Mexico is a beautiful and vibrant country with rich and interesting history. Influences of the ancient Aztecs and Myans and the Spanish influences after they invaded in the 16th century have resulted in amazing art and traditions still seen today.
Our mini-explorers enjoyed our crafts and games at the Mexican culture for kids session.
Mexico is associated with vibrant festivals, one of the most famous is diagnosed design last Murton, otherwise known as the day of the dead. This celebration focuses on family gatherings to honour their ancestors. Often they will make sugar skulls, get together to eat and drink.
This festival is celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November, and dated back to the Aztecs. Originally it was celebrated in the summer but when the Spanish conquered Mexico, they moved it to Autumn. It is a national holiday in Mexico and it is even taught in schools.
We created day of the dead masks, the children loved colouring these in! The masks were printed, I found these at Happy thought 😊. It was difficult to find an easy tutorial for the creation of the tissue paper flowers, so I created these cutting a circle from folded tissue paper. I then pushed a split pin through the centre of this circle and scrunched up the layers to create a flower. The flower can then be attached to the mask by pushing the pin through the mask and then opened out at the back.
This was my favourite craft of the day, Mexican tin art! Mexican folk art is the name given to creations by peasants or craftsmen who have no formal artistic training. This type of art is a blend of the indigenous Aztecs and Mayan cultures with the Spanish cultures. There is much variety in Mexican folk art, as there are lots of raw materials available in the country and much diversity within the different communities.
One of the most beautiful is tin art. It can be punched, stamped, painted and cut into decorative and functional items, such as mirrors and so on.
I created this craft with a foil baking try. I turned it over and embossed my design by drawing on the tray with the opposite end of a paint brush. Once the design was complete, I coloured the tray with sharpies! And adorned it with glitter glue and sequins. Often this type of art was religious in theme, Mexico is a strongly Catholic country, and this was the inspiration for this design 😊
Pinatas are inconic for Mexico! Pinatas can be found in all shapes and sizes. It is a container made with papier-mache, pottery or cloth. They are decorated in bright colours a day filled with candy. They are to be broken as part of a celebration or ceremony.
The Spanish brought this tradition to Mexico when they invaded in the 16th century. But the Aztecs already had a similar tradition of creating a pottery container a day filling g it with treasure. This would then be broken at the foot of the statues of their gods as an offering to them.
We created mini pinatas from toilet roll tubes. Tissue paper was taped to the bottom and fringed crepe paper glued on the sides. A piece of string was taped to the tissue paper so that it can be easily pulled and the contents fall out. Another piece of string was attached at the top for hanging. They were filled with sweets and confetti 🙂
Pinatas are used in a variety of celebrations and ceremonies, and at Christmas time they are filled with peanuts and oranges. This is jade’s creation looking beautiful on our Christmas tree!
Few hats in the world are more famous than the sombre room. In Spanish it literally means ‘shadower’. It is a wide brimmed hat with a string strap to hold it on under the chin.
The first people known to wear them were workers in Mexico, used to keep the summer off them when they were working. Sombreros used by workers were woven from straw whereas gentleman would have felt versions made, in grey, brown or tan. Many believe the cowboy hat was inspired by the Sombrero.
We created mini sombreros with red paper plates and Styrofoam cups, which was glued upside down onto the plate. The children could then decorate them with felt tips and pipe cleaners and pompoms were glued around the rim.
The cactus generally lives dry places prone to drought such as deserts. They come in all shapes and sizes from round and short to thin and tall. The ancient Aztecs often depicted ted cacti in many of they sculptures and drawings. Even Mexico’s national coat of arms shows an eagle, a snake, and a cactus.
We created cactus models with the all time favourite activity, play doh!
This week we also intoduced games to the group. We hid ancient Aztec symbols in the ball pool and posted a corresponding symbol on the wall next to it. The children could the hunt for the symbols and match them on the wall. This proved very popular with the older children 😊
For the younger ones I created a ribbon sensory box. I attached different types of ribbon and wool so the babies could explore the different textures.
Thanks for reading 😊 would love to hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions