Seasonal geography lessons make a satisfying study and a great way to cover all the bases before leaving for winter break.
Here are some of our favorite ideas for studying Christmas in Mexico in the classroom.
Tomie de Paolo has done some wonderful books for this study. The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Night of Las Posadas are both appropriate, and you may also like to read The Lady of Guadalupe on her feast day, December 12th, if it is appropriate for your school.
- Check out Tomie’s website. As you roam around, you’ll find some Christmas coloring pages, contact information, bibliography, and a fun calendar.
- Scholastic has a lesson plan that could work for both books, including art projects with poinsettias and pinatas, and a fiesta.
To focus on Las Posadas, check out these links:
- Read background information on Las Posadas.
- Here is printable sheet music, with Spanish and English words, for the traditional Las Posadas song.
Piñatas are a very fun part of holiday celebrations in Mexico. You can buy them easily in most parts of the U.S. nowadays, but it can also be fun to make your own.
- Piñatas were introduced into Europe from China, while the Maya had a similar game that involved hitting a clay pot while blindfolded. When Spanish explorers went to Mexico, the two customs were combined into the game we know today. The piñata is hung from a tree or clothesline, and blindfolded children take turns hitting it with a special stick until it breaks open. Then everyone scrambles to gather the candies and toys that fall out.
- Bryback Manor gives clear instructions and patterns for making a piñata. You can also decorate a paper bag to serve as your classroom piñata. Put some candy, pencils, or stickers in the piñata, and also put in slips of paper with math problems — let kids trade their correct answers to the problems for treats.
- A piñata coloring page can create a calming interlude in an exciting day.
Special foods often eaten at Christmas in Mexico include buñuelos and tamales. Another popular treat is chocolate caliente (hot chocolate).
- Here you can see step-by-step photos showing bunuelos being made.
- It’s fun to use a recipe for reading or math practice.
- Read Gary Soto’s Too Many Tamales.
- Make Enselada de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Salad) or Mexican-style hot chocolate in the classroom.
- Check out our chocolate lesson plans!