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Ideas For Celebrating Cinco de Mayo With Kids [Activities & Food]

Cinco de Mayo is coming up and with the weather starting to warm up in a lot of areas, kids are going a little stir crazy. A Cinco de Mayo party is a great opportunity to let kids burn off some energy, have fun, and even learn a thing or two. Below are some ideas to get you started on planning a party of your own.  Celebrating Cinco De Mayo with kids is sure to be a lot of fun, especially with these Cinco De Mayo kids activities and Cinco de Mayo food ideas.  I also included some free printable Cinco de Mayo coloring pages.

Cinco de Mayo For Kids

Cinco de Mayo will be here soon, it’s time to start planning a fun celebration with your kids. There are many fiesta-worthy activities you can plan to get your kids excited for the festivities. We have tons of fun Cinco de Mayo ideas you and your kids will love but first let me share a short tid bit to answer, “What is Cinco de Mayo?” After all, you want to be prepared when your kids ask you because you know they will ask!

What is the meaning of Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo literally means the Fifth of May or May 5th in Spanish. Let’s take a quick look at the history of Cinco de Mayo.

First, it’s important to know that it is not Mexican Independence Day as many in the United States believe. That’s actually on September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s underdog, the city of Puebla, that fought back against the French who were trying to take over Mexico City.

On May 5, 1862, the French army tried to push through Mexico with the goal of taking over Mexico City but when they reached the small town of Puebla, they were surprised to find themselves in a battle. The Mexican soldiers fought hard and won their battle, even though the French forces went on to win the war. But on May 5th, Mexico celebrates the Battle of Puebla and how hard they fought to win their battle.

As you plan your Cinco de Mayo activities, keep the town of Puebla in mind and remember the reason for the celebration. You can also look up some lesson plans about Cinco de Mayo history in celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. The Mexican flag is a great way to decorate for you Cinco De Mayo celebration!

Cinco de Mayo Foods

Arguably the most important part of any gathering is the food. Since Cinco de Mayo is meant to celebrate Mexican heritage, it only makes since to feature Mexican food in your menu.

Lucky for you, a celebration of Mexican culture means some delicious food! Here are some fun ideas for food for your Cinco de Mayo Party:

Taco Bar– have a taco bar family dinner, load it up with a variety of toppings. You can have both hard and soft shell tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream. Beans, grilled chicken, ground beef in taco seasoning, or fish. Get creative with other ideas. Try fried chicken tenders, hash browned potatoes, scrambled eggs, grilled shrimp, or BBQ. What other fun fillings can you think of? You can make dessert tacos too! It is great for groups of kids who can put together their own plates. 

Lemonade & Margarita Bar– I just love a good margarita and most adults will want to have one on Cinco de Mayo. They are a great way to cool down from all the chili peppers! Kids can enjoy a lemonade bar instead.

Chips and Dip– Salsa and guacamole are quick to whip up in the blender and are always a huge hit. You can go for store bought salsa if you’re trying to save on time, but fresh guacamole is worth it.  Remember to use plenty of lime juice and keep the pits in the bowl to keep it from turning green.

Horchata– A great traditional milk and rice drink, add some cinnamon to make this more familiar to kids. This easy recipe is a delicious dessert drink to make.

Cinco De Mayo Activities For Kids

Mexican Music and Dance.

If you have friends who know traditional Mexican Dancing, have them dress up and put on a show for the kids. They can even teach them a few moves. If not, you can look up the Mexican hat dance on YouTube to see how it’s done. The music will provide a great backdrop for other activities as well.

Mariachi Band.

Let the kids make some homemade maracas and a mariachi guitars. This Cinco De Mayo craft is lots of fun and they you can put on some Mariachi music for them to play along to.

Make Cascarones.

This is another great Cinco de Mayo craft. Making confetti eggs and playing with them afterwards is great fun (sort of like a water balloon fight but even cooler and less wet.

Make Tissue Paper Flowers.

Another Mexican tradition for the Cinco de Mayo holiday is making tissue paper flowers and using these to decorate for the festivities. Here is a tutorial.

Make Sombrero Cookies.

Make round sugar cookies with homemade or ready-made cookie dough. You can also use store-bought sugar cookies. You’ll need some colorful frosting and some gumdrops. Put each frosting color in its own zipper-top sandwich bag, seal it up, and clip the bottom corner to make a piping bag for the frosting. Place a dot of frosting in the center of the cookie and top with a gumdrop, making a sombrero. Your kids can then use the assorted frosting colors to decorate their sombrero.

Make Your Own Pinata.

Fill a lunch size paper bag with candies and small toys then tie it closed with a string, leaving extra for hanging. Let your kids decorate their own pinatas with tissue paper, stickers, ribbons, and any other craft supplies you may have lying around. Then hang them up and let your kids go at them with a stick and try to break them open.

Cinco de Mayo Coloring Pages.

It is always a hit to let kids color in festive sheets. I have included two free printable Cinco de Mayo Coloring Pages below. Just click on the image and right click to print or pull image onto to your desktop, open file, and click print.

Language Activities

This Mexican holiday is a great time to learn a little Spanish language! Pick a few easy phrases for people to learn and you can let your guests try to match each of the phrases or words you have written on a piece of paper to the correct things. It will be a fun guessing game and they can tape it up once they do it correctly. Little learners may also enjoy looking through a bilingual children’s book.

I hope you enjoy these fun activities to celebrate the culture of Mexico. However you decide to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your kids, the most important thing is to have fun! Do you have any other cinco de mayo ideas that kids would enjoy?  Share in the comments below!

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