From tasty eats to virtual tours, here are some fun, Hispanic Heritage Month activities to engage and educate your family:
1. Dish up some delicious flavors.
Mexican food is a kid favorite which can be found almost everywhere in the United States. Before cooking or going out to eat, talk about the specific ingredients and spices that make these dishes special. Taste and smell cumin and paprika. Discuss kids’ favorite dishes and whether they include common Mexican ingredients, such as corn, chili peppers, shredded beef and chicken, beans or tomatoes.
Tacos and Nachos (Try our Sheet Pan Nachos) are always great choices, but bring some new cultures to the table by trying some of these Hispanic and Latino dishes:
- Chimichurri sauce originated in Argentina. This herbaceous green sauce is wonderful over steak or chicken. It can also be used as a marinade.
- Migas are kid-friendly, and you’ll likely have the ingredients on hand. A popular dish in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Texas, migas combines scrambled eggs, tortilla chips, melty cheese and pico de gallo.
- With origins in both Columbia and Venezuela, arepas are the ultimate sandwich – fried corn cakes stuffed with chicken, avocado and more. To earn extra kid points, watch the movie "Encanto" before making the cheese-filled arepas from the film.
- If your family likes sweets, there is no better desert than my family's favorite, a Nicaraguan Tres Leches Cake. The name means 3 milks because the recipe calls for regular milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk. This cake is super-moist, sweet and absolutely delicious!!
- Another sweet, kid-favorite dessert is Arroz con Leche or Mexican Rice Pudding
2. Take a virtual tour.
Virtual tours provide an accessible way to explore contributions of Latino communities and individuals.
- La Casa Azul is Mexican artist Frida Kahlo's former home. The name literally translates to the Blue House. Now, it's a museum dedicated to her work and life.
- The Smithsonian's Museum of the American Latino shines a light on the legacy of U.S. Latinos and Latinas.
3. Learn about Hispanic and Latino celebrations and traditions.
Celebrations create connection and fun everyone can enjoy. Plus, experiencing how a culture celebrates is a great way to learn.
- Piñatas, filled with candy, have been used at First Communions, Baptisms and other celebrations since the 13th century. These are always a crowd favorite at birthday parties or anytime!
- Kids are usually fascinated with the background of Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, which falls early in November. They are usually somewhat familiar with this holiday from the movie "Coco".
- Latin American teenage girls celebrate their 15th birthdays with an elaborate quinceañeras. or Fiesta Rosa. It is a famous catholic Latin American celebration where teenagers celebrates their 15th birthday. It represents the passage from girlhood to womanhood. The party starts with “la misa de acción de gracias” (mass of thanksgiving), and then all the family and friends are reunited to celebrate. During this special day, the 15-year-old girl wears a pink dress, and dances with her father or with her boyfriend.
4. Read books by Hispanic and Latino authors
Whatever the age of your reader, there are plenty of books to explore by Hispanic and Latino authors. See our list of 5 BOOKS OUR FAMILY IS READING FOR HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
5. Make it a movie night.
Kid-friendly movies that explore Hispanic and Latino culture are perfect for movie night.
- The hit 2021 movie "Encanto" takes place in Colombia. While your kids enjoy the magical family Madrigal, they’ll also see Colombian fashion, architecture, animals and food. Expect to learn a few Spanish words along the way.
- Inspired by the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, the 2017 animated film “Coco” explores family and tradition.
- Set to the musical stylings of Lin-Manual Miranda, 2021’s “Vivo” on Netflix celebrates the culture of Cuba as a rain forest creature seeks to deliver a message on behalf of his owner.
- If you're looking for more movie picks throughout the month, check out these other kid-friendly movie options.
6. Hit the dance floor.
If your child considers every room a dance floor, it’s time to introduce them to the vibrancy of Latino dance styles. Salsa is a fusion of rhythms and dances from around the Caribbean. Music can be fast or mellow. Check out this salsa station on Pandora and you'll be dancing around your living room in no time ... because salsa is joyful and contagious!
7. Give your game night a Hispanic Heritage Month twist.
If your kid enjoys a game of chance, then odds are they’ll enjoy the card game Lotería. Lotería is Mexico's version of Bingo. Players will match words called out (such as el arbol – the tree, or el camaron – the shrimp) to their game board. When they’ve got a row, the winner shouts “¡Buena!” to end the game.
The Smithsonian also has a collection of games and activities for purchase from their "Nuestra America" series. Play their bilingual memory card game or piece together their puzzle to learn about famous Hispanic Americans.
8. Explore Latinx heritage through art.
Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, Diego Velazquez and Francisco Goya – Hispanic artists are some of the most famous of all time. View their masterpieces and discuss what makes them stand out. Then, ask kids to try to recreate some of these famous art styles at home.
Whether you’re attending a cultural celebration, reading about one or watching one on TV, prompt a conversation with your child with these questions:
- What is the purpose and history of this celebration?
- What are the values and beliefs being celebrated?
- What music is being played and how is it contributing to the event? If there are dancers, are they wearing special costumes or accessories?
- What are the symbols and meanings of the objects and activities associated with this celebration?
- What foods and drinks are served?
- How does this celebration help to keep the culture alive?
- How can I be respectful of this culture and its traditions?
Exploring culture is a great way to learn about other people while deepening respect for diversity and inclusion. I hope you will try some of these Hispanic Heritage Month ideas and celebrate with your family no matter where you are from!
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