The 10 Best Cinco de Mayo Activities for Kids in 2022
Are you looking for some of the best Cinco de Mayo activities for kids this year? While it isn't a major Mexican holiday, it's become a big celebration of Mexican heritage and culture in the United States.
So, we wanted to create a list of fun Cinco de Mayo activities kids and families will love, like eating Mexican food, listening to Mexican music, playing games, crafts, and more.
What is Cinco de Mayo?
Cinco de Mayo celebrates the day the Mexican Army defeated the French Army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, during the Franco-Mexican War. While many people think that it celebrates Mexican independence, it only commemorates one battle.
Benito Juarez, an attorney, and member of the Zapotec tribe was elected as the Mexican president in 1861. After years of internal conflict, the country faced financial ruin, so it defaulted on debt payments to multiple European governments.
As a result, Spain, Britain, and France sent ships to demand repayment. While Spain and Britain withdrew their military after negotiating with Mexico, Napoleon III of France decided to attack, going after Mexico City.
He led an armed French fleet to Veracruz, causing the president and his government to flee. And long story short, the 6,000 French troops marched towards Puebla de Los Angelos after the president and the only 2,000 men he rounded up to fight.
The battle didn't even last 24 hours. The French retreated, having lost almost 500 men, while the Mexicans only lost less than 100. The battle represented a symbolic victory for Mexico, and with the help of American forces and political pressure, the French finally withdrew.
Today, Mexican-Americans celebrate with parties, mariachi music, folk dancing, and eating Mexican food like tacos, chili peppers, mole poblano, and more.
What Do You Do for Cinco de Mayo for Kids?
Here are some fun Cinco de Mayo activities for kids that everyone will love.
Bake Sombrero Cookies
Since sombreros are an important part of Mexican culture, baking sombrero cookies is the perfect activity. You just need pre-made sugar cookies or sugar cookie dough, frosting in piping bags or plastic bags with the corner cut out, and cookie decorating supplies.
Bake the cookies per the directions if you need to, and put the frosting in the bags to make icing the cookies easy. Let the kids have fun decorating them with sprinkles, gumdrops, and other delicious treats.
Make Fiesta Magnets
Another fun craft activity for kids is making Fiesta Magnets.
What you need:
• Red, green, and white felt
• Red, green, white paint
• Miniature pom poms
• Sticky-backed magnetic strips
First, cut the felt in a variety of shapes. If the kids need it, help them trace and cut more complicated shapes like sombreros, cactuses, suns – essentially anything Mexican-related. Then let the kids decorate magnets using the paint and materials. Once their creations have dried, you can peel the paper from the magnets and stick them to the back of their felt designs.
Play the Taco Spinner Game
JDaneie4's Mom has this neat taco spinner game with a printable to help make it one of the most fun Cinco de Mayo activities for kids. It's a texture learning activity for children.
What you need:
• Black or dark blue buttons
• Orange, green, black, and red felt
• Green construction paper
• Foam sheets
• Small yellow mailing envelopes
Draw an arc on the yellow envelopes to cut out. Since the envelopes have two sides that are connected by part of the envelope, it makes the perfect taco. You could use a folded piece of tan or yellow construction paper too.
Cut the construction paper, foam sheets, and felt (except the red felt) into wavy strips to make taco ingredients. Cut half circles out of the red and then two triangles out of each half, so they look like tomatoes.
Then cut the green construction paper and black felt into cloud shapes to represent lettuce. The black buttons are for olives, and the black felt is the taco meat.
Then create a spinner on a circle with pictures of the different ingredients. Take turns spinning to see what ingredients to add to your paper tacos.
Make Flan Treats
Flan is a popular Mexican dessert, so get the whole family involved in creating flan treats. Making flan is one of the best Cinco de Mayo activities for kids and parents. This flan recipe is authentic and delicious.
Cinco de Mayo Vocabulary Go Fish
If you're looking for activities for your students at school, create a Go Fish Vocabulary game based on Cinco de Mayo. This game is one of the best Cinco de Mayo activities for kids.
What you'll need:
• A list of vocabulary words based on Cinco de Mayo
• Blank note cards
This activity helps kids remember new vocabulary words by associating them with a picture of the object. Give each child a blank notecard for each word. And, as you introduce each vocabulary word, have them draw a picture of it and write the word at the bottom of the card.
Then collect all the cards and shuffle them all together. Distribute four cards to each kid and place the rest of the cards in the middle of the table.
Each child takes turns asking a specific player for a vocabulary card. If that person has the card, they give it to the first player. If they don't have it, the first player must go fish and draw a new card from the stack in the middle.
The game continues until there are no more cards to draw.
Paper Bag Pinatas
What better way to celebrate the holiday than making simple pinatas?
What you'll need:
• Tissue paper
• Paper bags
• Things to fill the pinatas, like toys and candy
No celebration would be complete without pinatas, and it's easy to make your own. Making a traditional pinata is hard, so luckily, we found this simple way.
You can do it at home or for a class. First, the kids fill the paper bags. Then decorate them with tissue paper.
Glue on streamers and fringes made from various colored tissue paper. Add string so you can tie them up and bust them open.
Cook a Mexican-themed Supper
Cooking a Mexican-themed supper is one of the best Cinco de Mayo activities for kids. Get the whole family involved with prepping and cooking it.
Some of the best traditional Mexican foods include:
• Mexican Street Tacos
• Mole Poblano
See these and other great recipes in our article on the best Cinco de Mayo foods to celebrate the holiday with delicious food.
You could also create a taco bar with all the fixings like sour cream, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, etc. A taco bar makes the perfect inexpensive party food, and everyone can customize their own tacos with a variety of toppings.
Make Maracas and Play the Mexican Hat Dance
Maracas are a common Mexican musical instrument, and you can make some easily from plastic Easter eggs and plastic spoons. Simply fill the plastic eggs with rice for the rattle sound, and then place the egg between two plastic spoons and tape the handles together.
Once the maracas are made, play a recording of the Mexican hat dance, and you can play the maracas to the music.
Read a Book to Celebrate
Reading a book is another one of the greatest Cinco de Mayo activities for kids. Here are some fun books to consider reading with your kids or students:
• Cinco de Mayo by Mary Dodson Wade
• Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds
• Mouse-O! by Judy Cox
• Dragons Love Tacos by Daniel Salmieri
You could even get your kids a gift card to the bookstore and pick out Cinco de Mayo books ahead of time. Or get a gift card to a Mexican restaurant and or take the whole family out to celebrate if you don't feel like cooking any of the dishes above.
Make Some Mexican-Inspired Snacks
Whether you plan to have a party or just celebrate Cinco de Mayo at home with your family, making some Mexican snacks is a great idea.
You could make appetizers like:
• Nachos Supreme
• Beef Empanadas
• Queso Fundido
• Homemade Tostadas
• Spicy Refried Bean Dip
You'll find these dishes and many more over at Delish.
Final Thoughts on Cinco de Mayo Activities for Kids
We hope you love some of these fun Cinco de Mayo activities when you want ways to celebrate at home or in the classroom. Cinco de Mayo is a great way to celebrate the Mexican culture and spend time with family and friends.
Any one of these activities would be the perfect way to teach your kids about Cinco de Mayo while still having fun. It's the best way to learn the Spanish vocabulary and play games that promote learning. Or eat a family meal and create memories inspired by the brave actions of the people that came before us.
Celebrating this culture is incredibly important as there are many proud Mexican-Americans today.