Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated every year from September 15th to October 15th – a special nod to the many countries celebrating their independence during that time frame: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile and Belize. The month was formally established in 1988 as a full month (prior to this it had been a week long celebration) and has since evolved into a time for celebrating Latinx identities, and learning about the history- and independence – of lots of Hispanic countries! This year’s HHM theme is “Todos Somos, Somos Uno: We Are All, We Are One”!
While diverse cultures and individuals should always be celebrated, Hispanic Heritage month is an especially good time to reflect on the role Hispanic cultures have played throughout history and today. It is never too early to introduce your child to cultures other than your own, and there are numerous ways to do so! Reinforce cultural learning with the activities outlined below and further support the learning they do through Spanish songs, Hispanic artists and Spanish books in the Tierra Encantada classroom. We recommend a couple of books on Instagram– check out our Hispanic Heritage Month highlight!
Coco (2017) and The Book of Life (2014) are both animated kids movies that center around Day of the Dead. Coco follows Miguel, a boy who wants to be a musician, as he finds himself in the Land of the Dead able to communicate with relatives who have passed on. On his journey, he listens to and performs lots of great music and learns the truth about his family history. The Book of Life happens on the same holiday, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and follows the love between the characters Maria, Manolo and Joaquin as they pass through different realms of life and death. Both demonstrate an important cultural celebration and are great picks for a family movie night!
Combine art with a history lesson using coloring sheets of historical figures. Cesar Chavez worked to improve the conditions for farm workers through nonviolence. Dolores Huerta organized the Delano grape strike, and fought for the rights of workers and marginalized groups. Frida Kahlo is notable for all her paintings on identity, self-expression and her experiences as a woman. These people carved out their place in history, and it’s important that they are not forgotten.
Crafting in general can tie in with the month- make a pinata or try your hand at other regional art. Cut out elaborate and decorative designs on paper, and make a classic Mexican celebration garland. Create the Quetzal, Guatemala’s national bird, with tissue paper and a toilet paper tube. Learn about the Taíno, a group of Indigenous People of the Caribbean, with petroglyph rock art. Crafts like these can introduce children to regions and cultures other than their own, teach them about how history has affected the present and help them open themselves up to more people, places and things. We even have our very own Hispanic Heritage Month coloring page- download and print it here!