Tuesday, December 18, 2018

No-Prep, Print-and-Go Las Posadas Activities

Sunday night marked the beginning of Las Posadas. The nine-day celebration is a re-enactment of the night that Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem and asked for shelter. These evening celebrations begin each year on December 16th and end on Christmas Eve.

If you are looking for a quick, no-prep, print-and-go activity to teach your child about this holiday celebration, then check out my Las Posadas collection! It has printables for a variety of ages and they are ALL available in both English and Spanish.

Here's a peek at what you'll find:

for preschool and early elementary grades

for early elementary

for elementary

elementary grades

for 4th - 8th grade (and higher!)

Friday, December 14, 2018

Lupita at Target

Oh. My. Goodness. I saw this doll in Target on Wednesday and I was moved to tears. La Virgen de Guadalupe is such a strong image in my childhood memories. My Buelita always had candles lit that featured her image, as well as a framed photo that hung in her bedroom. I remember that every year, the same Buelita would hang a calendar with Guadalupe in her kitchen. My Nanita also had a charm on her bracelet featuring our Lady. (Please excuse the shaky image - I was holding a squirmy baby at the time.)

But it is my mom who springs to my mind. She constantly referred to Guadalupe and had images of her stashed everywhere - in her purse, at home, various jewelry, etc. In case you don't know, December 12th was Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe Day). And that is the significance for me. I found her on her day and am reminded of my mom who passed away earlier this year.

This post contains affiliate links. 

So I could only imagine how popular this doll would be with MommyMaestra readers. Target is carrying the Lupita doll and book set both in their stores (this one I saw with the Elf on the Shelf (¡Qué horror!) display) and online. If you order online, you can have her shipped directly to your house or free to the store. Plus, it was on sale!

The 35-page bilingual, hardcover book has beautiful illustrations. It accompanies the plush Lupita doll who is a partner in kind in encouraging children to do good deeds throughout the Christmas holiday season leading to the Three Kings Day.💖

If you desperately want one, I would recommend going online to see if it is available in a Target store near you, or just order it and have it shipped to your home or local store. All the affiliate links in this post will take you directly to the product pages on Target.

But wait! The awesomeness doesn't end there! While searching for her, I found that there is also a Lupita Advent Calendar! Who cares if December has already started? Anyway, it runs from December 1st through JANUARY 6TH!! (Día de los Reyes, my friends.) It includes a full Nativity set for your child to put together. I LOVE nacimientos.

And, yes, there's more.

They are also selling an estrellita tree topper, a rosca de reyes baking mix, and a Lupita ornament. I couldn't find the ornament online, so I guess I'm going to pay a visit to all the Targets in my area and see if any are left. :)

Anyway, I thought I would share because it was such a delightful surprise to me and so I figure it might be to you, too, if you don't already know about it. 

Happy holidays, Amigos!

Other Posts You May Enjoy

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Spanish-Language Magazines for Kids

As time goes on, the number of Spanish magazines for children fluctuates. Some of my favorites have been discontinued😭, while new ones have emerged😃. I really am sad that Iguana magazine is no longer in production. If you're looking for a gift to give your children that will last the whole year long, here are a few Spanish-language or bilingual magazines currently on the market.

The following links are affiliate links.

High Five Bilingüe™ Magazine

Created for kids ages 2 - 6 years old, this 36-page magazine has 14 pages of stories, puzzles and activities entirely in Spanish, the same ones in English, and a few bilingual pages.

Muy Interesante Junior Mexico (Update: No longer available.)

Kindle version only. I'm going to take a guess here that the magazine is geared for kids up to 12 or 14 years old. According to Amazon, this magazine is created for kids who want to learn something different about the world every day in a fun way. It includes excellent information about science, technology, nature, history, art, space exploration, the human body, traditions and customs, and much more. The information is presented in a simple and entertaining format. It supports literacy habits and critical thinking in children.  

