Hispanic Heritage: Introducing Hispanic Culture to Kids
Introducing Hispanic culture to children, it’s one of the best strategies to promote cultural awareness and understanding.
This way, they can learn or practice Spanish. But they can also be more empathetic towards other people and understand their traditions and lifestyle.
It’s true that because of the cultures in which we live, we have many differences, but at the end of the day, we are all human beings in search of happiness.
And that is why it’s vital that our kids become familiar with the world surrounding them. Often they’ll share it with people from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
So, let’s start this journey through Hispanic culture!
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The Value of Cultural Diversity
Have you ever found yourself bobbing your head to salsa music? Or have you tried some delicious pupusas or wonderful tacos?
In this interconnected world full of cultural diversity, it becomes easier to learn about other cultures.
And the migration of people seeking better opportunities makes these traditions part of our culture.
For decades, the Hispanic population has contributed to our life in the United States, filling our day-to-day with colors and flavors.
Celebrating the Hispanic heritage means recognizing the achievements and contributions that Hispanic people have shared with our country.
Through history, our children will learn to appreciate different perspectives, lifestyles, and experiences that will broaden their horizons so they can learn to live in peace with other people.
Culture shapes our behavior and identity, including the language, beliefs, values, rules, and even objects inherited from generation to generation.
What Hispanic Culture Encompasses?
So, what is Hispanic culture?
Language, religious beliefs, art, music, literature, cuisine, history, and social and family values make up the culture of Hispanic countries.
Like any other culture, in Hispanic cultures, you’ll find different celebrations and characteristics that make it unique.
One of them you have undoubtedly heard is about the Quinceañeras parties, celebrated in several Hispanic countries.
An important area of Hispanic traditions is religious celebrations such as Holy Week, one of the most significant religious holidays in all Spanish-speaking countries.
They also celebrate Christmas, the Day of the Three Kings, and the Day of the Dead. Other countries also celebrate some of them.
Of course, Hispanic music is also part of the culture that has enriched the world since singers like Shakira, Bad Bunny, and Luis Miguel have reached every corner we can imagine.
In the United States, we also enjoy Hispanic food due to the large influx of Hispanic immigrants to our country.
The famous Mexican tacos that we all love and enjoy on the streets. The Salvadoran pupusas with that cheese that melts in your mouth. Or the delicious Venezuelan arepas with perfect combinations of ingredients. You can find them all in the US.
And we can’t forget about the famous Hispanic people who made a difference in our country and the world.
Among them, we can mention Celia Cruz, the “Queen of Salsa”; Fernando Valenzuela, a famous Mexican baseball player in the 80s; and Evelyn Cisneros, the first Latina prima ballerina in the U.S.
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Activities for Introducing Hispanic Culture to Kids
For your children to better understand the Hispanic culture, we have compiled a series of activities and resources that you can do at home if you’re a parent or at school if you’re a teacher.
1. Make Maracas
How about some fun crafts?
Originally from the Orinoco River region of South America, maracas are a fun and easy instrument to make.
You only need small water bottles, toilet paper rolls, colorful tape, and something to fill them in, like beans, rice, pebbles, and small or large beads.
Follow these instructions and enjoy making your very own maracas with recycled objects.
When your instrument is ready, your kids can play with them while they try to perform famous songs by Latino artists. It’s an excellent way to learn about native instruments and Hispanic music.
2. Paint a Colorful Macaw
Macaws are primarily found in most Latin American countries. Macaws come in different sizes and colors, so painting them will be a fun activity full of creativity.
All you need is blank paper and a set of paints they choose; it can be crayons, watercolors, markers, or even oil paint.
In this activity, you can teach them about the types of birds that exist according to the region and discuss the importance of flora and fauna in Latin American countries.
3. Have a Hispanic Music Class
Music is ideal for inspiring enthusiasm and curiosity about Latin American culture, where rhythm is the main ingredient.
For this activity, you’ll need a speaker and a playlist with representative songs of the most famous rhythms of Hispanic countries.
It includes songs from salsa, merengue, tango, mariachis, bachata, flamenco, cumbia, boleros, and even a bit of rock in Spanish.
