It's also an opportunity for me to help my children learn about the grieving process and how we can move beyond it to that bittersweet place of remembering people we've lost without sadness. This is a crucial developmental skill that children must learn and unfortunately, here in the United States, it is not one that is taught.
All this is why Día de los Muertos remains such an important holiday. If you are not familiar with it, then let me explain that this is a holiday set aside for remembering family and friends who have died. It is not morbid as many people assume, but rather it is a celebration of the lives that were lived and the love that was shared.
If you're a parent or teacher looking for activities that help you introduce or celebrate the holiday with your little ones, then check out these ideas:
First, if your students are learning about Day of the Dead for the first time, I strongly recommend this bilingual minibook. Available in English, Spanish, or bilingual format, this activity includes coloring pages of the items most closely associated with the holiday, as well as brief descriptions that are easy for young children to understand.
(For older children, check out this one-page reading passage.)
La Catrina is the figure most closely associated with this holiday. The character was created by the famous Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator and lithographer José Guadalupe Posada as way to make fun of the upper class at the time. Making a catrina doesn't have to be complicated, and is a perfect activity for tweens.
This is such a fun, personalized activity for little hands!! Check out the easy tutorial for creating signature skeletons based on your child's name.
Making your own calaca family is so much fun! You can base it on your own family, making it as large or as small as you want. You can even include your family dog! All you need are some pipe cleaners, clay, paper, and pens.
This activity requires parental supervision, but it is fairly simple to do and the results are bright, cheerful, and fun to use. You'll find the tutorial over on latinamom.me.
Once you have your little crayons made, you'll need a little treat bag to stick them in for gift giving, right? These adorable bags are quick to make. You can adapt it for larger bags, and stuff almost any kind of treat inside.
This final activity is geared for older children. Calaveras are short, clever poems that are written around the time of Dia de los Muertos. Usually they rhyme, are funny, and poke fun at the living. This activity includes a brief history of calavera poetry and provides examples and writing pages for your student.
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop on Day of the Dead! (Don't miss our series from last year!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids: