When it comes to Cinco de Mayo, many of us think of Mexican food and a good reason to have a party. While you’re munching down your nachos, have you ever stopped to think about why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Have you ever talked to your kids about the history of this day?
Before your festivities begin, take a few minutes to sit down with your children to explore the importance and implications of Cinco de Mayo.
Learn the Significance of Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is a day set aside to celebrate Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This was a surprise and symbolic battle victory during the Franco-Mexican War, celebrated locally as “El Día de la Batalla de Puebla.” A small Mexican army faced a much larger and undefeated French army to overcome the odds and pull out a decisive win as the underdogs.
Regardless of if your family’s heritage is rooted in Mexican culture or not, though, there is one critical lesson to be learned from Cinco de Mayo—never give up. Even when you are facing immense obstacles in life, you should never rule yourself out.
This lesson of never giving up applies unilaterally across your family from the youngest of children to the oldest of adults. The odds may be against you, you may feel as if you will never succeed, but there is always hope if you persevere and believe in yourself and your abilities. Failure is certain to happen along the way, but each of us is due our triumphant Day of the Battle of Puebla.
Celebrate with Festive Activities
Once you’ve discussed the historical and inspirational elements of Cinco de Mayo, now it’s time for the party! There are a multitude of fun activities you can do with your children, but here are three which will be both exciting and educational.
Repujado, Mexican metal art, is a traditional folk art in Mexico involving thin metal, such as tin, and a metal tool used to create images through embossing. Creativity is limitless with the blank canvas of this craft, and it opens the door for discussions on other Mexican artist traditions.
Try to learn the Mexican Hat Dance, Jarabe Tapatio, and enjoy laughs with your kids as you both attempt to master the beautiful choreography. So much fun can be had watching videos of this beloved Mexican dance and then trying to duplicate these dance steps with your children. As an added bonus, you get to burn off some of the calories from those nachos!
For some added fun at your Cinco de Mayo party, make your own pinata and then have fun trying to destroy it when you’re done. This is a great way to have fun with bright colors and another excuse to enjoy some sweet indulgences.
Have your children learn how to introduce themselves in Spanish. If speaking with peers, they will say, “¿Cómo te llamas?” (What is your name?) If they are asking an adult, they should phrase it formally and say, “¿Cómo se llama?” Their response should be, “Me llamo ____.” (My name is ____.) If your children are doing well with this, consider teaching them other common Spanish phrases.
Bond While Making Delicious Recipes
So many memories with our little ones are made in the kitchen. This Cinco de Mayo, get imaginative with ways to incorporate typical Mexican cuisine into kid-friendly meals. These three recipes are sure to not only taste delicious, but also create fun bonding time with your children in the process.
This quick and easy taco pizza uses simple, traditional Mexican ingredients to create a pizza that your kids can be proud to say they made themselves.
To quench their thirst in a new way, try this refreshing and kid-friendly watermelon agua fresca. This is a popular Mexican drink found in food stands and is well-loved across the country.
Of course, you can’t forget dessert! For those with a sweet tooth, these fun and creative ice cream tacos use Mexican flavors, such as chocolate and coconut, to construct a dessert resembling a taco. For some extra laughs, try serving this to the rest of your family without telling them what is in it!
In the fast-paced and oftentimes stressful lives we lead, it is crucial that we take every opportunity to have fun and make memories with our children. On this Cinco de Mayo, take a lesson from the brave soldiers who fought the Battle of Puebla and encourage your children to celebrate the victories in their lives, large or small, and don’t forget to do the same for yourself!