Scholastic Spanish Classroom Magazines

These magazines are not geared toward specific grade levels, so much as language proficiency. You pick the level you are interested in and subscribe!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Children's Apron and Bilingual Book Set from MommyMaestra

Christmastime always brings back memories of my childhood. Las Posadas, drinking champurrado, and making tamales are the first things that spring into my mind.

When I was little, I would always help my Buelita make tamales. She made dozens upon dozens to sell, to give away, and to store in the freezer for us. The other day, I asked on the MommyMaestra Facebook page if anyone was going to be participating in a tamalada and if so, would the kids help? It was pretty popular. I enjoyed reading the comments.

Cooking is such a fun activity for kids during the holidays. We've always made the traditional sugar & gingerbread cookies, as well as hot chocolate. But my Buelita has long passed away and my kids have never made tamales. Now that we are back in Texas, I hope I can find somewhere to take them to learn!

He's not making tamales. In this picture, I think he was making miniature pan de muerto!

And then, as if the universe were on the same wavelength, I stumbled upon these children's aprons that my mom and I designed a few years ago for a company we used to run. They were sold as a set with the book, Growing Up with Tamales (aff link) by Gwendolyn Zepeda. My kids already have their own set of aprons (which they've outgrown, but we have as keepsakes), so I thought, "Why not offer them to MommyMaestra readers?"

So if you are interested, then take a look at my online shop. I only have two aprons for boys and eight aprons for girls. Both are available in different colors. I have six copies of the book, too. If you are interested in buying the set or the items individually, you'll find them here. But be sure to order them by the 17th if you want them in time for Christmas. :)

Friday, December 7, 2018

Free Pearl Harbor Worksheets for Kids on WooJr.com

It's been 77 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Most children (and some adults!) have no idea what Pearl Harbor is or why it is significant. For those of you looking for an impromptu lesson on this historical day with print-and-go worksheets, check out this post that I wrote for WooJr.com.

I was inspired in part by this article that ran two years ago on NBC Latino and the fact that Ray Chavez, the oldest military survivor of Pearl Harbor died last month at the age of 106.

RIP, Ray.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Free Download: Christmas Describing with Colors in Spanish

Just in time for Christmas, MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! has created a new free Spanish download that helps your young Spanish learner learn their Christmas vocabulary. This mini lesson focuses on colors and descriptions so your student will not just increase their vocabulary but learn word placement, too. Adjectives are arranged differently in Spanish, so this is great practice!

Today's five-page download includes an audio file to help your young student learn the proper pronunciation, which is a blessing to homeschool parents who don't know Spanish themselves.

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Meet Circle: Parental Controls for Home Internet

I have a little gift for you this holiday season. It's called "taking charge of the internet at home and protecting your children by controlling their access through filters and time limits."

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am sharing this device that I discovered and has been of great value to our family.

A year ago, when we moved back to Texas, we moved in with my father-in-law, who at the time had open internet at his house. There was no password and it was on 24/7. My kids were in hog heaven. And I was freaking out because my 11-year-old, especially, is a tech head and would happily play games all day long if he was allowed. Plus, I was worried about what they would stumble upon while watching YouTube videos and such.

But then, I heard about Circle (aff) from Disney. It sounded ideal. Just plug it in and pair it with your internet and you can help monitor the internet for your children. So I bought it. And I have been so happy with it ever since!!

Here's how it works:

Circle is actually a simple square device that is super easy to set up. You just plug it in and then download the app. After that, you just follow the steps to pair the device with your internet and then you set up your personalized dashboard on the app.

I have added a profile for each member of my family and each one is customized to their needs. Each profile can have the following settings manipulated:


First, it's important to assign each person their own device(s). This includes desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, Xbox, smart TVs, etc.


There are five filter levels:

  1. PreK
  2. Kid - filters out social media, explicit content, mature content, gambling, dating, and malicious content by default. 
  3. Teen
  4. Adult - filters out explicit content by default.
  5. None
(All of my profiles have one of the filter levels 1-4 assigned. More about adults in a minute.)

The filter levels are pre-set with certain allowances and restrictions but you can override them and adjust them as you see fit. 

