September 15th – October 15th marks Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration instituted by President Ronald Reagan to honor the contributions of Hispanics throughout American history. While still in the midst of a pandemic, we may not be able to have our usual, large celebrations, this month can provide the perfect opportunity for us to take a deeper dive into Hispanic history, culture, and contributions. Here are some ideas of activities you could consider for your own classroom or family.
1. Read and discuss Latin-American literature. In addition to answering comprehension questions such as theme, main idea, summary, predictions, etc., discuss with your students/children how the literature reflects the Latino/Latin-American culture and/or experience. Sources: Latinx Poetry, 23 Books by Latinos, Colors of Us
2. Explore Latin American Art. During the pandemic, many museums have made their exhibitions available virtually. Children can also delve deeper into specific artists such as Frida Kahlo or Rufino Tamayo and learn about the themes and often times messages they communicate through their art. Sources: Smithsonian’s Latino Center, Latino Presence in American Art Exhibition
3. Have children research the discrimination that Latin Americans have faced in the United States and the protests and resistance thus far that Latin Americans have engaged in to fight discrimination. Ask your kids what role they hope to play in ensuring a fairer society? Sources: School Segregation, Dream Act
4. Rock it out to Hispanic music from all over Latin America, or look specifically for some music by Hispanic Americans such as Tejano star Selena Quintanilla. What are the similarities that these songs have to English music? Hint: Check out each song before hand to ensure age appropriateness. Source: Best Latin American Music
5. Experience a little bit of Hispanic and/or Hispanic-American culture by learning some common dance steps. Discuss with your kids how it’s universal in all cultures for people to enjoy moving to music. Sources: Kids’ Tutorial for Dancing Salsa, Kids’ Tutorial for Dancing Tango