Cinco de Mayo is a fun day to celebrate. There are lots of colors, flavors, and activities to explore surrounding it. Truth be told, it is another of those “holidays” that I never gave much thought to before I became a mom. I don’t drink and hate crowds, so I usually tried to avoid going out that day or the weekend surrounding it. But, kids make everything fun.
I actually have a dilemma every year. Do I celebrate Cinco de Mayo or Star Wars Day (May 4)? Two years ago, I hosted a big Star Wars Day playdate for all my mom friends and their little ones. Of course, it rained buckets that day, so I had 10 toddlers and their moms in my (then) small home. It was chaos but a lot of fun.
Last year, I hosted another big playdate for Cinco de Mayo to celebrate the release of Dragons Love Tacos 2. That, too, ended up being a rainy day, and, again, I had 10 toddlers and their moms in my tiny house. But, we had a great time.
This year, the weather is supposed to be beautiful and warm all week and we have moved into a larger home that could accommodate everyone even if it did rain. So, of course, I’m not doing a playdate this year. That’s the story of my life.
But, we did do some fun activities to celebrate, just the two of us.
Cinco de Mayo Kids Book
I found this adorable fiesta-themed book on Amazon. It’s called Manana, Iguana by Ann Whitford Paul and Ethan Long.
This is a sort of retelling of Little Red Hen. Iguana and her friends decide that they want to host a fiesta for all of their desert friends. Each day, Iguana has a task to do and she asks Tortuga, Conejo, and Culebra to help her. Each day, her friends make excuses why they can’t. Finally, the day of the party comes and Tortuga, Conejo, and Culebra are all ready to greet “their guests” and take all the credit, but Iguana isn’t having any of it. She did all the work, so she will get all the credit.
Of course, the friends feel bad for their behavior and end up cleaning up after the party, without being asked. Everything ends up OK in the end.
This is a great story about cooperation and friendship. And, don’t you love a story that tells your kids to help you out when you ask? Plus, it teaches kids the days of the week in Spanish.
The pictures are colorful and very festive. It really makes me regret not planning a Cinco de Mayo playdate this year.
Cinco de Mayo Activity for Toddlers
To accompany this adorable book and this fun holiday, we made a pinata. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds.
My son has been asking for a pinata since his 3rd birthday party last Summer. We didn’t oblige him then, because I didn’t want to spend $20 for something that was going to be destroyed on purpose (unlike things he destroys accidentally on a daily basis), so we quietly forgot about it.
But, did you know you don’t have to spend $20 for a pre-made pinata? Now, this isn’t going to be some fancy paper-mache masterpiece that you spend hours lovingly crafting for your child so you can display it on Instagram and Pinterest.
Nope, that’s not this pinata. This one was designed to be made in under 30 minutes by 3-year-old using things that we already had around the house. So, lower your expectations, and let’s have some fun.
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Materials
- 1 paper grocery bag
- Crepe paper (any colors)
- glue stick
This is super simple. You are just going to cut or tear the crepe paper into strips the width of the bag. I left a little hanging over each end so I could wrap them around the sides. This is a good time to let your child practice using scissors if you trust them.
Glue the strips onto the paper bag on both sides. You need a lot of glue, as the paper bag will absorb it pretty quickly. And you really need to press the strips down to get them to stick.
Remember, you can use any color crepe paper you want. I only had pink and zigzag (or Chevron, if you’re fancy). They were leftover from a cake smash I photographed a few years ago. I didn’t feel like going to the dollar store to get more, so this is what we used. My son didn’t mind at all.
And, he chose this pattern, by the way. I was very impressed with his sequencing. It’s not something I really have worked on with him, but they must do it at his Preschool.
After the bag is covered in crepe paper, it’s time to fill it will treats. I took all the random candy that was in our pantry and used that. We also threw in some more streamers to bulk it up a little.
Then, just fold over the top and staple. Then cut two lengths of string to use as handles for stringing it up and staple those to the top of the bag. Once that was done, I added some hanging streamers on the bottom to give it a little more pizzazz.
Isn’t it cute! Now comes the fun part. Smashing it. We had to wait a day to smash ours because it was raining out. But, the sun came out the next day, so I invited my son’s best buddy (who lives across the street) over to help us smash it.
The kids had a blast and got some sweet treats. They didn’t make too much of a mess and it kept them happy for a few minutes. And, I got rid of a lot of the candy that was cluttering up my pantry. Win-win!