You can adjust various platforms and categories by setting them to Allowed, Not Allowed, or Unmanaged.

Each level comes with default platforms accessible to the user. If you don't see a platform listed, then it is automatically filtered out unless you add a custom filter adding access to it for that profile.

The preset platforms for the "Kid" filter include:
  • Amazon
  • Cartoon Network
  • Club Penguin Island
  • Disney
  • FaceTime
  • Hulu
  • Minecraft
  • Netflix
  • Nickelodeon
  • PBS
  • TikTok
  • YouTube
The categories are:
  • App stores & Downloads
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business
  • Education
  • Email
  • Home & Family
  • Issues & Lifestyles
  • Kids
  • Music
  • Online Games
  • Photo
  • Science & Technology
  • Search & Reference
  • Sports & Rec
  • Travel
  • Videos
And lastly there are three Privacy and Safety settings:
  • Ad Blocking
  • Safe Search
  • YouTube Restricted

Of course, you can custom filter any of these. So let's say that I block Online Games for my son, but I have a couple of exceptions. I can click on Custom Filter at the bottom of the page and add a website that he is allowed. Or, vice versa, I can allow Online Games, but block certain websites in the same way.


This setting will allow me to establish a bedtime for each day of the week. So I can extend it on weekends or on Mondays or whatever. 


This is my favorite part. I can set time limits for specific websites or an overall time limit for access to the internet forcing my son to think carefully about where he wants to spend his time.


You can also schedule some good ol' tech-free time for your kids. So if you want your mornings to be free of the internet, you can schedule it here (you can also adjust your bedtime limits), or you can block off a set amount of time in the middle of the day. Whatever you want!

The final two sections on the profile are for parental monitoring. 

USAGE lets you see how much time your child has been on the internet. You can look at the usage by day (for up to 7 days), by week (for up to a month), or by month (for up to a year maybe? I'm not sure. Mine goes back to May when we bought the Circle.)

HISTORY is my favorite section because it lets me see, in detail, what my child is looking at online and when. 

Now, I should also note that there are two extra functions that you can find at the top of their profile: Reward and Pause.

So, let's say that you ask your kids to clean up their rooms once a week, but you notice one day, that it has been two weeks since your kid cleaned and their room looks like an abandoned house full of trash. Your kid is currently sitting in front of the computer playing Minecraft. You've already asked him or her to go clean their room, but they zone you out. So you pick up your phone, open your Circle app and your child's profile and you hit PAUSE. You don't have to take away their phone or laptop. You don't have to go turn off the internet or change the password to something you'll never remember. You just pause their access and when they finish cleaning their room, you RESUME their access. It's easy.

Of if your child has worked hard ALL DAY helping you rake the yard and cut the grass, or maybe they helped you clean out the garage, and they deserve a reward. Boom! You just click on REWARD button and you'll have the option to extend their time limit today, or give them a late bedtime tonight, or no offtimes today. It's awesome and easy. 


My kids hated Circle at first. Some would argue that I am invading their privacy or that I am a control freak. But I take my role as their mother very seriously and I believe it is my responsibility to keep them safe. Reigning them in and helping them develop self-control has been very important. And knowing that there are safety filters in place to protect them from things like porn or adult content is priceless.

The only downside is that you cannot pair the app to more than one internet at a time. We use two sources of internet at home (one is unreliable), so that's a bit frustrating. Plus, I bought another Circle for my parents' house for when they babysit and I couldn't use my app on my phone for it. I had to download the app again onto my mom's phone. I wish I could have just switched Circle devices. 


Anytime a new device pairs with your home network, you receive a notification. You can choose to add them to your dashboard with a group profile (i.e., Other Family or Visitors), or you can just erase them after they leave. I like that I am alerted when someone comes to my house even when no one is home. 


