While Latinos across the country have more opportunities this month to share their own culture, celebrating our Hispanic heritage should truly be a year round adventure to help our children find the comfort and beauty of our rich cultures.
So if you are looking for ways to celebrate Hispanic heritage every day, here are some of our suggestions:
READ In recent years, there has been an upsurge of Latino children’s literature. And even though we really need more titles that reflect the diversity of Latino culture, many great books have been written. Mamiverse has published a number of articles recommending bilingual and bicultural books for children, so be sure to check out our favorites for poetry, preschoolers, food, holidays, and other Latino-themed books.
DANCE From samba and mambo to bossa nova and mariachi, there is a vast array of Latin American music. One of my favorite ways to teach culture is with movement and music. Latin Playground by Putumayo is a fun album featuring a variety of songs, and parents can even purchase the Latin America Coloring and Sticker Books to complement it.
WATCH It’s not easy to find great videos about Latin America, but they’re out there! Globe Trekker has a series of shows on Central and South America that you can purchase as a set, or if you prefer, download the individual shows. The Families of the World series is also a great resource. Each show is hosted by children from different countries who talk about their daily lives. Also, don’t be afraid to search YouTube (but not with your child by your side!) for short video clips of specific topics, such as folklórico dancers, how to make a quipu, or alebrijes.
PARTICIPATE Be on the lookout for exhibits, shows, and other special events in your community that feature Latin American culture. Museums frequently bring in traveling exhibits, and bookstores and cultural centers may offer workshops, speakers, or art shows. In East Harlem, for example, La Casa Azul Bookstore offers almost weekly programs for both young and old, led by Latino authors, artists, chefs, and more.
CREATE Exploring a country through its arts and crafts is a deeply satisfying experience. And we have already put together an excellent collection of crafts from around the world in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Part 1 focuses on different countries in Latin America, while Part 2 shares the more familiar crafts—like piñatas and papel picado—from Mexico.
EAT Arepas, ropa vieja, mole, gazpacho, quinoa…if you recognize all these dishes and have sampled them already, then you are a culinary traveler! Of course, there are always hits and misses, but if you want your child to develop an adventurous palate, try to eat at a different type of restaurant every month or two. You can visit a new Latin American country every few weeks by eating Peruvian one month, Cuban the next, and so on! If you don’t live in a big city, never fear. You and your family can create your own dine-in adventure by cooking up different meals at home. Just check out Mamiverse Food for recipe ideas.
TRAVEL There is no better way to learn about another culture than by visiting and immersing yourself in it. If your family vacations involve beaches on the Yucután, then make sure you spend time exploring local attractions like archaeological sites, museums, and other sites of interest.