NBC Latino

Resources for exploring Hispanic heritage with your kids

The Maru Montero Dance Company perform a traditional Mexican Folk dance to close out the kick-off ceremonies for the Department's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in September 2010.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve talked about why it’s important for Latino children to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and shared some great websites dedicated to the observance. We’ve also launched an inspiring series highlighting 20 Latino innovators who are making a difference, and given you a list of our favorite books for children. Today, we want you to know about some educational and fun activities that are available to teach your children

Nick Jr. has put together some free printables celebrating remarkable Latinos who have contributed to our society. You’ll find coloring pages of people like Ellen Ochoa (the first Latina astronaut), Tito Puente (the “King of Mambo”),  Dara Torres (Olympic swimmer), and Narcís Monturiol (inventor of the submarine). You can also print up copies of their Hispanic Hero Cards, which are organized into four groups: Science, Sports, Arts, and Politics.

PBS’s Maya y Miguel also has an online game, episodes, and printable celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Paco’s Passport is a game where kids can explore Latin culture through flags, language, people, traditions, food, and more, earning stamps for their “passport.” And the bilingual printable explores the subject with a little history and other fun facts.

The National Postal Museum has put together an incredible presentation featuring stamps of people, places, and events in celebration of Hispanic heritage. You can watch the video below, and then visit their website to learn more information about each stamp.

Denna’s Ideas has one of the most clever and creative flag crafts we’ve seen in a long time. She made a Guatemalan flag, but this method can be adapted for just about any flag, especially those without a lot of small details.

Education.com also has some nice coloring pages of famous Hispanic Americans, including Sonia Sotomayor, David G. Farragut, Roberto Clemente, and others. And when I did a little more exploring, I found additional sheets for Celia Cruz.

Arts and crafts are always a great way to explore culture. Deep Space Sparkle has some excellent art lessons including one on Mexico’s Amate bark paintings and one on making Panamanian molas out of construction paper. And we love this mini-piñata craft by Oh Happy Day! You can also find a few art projects at Crayola.com, like these Chilean rainsticks, rainforest projects, and Latin American flag coloring pages.

Finally, don’t forget music! Putumayo’s Latin Playground is a nice collection of music from all across Latin America, and they’ve also published coloring and sticker books to complement their album.

Monica Olivera Hazelton, NBC Latino contributor and  the founder and publisher of MommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by LATISM.