Now here's the great part: I went to look and they are on sale right now (I guess for Cyber Monday?) and they are available for only $49.99!! (aff) I paid $99 for both devices, so I really recommend taking advantage of this sale!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thanksgiving Tradition for Developing Gratitude and Giving

Meet Tom T. Gracias. He's a new addition to our home this year. I can't decide if he is cute or creepy (😂), but he's really growing on me so I'm guessing he's the former. I found him in Michaels last month, and although I didn't buy him right away, he kept popping into my head. I think it is because he is a creative take on a popular Thanksgiving activity: writing down what you're grateful for and then reading those things aloud on the actual holiday.

Tom (a name I totally made up) was actually created by the company Turkey on the Table (read more about them below). He's a hit with my family, and I don't just mean my kids. Even my nieces love him and write down what they are grateful for on a blank feather so they can add it to his tail. I mean, I don't even have to ask any of them to go write something down. They just see him and grab a feather and a pen.

I left him attached to the "board" he came with, but he'll easily stand alone on his big feet. He's a sturdy guy, which is good because he gets handled a lot as the kids try to attach his feathers. I chose to set him up way in advance of the holiday so that my kids would spend time thinking on a daily basis about those things for which they are grateful. I don't want them to just think about it once a year on Thanksgiving. So Tom may stay up for a while. 

He came with a small picture book that describes his purpose. You can read it to your young children - they'll love the illustrations and rhyming story. And he also came with a set of blank feathers and a permanent marker. But I'll be honest, I decided to use dry-erase pens so that the kids could correct any mistakes and so we could use the feathers again next year. But if you visit their website, Turkey on the Table offers a variety of feather styles and other accessories.

Oh! And one of the best parts of him is that he's multilingual. Ha! You can write on his feathers in whatever language you wish.

Part of why he caught my eye at the store is that the company has partnered with the nonprofit Feeding America. According to the company's website:
To date, over 1 million meals have been donated through the efforts of Turkey on the Table. For each Turkey on the Table® kit purchased, Turkey on the Table donates one dollar to Feeding America on your behalf, which in turn helps secure ten meals.

So in buying this turkey kit, I managed to double the difference I am making. And that means a lot to me. 

Although I bought Tom at my local Michaels, you can find out more about him on this website: turkeyonthetable.com.

Just so you know: This is not a sponsored post in any way. I stumbled upon this lovely product on my own and paid for him out of my pocket as a gift for my family. I love this activity so much, I wanted to share with you...

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Printable Bilingual Thanksgiving Acrostic Poems & Freebie

More bilingual Thanksgiving goodness! Do you remember doing acrostic poems when you were a kid? Usually, our teacher would whip them out around Mother's Day. They even made a song about it. You remember:
"M" is for the million things she gave me
"O" means only that she's growing old
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me
"H" is for her heart of purest gold
"E" is for her eyes with love-light shining
"R" means right and right she'll always be
Put them all together they spell MOTHER...

They were one of my favorite activities as a child (and I think they still are!). They are fantastic for beginning writers because they develop writing skills and critical thinking. They're also great for language learners because students have to think in terms of relationships: What words associated with Thanksgiving begin with....? And it boosts vocabulary.

So just for fun, I've put together this packet of bilingual Thanksgiving acrostic poem templates. It includes directions and examples in both English and Spanish, as well as five different acrostic pages with prompts of varying length and difficulty. There's also a blank page to allow children to use their own focus word.

You can find it here in my TpT store or the MommyMaestra shop.

BUT because it is Thanksgiving and because I am thankful for you, dear readers, I have created a sample freebie for you to use. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Thanksgiving Activity Pack for Preschoolers in English & Spanish

I've been on a creative roll the last couple of weeks. Thanksgiving is possibly my favorite holiday, so I've been digging out all of my Thanksgiving decorations for the house. And although I can't stand to be cold (and, oh, has the wind been so bitterly cold!), I love autumn: the colors, the scents, the images!

My thoughts have been on that early Thanksgiving between the Native Americans and the English settlers. I think about how dreary life might have been for the English without reliable heat, with the loss of loved ones, with illness and starvation. I think about the wives and mothers who braved the long trip at sea to come to this unknown (to them) land and how much courage that must have taken...and how much fear probably accompanied it. Starting over is hard. I've done it several times now. Most recently a year ago when we moved, I hope for the final time, back to Texas.

