If you are looking for D?a de los Muertos crafts or activities to help your kids celebrate the holiday, here are seven of our favorites. The best part is that they are easy to create using a printer or common household items.
1)????? Create your own altar- Setting up your own special table to remember a loved one who has passed away can be a fun and therapeutic process. All you have to do is designate a small table or flat area in your home to serve as the memory table, and cover it with a nice tablecloth or piece of fabric. Use real or paper marigolds and other flowers to decorate it, as well as a few candles and calaveras (sugar skulls). Be careful not to light the candles if you have young children in the house, but you can simply use them as decoration. Don?t forget to add a picture of your loved one, and include items that reflect his or her favorite hobbies, foods, and other memorable characteristics.
2)????? Make cempas?chitls out of tissue paper ? Paper flowers are an easy and popular craft from Mexico. They are great for decorating your altar, or for dressing up your home in honor of the occasion. All you need is colored tissue paper, some scissors, and a few pieces of wire or pipe cleaners. Take a look at this how-to video. Or visit Teach Kids Art for some simple directions.
3)????? Decorate a frame ? Paint a small, wooden frame (available at most craft stores) in bright colors like turquoise, hot pink, or lime green. Then hot glue fake flowers ? like marigolds! ? and other Day of the Dead images to the border. You can also use paint pens to add colorful details. Add a picture of a beloved friend or family member who has died, and your frame will be complete!
4)????? Print up your own treat boxes ? Perfect for holding candy, crayons, or other small treats, these calavera treat boxes can be printed in the color-it-in version, or one that is already vibrantly decorated. My daughter and I enjoyed coloring ours in, but my son preferred a blank face so that he could decorate it his own way with a cowboy hat and other details. All you have to do is download the free pattern from Don?t Eat the Paste, print them up on cardstock, color them in (optional), cut them out, and glue them together.
5)????? Create your own calavera masks ? Let your child?s creative juices flow by having them design and decorate their own masks. We love these from Scrumdilly-do! that turn simple paper plates into fun calaveras with a few markers, scissors, and glitter. Or for slightly more durable ones, these masks from AlphaMom use permanent markers and plastic milk jugs.
6)????? Make suncatchers ? Bloesem Kids has an easy tutorial on their site for creating calavera suncatchers out of plastic and permanent markers. The best part is that you can create virtually any design using this method, so perhaps you might ask your kids to create some candles, marigolds, and even some pan de muertos to decorate your windows?
7)????? Make an ofrenda ? It?s easy to create your own diorama of a Day of the Dead scene using empty shoe boxes and a few art supplies like construction paper, paint, glitter and clay. Your kids don?t have to follow any particular directions, but if they need a little inspiration, they might enjoy this picture on Pinterest.
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.