Crafts that center on the Mexican culture can be a great way for kids to learn about a different country and their customs. These activities are great for kids of any age group who want to learn more about the crafts of Mexico.
Castanets are percussion instruments that have been used in traditional Spanish and Mexican music. Before creating these fun instruments first gather a piece of cardboard, a hot glue gun, buttons or coins, scissors, paint and markers. Fold the cardboard in half and cut off the corners of the cardboard to create a round shape. Unfold the cardboard and decorate the outside of the cardboard with markers and paint. Next, glue 3 buttons or coins to the top of the open castanet and 3 to the bottom. Line up the buttons so that when you fold the cardboard the buttons will hit each other. Now that you have made a castanet, clap the cardboard together to make beautiful music.
Maracas were important to the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, called the Tainos. The Tainos mainly used maracas for religious celebrations. They were created using a hollowed out gourd filled with beans. To make your own maracas you will need 1 empty water bottle, dried pasta or beans, masking tape, markers and paint. First, decorate the water bottle so that it looks festive and fun. Next, fill the water bottle with 20-30 beans and put the lid back on the water bottle. Glue or tape the lid so that it will not come off when you are shaking the bottle. Now you are ready to keep the music going with your maracas!
Sombreros are important to the people of Mexico because they keep them cool in the sweltering heat of the desert. The wide brim covers most of the neck and face which provides shade from the sun’s strong rays. To make your own sombrero you will need a paper cup, a small paper plate, construction paper, a hot glue gun, scissors and paint. First paint the cup and paper plate and allow it to dry completely. Next, turn the paper cup upside down and glue it to the middle of the paper plate. While the cup is drying, cut a strip from the construction paper and glue it to the bottom of the cup that is touching the plate for the hat band. You can add pompoms, glitter, sequins or buttons to the brim of the hat for a more festive feel.
Luchador Paper Mask
Luchadors are Mexican wrestlers that wear bright and colorful masks to keep their identity a secret. To create a luchador mask you will need a paper plate, a long piece of string, scissors, a hole punch, markers and paint. Decorate the paper plate with bright colors and bold patterns. Next, cut out holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. Using the hole punch, punch holes on either side of the plate. Thread a piece of string through the holes and tie off the ends. Try on the mask to make sure that it fits properly; if it does not fit, adjust the length of the string by untying it from one end.
Mexican Tissue Paper Flowers
Paper flowers in Mexico are mainly used as decorations for religious celebrations and festivals. To make these beautiful paper flowers you will need several sheets of tissue paper, one pipe cleaner and scissors. To begin, cut the tissue paper into 8 inch squares. Next, stack about 5 or 6 squares on top of each other. You can alternate colors for a fun look or stay with the same color to create a more realistic flower. Fold the stack of tissue paper like a fan then pinch the middle to make an indentation. Attach the pipe cleaner to the spot where you pinched the paper and twist the pipe cleaner around the middle. Next cut the edges of the tissue paper to make them round or pointy. Finally, take the end of the farthest edge of the paper and gently lift it up towards the middle. Continue to lift up the sides of the fan until all pieces of tissue paper are lifted.
Pinch pots were made by the indigenous peoples of Mexico to store food and to decorate their homes. To make your own pinch pots you will need a paper bowl, some air dry clay, beads, buttons and sequins. First, mold the clay into a ball and gently push in the middle so it forms a dome shape. Continue working the sides of the bowl upwards so that the clay thins out. Let the pinch pot dry overnight then add paint, glitter or beads. Display the finished pinch pot in your home or use it to hold small objects.
Guitars did not originally come from Mexico; they were brought over by Spanish explorers. However, guitars are incorporated into the traditional Mexican music that we hear today. To make a box guitar you will need to gather a tissue box, 5-6 rubber bands, scissors and a paper towel or toilet paper tube. To begin, cut out a circle from the top of the box that will be big enough for the tube to fit through. Next string the rubber bands around both the hole in the middle and the hole at the top. Tape a pencil underneath the rubber bands at the bottom of the box to keep the rubber bands from slipping. Finally glue the paper towel tube to the top of the box to act as the guitar handle. You are now ready to play some traditional Mexican guitar.
Piñatas were originally made from clay pots by the native peoples of Mexico. These decorated pots were filled with small offerings that, when smashed, would fall to the feet of their gods. To make your own festive piñata gather 2 cups of flour, 3 cups of water, 1 balloon, paint and markers and newspapers. Inflate the balloon to the size you want the piñata to be and tie it off. Next, mix the flour and water so it forms a smooth paste. Rip off strips of newspaper and dip them into the flour paste. Cover the balloon with the wet newspaper but leave a small hole at the top where you can put the candy and toys in. Let the balloon dry overnight. Next cover the balloon with a second layer of wet newspaper strips and let that dry completely. Once the newspaper is dry, pop the balloon and decorate the piñata. The piñata is now ready to be filled with lots of fun things!