I think about the generosity of Squanto and his tribe toward these new immigrants who were so very, very different. Even though the relationship between settlers and the indigenous people swiftly deteriorated and led to a complete conquering of several Indian nations, for this brief moment, things were peaceable and life was good between the two. This is the thought that I cling to these days: that people can be good if they choose to be. People can let go of fear and embrace love for themselves and others. Greed can be vanquished, because really, what good is it? We can't take anything with us when we die, except our soul. And, I sure hope that mine is good and reflects love.

Anyway, these thoughts and my creativity have spilled forth into new printables. The first is this Thanksgiving Activity Pack for Pre-K and Kindergarten. It focuses, of course, on those basic skills that our little ones must learn: counting, beginning sounds, letter recognition, new vocabulary, writing skills, and more. But it also quietly reflects friendship, working together, and generosity. I wish my baby boy was old enough to enjoy it now, but he still has a few years to go.

I know that there are quite a few of these available online, but how many are available in both English and Spanish?

I'll tell you about my other fun activity next time. For now, you can find this print-and-go download in my TpT store and MommyMaestra shop.


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fall & Thanksgiving Word Search in Spanish

Seriously, is Thanksgiving just a few weeks away?! Super thankful for MommyMaestra sponsor Spanish for You! who has created this free Thanksgiving-themed Spanish word search download that celebrates the holiday and helps your young Spanish learner boost their vocabulary!

This post contains affiliate links.

Fall & Thanksgiving Word Search in Spanish

Today's download is a word find that focuses on those words most commonly associated with Thanksgiving. As always, there is also an audio file to help your young student learn the proper pronunciation.


How to Use It

This is a quick, fun activity that will reinforce vocabulary for the season. Use it after your lesson or at the beginning of your next one to review what you previously covered. It's also a great activity while on the go - if you have to run errands, your child can take it with them and complete it on a car ride or in a waiting room.

Thanksgiving Books in Spanish!

You may also enjoy one or more of these Thanksgiving-themed books to supplement your Spanish learning.

by Luciana Reis

by Alma Flor Ada

by Joy Cowley

by Pat Mora

by Luciana Reis

An Affordable Homeschool Spanish Curriculum

Remember! Spanish for You!'s program is geared for middle schoolers and is the perfect choice for homeschoolers and afterschoolers alike because their concepts are carefully divided up into manageable bundles that are available for immediate download from their website.

If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Resources About Voting for Children

Tomorrow is a powerful day in our country. We hold in our hands the ability to change our country's history. So much is a terrible mess right now. And only we can make it better. How?


The only thing you can do that would be more important is to take your children with you when you vote. I took my boys with me to vote on Friday (early voting). The baby was a disaster, but it was an important lesson for my older son anyway. :)

Can you believe that less than 100 years ago, women and blacks didn't have the right to vote? LESS THAN 100 YEARS. That's not a lot of time. And people worked and suffered to change that. People risked their lives to earn that right for themselves and others.

Here are some excellent history lessons on voting that I found online. Use them this week with your students:

Other awesome (and bilingual!) resources

If you are looking for bilingual materials, check out these MommyMaestra favorites:

• icivics.org - This is a really awesome site with interactive games that teach children valuable lessons. And several of them are available in Spanish, such as Do I have a Right?/¿Tengo un derecho? and Immigration Nation/Nación de Inmigración. To play the games in Spanish, start the game and then click on "jugar en español" in the upper right corner. 

• MomsRising.org has free coloring pages in English and Spanish for kids waiting in voting lines! Teach them while keeping them entertained at the same time.

• Here's an excellent article by the New York Times: How Do You Talk to Children About Politics These Days? Try These Books.

