Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Preschoolers

As we head into May and the end of this long, long, looooong year of homeschooling for my family, I find myself scraping the barrel for new and unique ideas for lesson plans. Fortunately for me, the beginning of May plays host to Cinco de Mayo, the perfect blend of history, traditions and celebration. What better opportunity to learn about another culture and have ourselves a little pre-summer party? 

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with PreschoolersCinco de Mayo History Lessons

While I love a fun celebration and a good theme, I wanted to make sure that we were honoring the holiday and the people behind it, and that starts and ends with learning about its history. Cinco de Mayo should not be confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, which happens in September, or the ever popular Dia de los Muertos on November 1st. It’s the annual celebration honoring General Ignacio Zaragoza and the Mexican Army’s victory over the French forces of Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It was a David vs. Goliath triumph against a much larger or better equipped French contingent, helping slow their advance towards Mexico City. The battle became a symbol of Mexican resistance against foreign domination and imperialism, and its holiday is often celebrated by Americans of Mexican descent as a way of honoring their heritage.  

For some fun preschool-aged books on the holiday, check out::

Cuisine

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with PreschoolersAs a true Texan, no celebration would be complete without some delicious food, especially not Cinco de Mayo. I love taking the opportunity to feast on the fabulous flavors of Mexican cuisine, but with two very picky children the menu becomes a little trickier. They love tortillas, chips and queso, but that’s generally where they draw the line. Whereas my husband and I enjoy sampling traditional fare like Mole and Napolitos {a catus dish}, my children would prefer to stick to their preferred chicken nuggets. So this year we got a little creative and drew on some authentic Mexican flavors to create some Cinco de Mayo inspired smoothies! After some experimentation, our favorite blend was a mixture of lime, avocado and mango. I even poured them into plastic margarita glasses with sprinkles for “salt” around the edge. Add that to a chips and salsa bar and some tres leches cake and I had an instant a crowd pleaser on my hands! Fun, festive and a delightful way to experience the flavors of another culture.

Music Appreciation 

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with PreschoolersAnd what would a fiesta be without music? In our quest to learn more about Cinco de Mayo celebrations, my boys and I chose to listen to some traditional Mexican bands. We watched YouTube videos of musicians performing in Cinco de Mayo parades and talked about the different instruments we saw them playing. We even made our own maracas out of plastic Easter eggs, spoons and brightly colored tape to replicate the brilliant colors of the holiday’s festivals. It was a blast watching my kids “play” their instruments along with the musicians in the videos. Music has a way of bringing people together across all cultures and nationalities and was perhaps my children’s’ favorite way of honoring the Mexican holiday. 

We had so much fun learning about Mexico and Cinco de Mayo this year. My kids enjoyed it so much I’m thinking about diving into more lessons on other nations and their cultural celebrations for the final month of the school year. After all, we deserve more fetes, fests and fiestas after the year we’ve had, am I right?!


 

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Lauren M. is a native Houstonian who now lives one street over from the house where she grew up in Sugar Land. After a brief fling with Austin where she received her Bachelors Degree in English Lit from Southwestern University, she returned home to attempt to write the great American novel {or, you know, the next Harry Potter series}. A short while later a friend recruited her for a kickball league where she met a tall, handsome engineer who quite literally swept her off her feet. After tying the knot in 2014, they soon welcomed their first son Raleigh {October 2015}, and little brothers Renner {January 2018} and Rafe {September 2021}. When not chasing around her three crazy Texas tornados and reveling in the boy mom life, Lauren has discovered a newfound passion for photography and Photoshop, creating whimsical family portraits at @andwhetherpigshavewings on Instagram. You can also find her at @polyjuiceandpixiedust .

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