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Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  It is celebrated in Mexico and in Mexican American communities in the U. S.

Your children may not understand the history of the celebration but they can help celebrate the day.
Take a clean toilet tissue tube and cut it into four or five cardboard bracelets.
Have your children paint one or two bracelet rings.
When the bracelets are dry, have your child glue large pinto beans on the bracelets.
Using a cardboard bracelet ring from the activity above.  Have your child wrap small rectangles of aluminum foil around the ring, creating a silver bracelet.
Set out 4” x 3” pieces of aluminum foil.  Show your child how to roll the pieces into long pieces of chain.  These chain can be linked together to make bracelets and necklaces.
Set out other pieces of foil for your child to experiment with in creating his own jewelry pieces.
Give your child three or four large squares of different colored tissue paper.  Approx. 6” x 6”.
Have your child stack the squares on top of each other.
Show your child how to fold the paper like a fan (accordion style).
Help your child wrap a twist tie around the center of the folded papers.
Have child separate the layers of the flower by pulling layers down, starting with the outside layer.
Variation:  If your children are unable to fold the tissue paper like a fan, you can have them fold the paper into 1/4ths and tie a chenille around the center point for them.

This can be an individual or a group project.
Set out a large sheet of black paper, some dish scrubbers, some tempera paint in shallow pans.
Show your child how to dip a dish scrubber in a paint pan and then lightly touch them to the paper to make “fireworks” prints.
Have child or children continue until the paper is filled with exploding fireworks.
Variation:  Instead of using dish scrubbers, you might want to try using sprigs of parsley, dillweed or Queen Anne’s lace (or other multivained wildflower).
You will need, coffee filters, washable markers, a chenille stem and some tape for this activity.

Give your child three round coffee filters and some washable markers.
Have your child color the filters as bright and colorful as they can.
Next, have them spray some water onto the filters and watch the colors run together.
When the filters are dry, stack the filters on top of one another.
Next, fold the stack in half and then in half again.
Now lay a chenille stem near the bottom point of the folded filters and wrap the filters around the stem.
Now, tape the filters to the chenille stem.
Let your child help you gently spread the folds of the colorful flower open.
Use the flower to decorate your house or classroom for Cinco de Mayo.
– Look for sun art activities at the Art Station. Most sun art activities are appropriate for celebrating Mexican heritage and Cinco de Mayo.
Give each child a white or brown paper lunch sack.
Have them decorate the bags with bright colorful lines and dots or however they wish.
Set out some 8” squares of newspaper.
Have each child crumble some newspaper squares and stuff them into her bags.
Let each child place a handful of candy in their bag.
Have them twist the top of their bags and tie a string around the top to secure.
Hang the individual bags from a string across your room.
Let children take turns trying to open their bag with a plastic bat during your Fiesta.
Set out 12" x 18" pieces of light construction paper or tissue paper in assorted bright colors.
Show your children how to take a piece of paper and fold it in half and then in half again.
Set out some scissors and have your children cut out small notches along the folded sides of their papers. (Like they do when cutting snowflakes.)
Open the finished rectangles and flatten the paper back out.
Hang these across the middle of your room (taped on string) or taped around the edges of the room for a festive look.
You will need an empty paper towel tube for each child for this activity, plus green, white and red tissue paper.
Cut the tissue paper into 1” strips.
Set out the tubes and some glue.
Have your children cover their tube with glue, then wrap a green, a white and an red strip around the outside of their tube.
When dry, have children tape or glue multiple strips of tissue paper coming out of one end of their tube.
Children can use these wands for dancing or for waving in the Cinco de Mayo classroom parade.
Set out brown, red and green playdough and let your children make pottery animals or small bowls.
Set your children’s creations out on display for everyone to enjoy.
Here is an easy way to make classroom maracas.
Set out two small drink cups for each child to decorate with marking pens.

When done, have children place (approx. 10 small beans into one of their cups.)

Then, help children place the empty cup on top of the bean cup and tape  around the middle of the two cups.
Small tissue paper streamers can also be taped to the two ends.
Children love shaking their maracas.
Here is a simple Cinco de Mayo activity for your children.
Give each child a 12” x 18” piece of white construction paper
Then give them each a 12” x 6” piece of green and red paper.
Have children glue the green piece of paper on the left side of their white paper and the red piece on the right side of their paper.
Children will end up with a tri-colored flag.
Cinco de Mayo stickers could be added to the white middle section if desired.
Set out a small bowl of large kidney beans.
Set out some index cards that the numerals 1-6 have been written.
Let your children take turns placing the same number of beans on the cards as the numerals indicate.