And finally, my favorite bilingual resource comes from the talented author, Mariana Llanos. A few years ago she wrote a book, A Superpower for Me. It is lovely. I wrote about it here. And the best part is that it is also available in Spanish: Un Superpoder para mi (aff link). Here's the book trailer:

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Quick, No-Prep Day of the Dead Printables for Kids

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is only a few days away! Are you looking for quick, no-prep printables to introduce the holiday to your kids or students and to keep them busy? MommyMaestra has you COVERED!

Take a look at just some of the fabulous printables I have available (ALL of them in English AND Spanish!). The links below are to my TpT store, but you can also find them in my MommyMaestra shop. (Psst! If you buy directly from my shop, use the discount code DOD18 to get 25% off all Day of the Dead printables!)

Día de los Muertos Reading Passage

This is a one-page history on the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos. From where it is celebrated to the significance of the items closely associated with the holiday, this informational text is written for students in 4th - 8th grade. Includes an 8-question comprehension quiz plus answer key. 

Día de los Muertos Pre-K Activity Pack

Introduce your young students to the Día de los Muertos holiday with this fun activity pack! Available in English and Spanish with answer keys.

This pack includes:

- Number recognition (1-10)
- Find the difference
- Bigger vs. smaller
- Montessori nomenclature cards (English & Spanish)
- Book List of Day of the Dead Picture Books (Bilingual)
- Maze
- Tracing sheet
- Shadow match
- Vocabulary
- Writing sheets

Día de los Muertos Booklets

Celebrate and educate with this set of Day of the Dead booklets! This packet features three different styles of books: a flip book, an accordion book, and a booklet. Just choose the one that best suits your needs. 

All three are available... 
• in black-and-white or full color, 
• with descriptive text or blank to allow students to write inside, 
• and in English or Spanish.

Great for ESL, dual immersion, or Spanish learners. 

Write Your Own Calavera Poems

Teach your students about Calavera Poetry by having them create their own calavera poems! This activity includes a brief description of calavera poems, directions and graphic organizer for writing your own poem, sample calavera poems, and various Día de los Muertos writing pages. The directions and sample poems are in English only. The writing pages may be used in any language.

Día de los Muertos Ofrenda Labels

Is your class setting up an ofrenda this year? These labels help to explain to observers the various elements in the display. They may be used as framed posters or pinned to a display board.

In this packet, you’ll also find a set of small free-standing labels for each student to fill one out and place it next to the framed photograph(s) of their deceased loved one(s). These labels have space for the student to write the name, relationship, and likes/hobbies of the person being remembered.

Día de los Muertos Minibook

This minibook is an introduction to the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This book includes coloring pages of items most closely associated with the holiday, as well as brief descriptions in English and Spanish that are easy for young children to understand.

This file contains THREE books: 
• a bilingual book (English & Spanish)
• an English only (for ESL)
• a Spanish only (for Spanish learners)

Día de los Muertos Bilingual Puzzle Cards

For younger students, this set of bilingual Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)-themed puzzle cards is a simple way to introduce new vocabulary. 

The 7 cards feature items associated with Day of the Dead...in English and Spanish.

Just print, cut, shuffle, and have your students piece them back together. This activity it good for language learners and preschoolers. You can laminate them for added durability.

Día de los Muertos Ten Frames

Incorporate a little culture and have fun with math! This set of ten frames comes with Day of the Dead images, such as pan de muerto, papel picado, cempasuchitl, and more. Includes blank frames for additional ten frame activities. 

Día de los Muertos Triptychs

Teach your students about Day of the Dead - Día de los Muertos - with my triptychs.

For younger students: these triptych coloring pages can be used as stand-alone triptychs or as templates for aluminum crafts. This kit comes with three printable triptych designs.

For older students: the triptychs include an informational passage that talks about the tradition and some of the elements associated with it.

Day of the Dead - Día de los Muertos - Activity BUNDLE

Save! When you purchase this activity bundle for Día de los Muertos. Best suited for elementary students, first-year Spanish students, ESL, and bilingual or immersion students. 
This packet includes five of my Day of the Dead activities.


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