Children will truly get the "flavor" of Latin American traditions with these activities
- Grades: PreK–K
- small paper bags
- paint and brushes
- rubber bands
- dried rice
- Latin music and player
- maracas (if available)
- fine motor
“Que Linda Manito” (“A Pretty Little Hand”)
Share this traditional Puerto Rican fingerplay and canción (song) with your class:
Que linda manito A pretty little hand (hold hands together)
Que tiene el bebé. This baby has. (gently stroke hands)
Que linda, que mona, So pretty and so cute, (open hands and turn over)
Que bonita es. How lovely it is. (hold both hands close to heart)
Pequeños deditos Fingers so tiny (wiggle fingers)
Rayitos de sol, Like small rays of sun, (open hands wide like the sun)
Que gire que gire Around and around (turn hands around and around)
Como un girasol. Like a sunflower. (wiggle fingers and open)
Paper Bag Maracas
Explain to children that they are going to make instruments called maracas. Show children a real maraca, if available. Provide each child with a small paper bag, washable tempera paint, and a paintbrush. Ask children to use the paint to decorate their paper bags.
After the bags dry, provide children with dried rice. You may want to place the rice into small plastic cups so that they can pour it easily into their paper bags. Hold each bag with the open end facing up and tighten a rubber band securely around the end of the bag, leaving a few inches at the end for children to grip.
Get in a “fiesta” mood and introduce children to recorded Latin music. Encourage them to keep the rhythm with their maracas, and sing and dance along to the music. Remember: Some children may be shy about joining in the singing and dancing. Allow these children to clap, or gently shake the maracas, in time to the music.
Send home a copy of the “Que Linda Manito” lyrics for parents to sing with their child at home. Invite them to send in other short, child-friendly songs from their own cultures to share with the class.
Curriculum Connection: Cooking
Tortilla Wraps. Set out tortillas, grated cheddar or jack cheese, shredded lettuce, refried beans, guacamole, and other toppings. Provide each child with a tortilla. Place the ingredients in separate bowls. Assist children in placing their toppings onto their tortillas and rolling them up. What a fun way to eat!
by Jonah Winter
(Scholastic, 2002; $16.95)
Look What Came from Mexico
by Miles Harvey
(Franklin Watts, 1999; $6.95)
Señor Don Gato: A Traditional Song
by John Manders
(Candlewick, 2003; $15.99)