Friday, October 26, 2012

Calaveras Day of the Dead Book and Activity

I am so glad I do these Spanish for Preschooler classes because it gives me the opportunity and motivation to learn more about Hispanic culture and heritage.  Even though my dad's family lived in Mexico for a few generations I didn't know much about Dia de los Muertos beside sugar skulls and marigolds.  Over the next few weeks we're going to have lessons that help kids learn about this holiday and what makes it different than Halloween.

This week we started by reading "Calavera Abecedario" a Spanglish book about a family that makes calaveras (life sized papier mache skeletons) for the fiesta de Dia de Los Muertos.  Then it shows a different calavera for each letter, A for Angel, B for Bruja (witch) etc.

To give the story an interactive element we played a kind of matching game through the alphabet.  I printed off pictures of things each calavera had "lost" - the fotografo lost his camera, the huevera lost her chicken, etc.  As we went through the story I put up 4 different lost items and had the kids "find" the item for each calavera and we put them in order on the whiteboard.  This actually ended up being too much/too long for the littler ones.  I mean 26 matches is a lot.  The older kids were really excited to match things right though.  If I do it again maybe we'll do it more like bingo.

This activity started conversation about how Dia de los Muertos is about celebrating those who have passed on and the people they were.  It's not really a spooky holiday even though some of the images might seem that way to us.

Then we colored a skeleton that had the body parts labeled that I found on (one of my favorite sites).  We talked about how we all have skeletons inside us and sang "Cabeza, cara, hombros, pies" (Head, shoulders, knees, and toes).  This probably could have been a whole other lesson.

Finally I sent the kids off with a jelly skull (see my Halloween Gummies post).  This skeleton activity was fun and another item on our Fall Bucket Tree!

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  1. I've never heard of this book. Thanks for posting about it and linking up to The Children's Bookshelf.

  2. I almost forgot to comment, I was so distracted by downloading the coloring sheet. My child is obsessed with skeletons, so I'm sure he will be delighted to color one. Thanks for linking up to the Children's Bookshelf! ~Bethany (No Twiddle Twaddle)

  3. We just requested this book from the library! Can't wait to use some of your ideas. :)