Set out a large Mexican hat.
Let children take turns tossing a small bean bag (or poker chip) at the hat.Let children take turns tossing a small bean bag (or poker chip) at the hat.
Children see how many bags or chips they can get to land on the brim or top of the hat.
Play your favorite color games using the Spanish names for common colors.
Red = Rojo  (ROE-ho)
Orange = Naranja  (nah-RAHN-hah)
Yellow = Amarillo  (ah-maw-REE-yo)
Green = Verde  (VAIR-day)
Blue = Azul  (ah-SOOL)
Purple = Morado  (morr-AH-doe)
White = Blanca  (BLAHN-kah)
Black = Negro  (NAY-grow)
Place a Mexican hat on the floor.
Have your children stand in a circle around the hat.
Choose one child to be “it”.
  Have this child put on the hat and do a special dance movement.
  The rest of the children try to imitate the dancer in the middle.

Variation:  Just have your children all stand around the hat and dance to Mexican music.
Variation:  Children take turns dancing around the hat while the others watch.

Explain to your children that Mexican jumping beans are beans that have a small caterpillar pupa inside.  When the caterpillar gets warm it twitches or jumps and makes the bean move.
Have children roll up into small beans.
Have them pretend that they are getting hotter and hotter.
Finally, they start twitching and when they get really hot, have them start jumping around.
Variation:  Play some Mexican music for your children to twitch and jump to.  When the music stops, have children roll back up into quiet beans.
Now would be a great time to teach your children some simple Spanish words.
Make a list of Spanish words your children already know on a large chart.
Each day add new words with pictures if possible.
Have children practice the color words found in the Game section.
Teach your children how to count to six in Spanish.
One = Uno  (OO-no)
Two = Dos  (Doce)
Three = Tres  (Traice)
Four = Cuatro (KWA-tro)
Five = Cinco (SEEN-co)
Six = Seis  (Sace)



  • Cut three firm bananas lengthwise.
  • Fry bananas in a pan at medium low for 6 minutes in 3 tsp. margarine.
  • Turn the bananas over when they are golden brown on one side.
  • Cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Cut into bite size samples for your children to taste.


  • Cut 4 small corn tortillas into eights.
  • Place on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until crisp.
  • Serve warm with salsa or guacamole.


  • Place four tortilla chips on each small paper plate.
  • Let children sprinkle some cheddar cheese on top of their chips.
  • One at a time, place plate with chips and cheese in microwave and cook for 15 seconds (or until the cheese just starts to melt).


  • Set out some warmed taco shells, a bowl of bean dip, a bowl of shredded cheese, a bowl of chopped tomatoes, and a bowl of lettuce.
  • Have each child take a taco shell, then spoon in some bean dip, cheese, lettuce and tomato.
Let your children help you plan a mini Mexican Fiesta for Cinco de Mayo.
Decorate your room with pictures, banners and flowers.
Plan a fun snack.
Make Placemats  (you could cover paper flags with clear contact paper).
Plan some games and dances.
Play some Mexican music.
Have children bring in items from Mexico to share.
Let children break their individual pinatas or buy a commercial one for your class.
Form a Mariachi Band and sing Cinco de Mayo songs.

Let your children help you plan a holiday parade to share with others.
Put Mexican flags on sticks to carry.
Make Mexican Dance streamers to wave.
Let children shake their maracas.
Let some children pretend to play guitars as they march.
Let children wear any jewelry they have made.
Ponchos could be made by cutting head holes in large squares of material.
Sing the Parade song as you march along.

Tune:  “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again”

The children are marching all around, Hooray! Hooray!
They are marching in a Parade, Today.
Some wave streamers and some wave flags.
Some carry Pinatas made from bags.
Oh, we’re oh so glad that they could come today.

The children are marching all around, Hooray! Hooray!
The children are dancing as they come our way.
Some shake marachas, oh what fun.
Some play guitars as they come.
Oh, we’re oh so glad, it’s Cinco de Mayo Day.
                                                Jean Warren

Tune:  “Yankee Doodle”

Cinco de Mayo was the time
The battle we won.
Now we honor those brave men,
Each and every one.

Lite the lanterns in the square.
Watch the fireworks, late.
Sing and dance the whole night through.
It’s time to celebrate!
                                    Jean Warren

Tune:  “Three Blind Mice”

Cinco de Mayo,
Cinco de Mayo.
Don’t be late
To celebrate!
Time to dance around the square.
Time for flowers in your hair.
Time for lanterns everywhere.
Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo.
                        Jean Warren

Tune:  “The Farmer In The Dell”

Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo.
It is the 5th of May.
Cinco de Mayo.

We’ll have some fun,
Each and everyone.
We will dance and sing and play
For the battle we have won!

Jean Warren

Sung to:  “B I N G O”

There’s a day in early May
And its name is Cinco de Mayo
C I N C O, C I N C O, C I N C O,
And its name is Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco means the number 5
And Mayo means May.
C I N C O, C I N C O, C I N C O,
And its name is Cinco de Mayo.
                                Adapted Traditional
                                By Jean Warren