In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about Mexico. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Mexico topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.
Classroom Activities for Teaching About Writing a Paragraph
Día de los Muertos
As an alternative to celebrating Halloween, observe Día de los Muertos with your students on November 1st. The week before, have your students prepare by researching different traditions and customs of Día de los Muertos. Invite students who have celebrated Día de los Muertos to share their experiences with the class. Students can talk about their ancestors and people they would like to honor during the celebration. Then have students create costumes and pictures and paintings to decorate the classroom. If possible, students can make pan de muerto, the traditional food eaten during Día de los Muertos. This would be a good opportunity to teach math and measurement skills. Alternately, you can purchase pan de muerto in specialty stores and in some major grocery stores.
Spanish and English
Remind your students that many English words come from Spanish words. Have individuals or pairs browse a Spanish-English dictionary either in the library or on the Internet. Students can make a list of English words and their Spanish counterparts and present their words to the class. They may wish to draw pictures to illustrate their words and label them in both English and Spanish.
To celebrate Mexico, hold a Mexican feast or potluck for your class. Discuss different foods from Mexico, not only items such as burritos and tacos, but fruits and vegetables that originally came from the country. Students can research in the library or on the Internet to learn more about indigenous fruits and vegetables to Mexico. Pineapples, papaya, guava, avocado, tomatoes, vanilla bean, and cacao beans are just a few fruits and vegetables that have come from Mexico. Students can also research food that is typically on a Mexican table, such as tortillas and beans. Have students prepare food and bring it in to share with the class. Students can present on what ingredients went into their dish and, if possible, have students say or write the ingredients in both English and Spanish.
There are many engaging Mexican folktales that have been passed down for hundreds of years. Some discuss how elements in nature, such as the Sun and moon, came to be, while others teach about the importance of honesty. As a reading link, have students check out books on Mexican folklore from the library or research them on the Internet. Students can share folktales and even act them out in front of the class.
Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Mexico
Learn a Language
Together with your child, learn Spanish or another language. Children learn languages quickly and introducing different languages at an early age will help your child improve their language, reading, and speaking skills and help them learn about other cultures. You can purchase easy language programs on CD or DVD geared toward children or you can borrow them from your local library. To help you and your child learn a new language, label items around your home in both English and the other language and try to use the words in a sentence.
Together with your child, look closely at the Mexican flag. What do the colors represent? What does the emblem in the center symbolize? Have your child research the flag’s history and what it represents to Mexico. If possible, accompany your child to a Cinco de Mayo or Mexican Independence Day celebration. Many communities offer programs or kid-friendly festivals to honor the holidays. Together read books and research information about the holiday and discuss its importance to Mexico.
Mexico’s history goes back thousands of years. Discuss important events in Mexican history and create a timeline that stretches across the floor or along a hallway wall. You can use removable masking tape to create the line. Then have your child research, write, and illustrate a paragraph on an important event in Mexican history and tape it to the floor. Each week your child can add to the timeline. Each day you and your child can walk through Mexico’s history.