Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Día de los Muertos Activities & Lesson Plans for Children

Día de los Muertos is just a few days away. So for all of you mamis and papis out there looking for a few good ideas on how to educate your children about the holiday, here are a few of my favorite sites that are full of videos, activities, arts and crafts for children.

Once again, takes first place. They have put together a most excellent site on Day of the Dead, which includes articles, videos and slideshows on everything from José Guadalupe Posada to Día de los Muertos flashcards. They also have one of the most comprehensive downloadable education packages for students on the internet. It is filled with great activities for children that teachers or parents can use to celebrate the holiday, and includes word finds, mix and match puzzles, coloring pages, a papel picado template, etc.

Teachers will especially love MrDonn’s site. He has several lesson plans on it, but you should especially check out the free presentations in Power Point format!

And don’t forget Yuyi Morales’ site related to her book series featuring Señor Calavera. In addition to a downloadable lesson plan, the site also has several arts and craft projects for los niños, including how to make a mask, puppet and animation. So don’t skip!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Día de los Muertos is Around the Corner!

Last year I spent the month of October celebrating Día de los Muertos on Mi Cielito Lindo. This year, I'm at it again. I hope you enjoy the activities and products I've found to help you celebrate our holiday!

To begin, let's just catch up on what exactly it is we are celebrating....

A blending of ancient Aztec and Spanish Catholic beliefs, Dia de los Muertos is a holiday that is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd in conjunction with All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. It is basically a time during which we remember our family members and other loved ones who have passed away.

Despite its Mexican roots, the holiday is now celebrated throughout the world in various forms, but most especially in Spanish-speaking countries. Individuals celebrate the day in a variety of ways. Some visit the cemetery to clean and decorate graves. The decorations may consist of flowers – especially orange marigolds – and other "ofrendas" (offerings) such as toys, drinks, candies and trinkets.

These ofrendas are laid out in homes as well, where small altars are often erected for the occasion. The altars are not to worship, but rather a tribute or way to remember and honor the deceased’s memory. They are generally decorated with items such as the loved one’s photograph, candles, favorite foods and drinks, memorabilia, a Christian cross, images of la Virgen, etc. Skeletons placed upon the altar are intended to be silly and humorous, not scary or lacking in respect. In fact, it is believed that the dead consider it disrespectful to be greeted at the altar by a grieving friend/family.

Several children's books have been written with Día de los Muertos as the topic. In fact, the Latin Baby Book Club's Libro del Mes is Calavera Abecedario by Jeanette Winter (shown above.) It is a lively story based on a real artistic family in Mexico. To check out their review of this book, click here.

Other fabulous Día de los Muertos related children's books include Yuyi Morales' Just a Minute: An Trickster Tale and Counting Book and it's companion book, Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book; Luis San Vicente's Festival of Bones/El Festival de las Calaveras; and Tony Johnston's Day of the Dead.

Attention All Business Owners!

We are pleased to announce that the second annual Holiday Gift Guide for Latino Families is now accepting product listings. Many independent businesses are struggling this holiday shopping season, so once again, Latin Baby has decided to put together the Gift Guide as an affordable opportunity for businesses to showcase their products. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive shopping resource geared specifically for Hispanic families.

The holidays are quickly approaching, so if you might possibly be interested in joining me in this venture, you can get more details by visiting this link to our site.
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