Kentucky’s Early Childhood Standards 3 and 4 year olds Art and Humanities
Standard 1: Participates and shows interest in a variety of visual art, dance, music, and drama experiences.
Benchmark 1.1: Develops skills in and appreciation of visual arts.
Vocabulary: Día de los Muertos, skull, remembrance
Materials: white care stock with skull mask, paint, markers, sequence, glitter, glue, craft sticks
Discuss the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead with the students. Show the students examples of the elaborate sugar skulls and other masks used during the Día de los Muertos celebration.
Have the children color the skull mask. Encourage them to be expressive in the decorations.
Students will cut out the skull and attach the skull to the craft sticks.
Modifications: Have the skulls cut out for those with fine motor delays.
Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday when people take time to remember family members or friends who have died. Traditionally it is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. The Day of the Dead is not intended to be scary, but instead a time to celebrate friends and relatives that has passed away.
The major feature of Day of the Dead decorations are skulls and skeletons, or calacas. They are featured everywhere. You will find them as a part of tissue-paper scenes, tiny plastic toys, cardboard puppets, ceramic sculptures, posters, or papier mache. The skulls and skeletons are usually elaborately decorated with bright colors. Various professions are represented in a skeleton rendering. Farmers, barbers, fire fighters, if somebody does it while alive, you can find a skeleton doing it while dead.
The Day of the Dead has many traditions including altars built to honor the dead. The altar may include candles, marigolds, a photo, sugar skulls, water, food and cut paper decorations called papel picado.
The Day of the Dead/El Dia de los Muertos by Bob Barner El Dia de los Muertos/The Day of the Dead by Mary Dodson Wade How My Family Lives in America by Susan Kuklin Golden Domes & Sliver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
Additional PBS LearningMedia Resources:
Polka Agüitas | Dance Arts Toolkit Polka Agüitas is one of the many folk dances of Mexico. Mexico has 31 states each with their own traditions and customs. Mexican folk dance is the blend of indigenous, European and African cultures. This version of Polka Agüitas was performed by Casa de Cultura Hispana de Lexington and taped at the Festival del Dia de los Muertos in Lexington, Ky.
Cabeza de Cochino | Dance Arts Toolkit Cabeza de Cochino translates to pig’s head. This traditional dance is held at a festival as a sign of a productive year. The hog’s head signifies wealth and health for the family that is giving the offering.
The story behind the dance is that the family that has raised a pig takes it to the market to sell in order to buy clothing, shoes, and other necessities. The different colored ribbons are taken by each of the dancers, representing the union of the community. The dresses the women wear are called hipils and the men wear shirts called guayaberas with white pants.