You can teach your kids that flamenco is from Spain, cumbia is from Colombia, mariachis hail from Mexico, etc.
4. Taste Hispanic Treats
Hispanic food has a wide variety of desserts and treats since Latin Americans love to sweeten the most special moments.
Search supermarkets or bakeries where you can buy Hispanic treats, such as Argentinean sweet empanadas, Spanish churros, Guatemalan arroz en leche, and Mexican conchas, and take them to your classroom for your children to eat.
Remember to take into account the ingredients of each one in case any of your children have allergies.
With these treats, you can teach them about the most famous ingredients available in the Hispanic region and in which country they cook each treat they have tasted.
This will bring them closer to the culture and appreciate its cuisine.
5. Play La Lotería!
This is one of the most popular games in the Hispanic culture, and it’s very similar to bingo, only it has a slight variation that makes it more interesting.
With this game, you can teach your kids new Spanish words and have fun at the same time.
Because it’s a game originally from Mexico, you will see that many of the words come from Mexican Spanish. However, lotería has expanded to other Latin American countries.
If you don’t get the original cards, you can have your kids make their boards with drawings. Here you can get an idea of how to make them.
6. Read Hispanic Books
Another activity that will fascinate your children is reading Latin American stories filled with Hispanic characters.
In these books, they will learn about migration, biographies of Latino artists, lifestyles in Spanish-speaking countries, and Latino traditions that are still alive.
Some of the books we recommend are Mango, Abuela, and Me; Waiting for the Biblioburro; Alma and How She Got Her Name; Brick by Brick; and Across the Bay.
7. Hispanic Movie Time
Most families love this activity because, with the help of movies, it’s possible to explain complex issues and help children discover stories and distant places.
Also, by watching movies, they can have a quiet time to learn about Hispanic culture through funny characters, eye-catching settings, and exciting stories.
We recommend movies that the young and old at home will undoubtedly love, such as Underdogs, Ferdinand, The Book of Life, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, among others.
And for the older ones, you can choose between In the Heights, McFarland USA, Underwater Dreams, Cantinflas movies, and Selena’s biopic.
Tips on Approaching Cultural Education
Including other cultures in your children’s education and celebrating ethnic diversity is essential.
You can start teaching them what a culture is and what traditions and cultural heritage are for.
You can first understand your students’ backgrounds. Perhaps some of them were born abroad and then migrated with their parents to the US.
Others may have been born in the United States, but their parents are Colombian, Panamanian, or Guatemalan and are still in touch with their Latino relatives.
This will help you improve your classes and broader your other student’s cultural awareness. This way, the other kids can learn first-hand about the Hispanic culture.
You should also make sure that all your classes have a bit of cultural diversity in them.
For the art class, you can include works of Latin American artists such as Frida Kahlo, Botero, Carlos Mérida, Dalí, Patricia Phelps, etc.
Do the same in the rest of the subjects so your students can expand their knowledge outside of American culture. This way, your Latino students can also learn more about their roots.
Also, please be respectful. You must approach cultural diversity with empathy and an open mind so everyone in your class feels comfortable.
Take advantage of special dates to reinforce cultural diversity. For example, keep an eye on Hispanic heritage month, which takes place from September 15 to October 15 every year.
Finally, maintain honest communication with your students. That way, they’ll feel like their voice and opinions matter. Your Hispanic students might’ve been victims of discrimination before, so make them feel like they’re in a safe space.
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Learn Spanish and Delve Into the Hispanic Culture
Getting closer to the Hispanic culture will make the new generations more inclusive and empathetic. They’ll also have a broader understanding of the world.
This will benefit your children as they progress professionally and academically. One of the easiest ways to delve into a new culture is to learn the main language people of these cultures speak.
By learning Spanish, you will get closer to the possibility of communicating with people from more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries.
At Homeschool Spanish Academy, your children can have a first-rate curriculum and apt teachers that are ready to help them as they learn this new and exciting language.
Our flexible scheduling and student-tailored programs make students love our 5-star Spanish instruction.
So, don’t hesitate and sign up for a free trial class. No credit card details are required!
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