May 5th is the day most Hispanics celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It’s a day when Mexicans celebrate the 1862 victory over the French army. This is a national holiday in Mexico, but here in the states, it’s a time to learn about Hispanic/Mexican heritage and culture. It’s also a time for celebration and fun. Here are a few crafts to make at home with the kids.
Brown bag pinata
Hispanic people use pinatas during birthdays and all kinds of festive occasions. This tradition has become popular with non-Hispanic families as well.
First take brightly colored tissue paper and cut it into 3-inch wide strips. Fringe these strips. Start at the bottom of a brown grocery bag and start gluing the strips around the bag. Glue the next strip so that the fringe comes down and covers the glued area of the first strip. Put the strips around the bag in a layered fashion until it is completely covered. Add crepe paper streamers to hang along the sides and from the bottom of the bag.
At the top of the bag, punch holes around the top edge about 2-inches apart. Thread ribbon or heavy-duty yarn through these holes. Fill the bag with small toys and candies. Pull the ribbons up securely and knot. Use these long ribbon ends to tie the pinata in a high and open area to play the game.
Blindfold the children and give them a stick (broom handle or safer yet, a plastic baseball bat) to swat and break the pinata. Gather the goodies as they fall!
Stuffed animals or animalitos
Animalitos (little animals) are made from handwoven cloth. The fabric is usually bright in color with stripes. The animal shapes are of dogs, rabbits, and donkeys. To make a paper replica, take white paper and cut two shapes of the same animal. Use crayons or markers to color the vibrant stripes. With the bright sides out, staple around the edges leaving an opening for stuffing. Insert cotton balls, or fiberfill material inside. Add loops of yarn for tails and a top loop for hanging. Finish stapling the animal shut. As a variation, use striped wallpaper, gift wrap paper or fabric.
Hispanic metal works
Hispanic metal smiths have been prized artisans for centuries. Tin can be easily shaped and then the artists paint designs onto the surface. Make a fun version by cutting a large shape from a piece of corrugated cardboard. Wrap with aluminum foil. Use a hole punch and punch holes to create a design. Or, an adult can poke holes into the shape using a large nail. Markers can be used to add vibrant colors, lines, and dots. Thread a piece of yarn for hanging.
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