¡Celebramos a los niños! Let’s celebrate all children!
World Children’s Day was officially established in 1925 to highlight and promote children’s rights, improve children’s welfare and celebrate children as an important part of our society and world. On November 20th, 1959 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child and that document has since been adopted by many countries as a way to honor children! Many countries celebrate El Día del Niño on different days of the year. In Mexico, the Día del Niño holiday is celebrated on April 30th. On this day, children attend school, are showered with a day long celebration by their teachers and parents and participate in child-centered activities! Treats include candy, pan dulce and of course Piñatas!
As a classroom teacher and parent to three children of Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, El Día del Niño has always been an important part of my classroom curriculum. Devoting an entire day to children both in the classroom and at home can be a way to connect to cultural heritage, traditions and language, and have fun! Here are three ways that you and your family can start or continue the tradition of celebrating El Día del Niño in your casitas:
Playing games in Spanish is a wonderful way to get kids moving and it’s also a great way to practice and learn Spanish! A la víbora - “the sea serpent” is a game that can be played indoors or outdoors and in many different forms:
A. “London Bridge version”
- Two people hold hands to create a bridge.
- Child/children go under the bridge while singing ‘A la víbora’.
- The bridge comes down and “traps” the child during the lyrics “tras, tras, tras”.
B. “Blue Bird” version
- Hold hands and lift arms up to create a “window”.
- One child goes in and out - zig zagging in and out of the “window”.
- The arms come down and “traps’ the child during the lyrics “tras, tras, tras”.
C. “Sea serpent” version
- Children create a snake by holding onto each others shoulders in a single line.
- Together- they zig zag in and out of rooms or furniture keeping the “body” intact.
- Children who get separated need to go to the end of the “serpent” or get eaten!
2. Arts & Crafts/Manualidades
Children are naturally drawn (pun intended) to arts and crafts. Spending quality time drawing, creating, sketching, building, gluing, painting, coloring and creating, is not only tapping into a true child’s passion, but also provides you with an opportunity to include culture and language into the activity. Whether its making maracas or piñatas, coloring lyric sheets of traditional Spanish lullabies or taping together recyclable materials…it all provides an opportunity to practice words like: Cortar, colorear, pegar, construir, escribir, dibujar, papel, pegamento, etc. Preparing for your craft time will give you the time to think about the vocabulary you will be using and make your time together an intentional language and literacy experience.
Making piñatas at home also teaches about recycling, reusing and reducing materials! Here is a simple yet adorable version of a homemade piñata made with paper towel rolls, tissue paper, glue, string and of course lots of dulce!
Paper towel cardboard roll
Candy or treats
- Cut the cardboard tube into your desired length.
- Cover one end with tissue paper so that candy/treats don’t fall out.
- Attach a small piece of string or ribbon to the bottom of the tissue paper.
- Poke or punch holes onto the top rim of the tube so you can string it up later.
- Cover your tube with tissue paper. You can cut out tissue paper shapes or you can cut out scallops.
- Fill your piñata with candy or treats.
- Loop a string or ribbon through the holes to hang up your piñata.
- Cover the remaining end with a piece of tissue paper.
- Hang your piñata.
- Sing Dale! Dale! Dale! while pulling on the bottom string which will release the treats. Y ¡a disfrutar! Check out the Canticos version of the song here.
3. Language and Literacy: Making books
Making books with children is not only a powerful literacy experience but it can also provide you with an opportunity to share your own childhood experiences with your child! Making books together, using materials found at home is simple! Susie Jaramillo, creator of Canticos, has a creative way of making accordion books. Watch this video together and ask your child to come up with a book title, characters and draw the illustrations of his or her next book! Early literacy always comes from home and what better way than to write your own story!
During these unique times of distance learning and homeschooling, it may already seem that each and every day is Children’s Day, but the key to celebrating El Día del Niño is to share the history of this holiday and be very intentional about your activities. Whether it’s playing games, making a craft or making and reading books…giving your undivided attention is what matters most! Take it from me…you’ll blink and one day they won’t be little anymore!
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