are some ideas to include in the game.
- papel picado
9. Mexican Story Time
Books are an effective way to enhance your child’s Spanish skills. Reading stories in Spanish supports their contextualizing ability, pronunciation, writing, and intuitive use of vocabulary.
Make reading a Mexican Spanish story a part of your classroom traditional Cinco de mayo activities. Choose titles from this captivating list of 12 Mexican children’s books.
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With a Spanish Lesson
These traditional Cinco de mayo activities will have your Spanish students excited for this Mexican celebration.
Practicing conversation with a native speaker is an effective way to improve your child’s confidence, and their dominance of Spanish expressions. Sign your child up for a free trial class with our certified teachers from Guatemala as another Cinco de mayo activity.
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