BAY CITY, Mich. -- Cinco de Mayo, also known as "El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla" (the Day of the Battle of Puebla), commemorates Mexico's unlikely victory over the French on May 5th, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican War. Mexico commemorates the holiday ceremoniously with military parades, but Cinco de Mayo is a larger celebration of Mexican culture in the United States and even other countries like Japan who celebrate Latin-American culture as a whole.
For parents, the holiday is a great opportunity to give your kids the chance to experience Mexican culture, and we at Graff Bay City have put together a list of 5 kids activities to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
1. LEARN SOME SPANISH
Starting your kids early learning a second language can be very beneficial to their mental and social development, as bilingual children have been shown to possess better critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as greater mental flexibility and mindfulness of those from different cultural backgrounds. Spanish is not only one of the easiest languages for a native English-speaker to learn, but it's also one of the most practical, as it is spoken by over 400 million people making it the world's second most spoken language, as well as an official national language of 21 countries including the United States.
Similarly to English, Spanish has roots in Latin. When you start to dive a little into the language, you'll find that there are actually a lot of familiar-sounding words, Americans sometimes even use Spanish words as part of our everyday slang without even thinking about it! Additionally, Spanish is a phonetic language, meaning that the words are often pronounced how they're spelled making it easy to sound them out.
There are tons of resources out there to learn Spanish with your kids, like apps for your tablet or smartphone and educational websites on the Internet that often offer videos and practice exercises. You could also get a little artsy by giving your child a word like "gato" (cat) or "perro" (dog) and having them draw a picture of it with the Spanish word written underneath. This will help facilitate learning as having pictures in their head with which to associate their new vocabulary makes things easier.
2. PAPER BAG PINATAS
It isn't a true Mexican celebration without a pinata. Although making one the traditional way will more than likely end up with you running up to Party City to grab one that's already made. Instead, give these super easy DIY paper bag pinatas a try!
3. MEXICAN HAT DANCE
"El Jarabe Tapatio", aka the Mexican Hat Dance, is a traditional cultural dance originating in Mexico, but also popular in other countries such as Cuba, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. It's also a fun and interactive way to expose your kids to Latin-American culture! You could also incorporate an arts & crafts element to it by creating homemade maracas, a traditional Mexican instrument, to use in the dance.
4. SET UP A TACO BAR
While the exact origin of the taco is unknown, some historians theorize roots in the Mexican silver mines in the 18th century, when the word referred to small explosive charges used for excavation, consisting of gunpowder wrapped in paper. Another theory states that it comes from the Nauhatl (the language spoken by the indigenous Aztec people) "tlahco", meaning "half" or "in the middle", which makes sense given the food's preparation and presentation.
Regardless of how they came to be, tacos are a traditional Mexican cultural food enjoyed in many countries, and no Cinco de Mayo celebration would be complete without them! Add an educational aspect by labeling each ingredient, and facilitate discussion in Spanish by using these phrases:
5. LEARN ABOUT MEXICAN HISTORY
Given the origins of Cinco de Mayo, there's no better way to celebrate than to educate your kids on the history of Mexico. There are tons of kid-friendly resources online to utilize, as well as historical picture books. Much like bilingual children, those who are exposed to a culture and history different from their own benefit greatly both socially and mentally with reinforced values of acceptance, open-mindedness, and compassion.
Graff Bay City hopes you'll take advantage of these 5 kids activities to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Learning about other cultures, no matter how you do it, is not only a lot of fun but also a great way to instill values of cultural awareness and acceptance of others in your kids. We wish you a happy, safe, and most importantly fun Cinco de Mayo!
Hank Graff Chevy is located at 3636 Wilder Road, Bay City, MI 48706 and we are here to help our community grow to become an even better place to call home! For more information on Hank Graff Chevrolet, or for any questions call us at (989) 684-4411 or visit our website: www.GraffBayCity.com.