Animals of Mexico
Mexico has 200,000 different species of animals and with such diverse terrains from rainforests to deserts to chaparral (shrubland) to marine it's no wonder.
Mosaic Aztec Mask:
Aztec masks were were often made for display as ornaments and only some were to be worn as part of a ritual. They usually represented a god or goddess.
PAPER PLATE SOMBRERO:
Materials: large paper plate and matching paper cup, paint, white glue (or glue gun for instant craft work), coloured paper, pom poms, felt or paper or pipe-cleaners.
Step 1: If you want you can paint the paper plate and cup to match or a different colour. Let it dry before continuing.
Step 2: Glue the paper cup to the paper plate. To speed up this craft I used a glue gun from a dollar store (parent use only).
Step 3: Once the glue has dried your child can decorate. Use strips of felt or paper or pipecleaners around the paper cup. Add paint to the rim. Glue pom poms. Be creative!
POP STICK FIGURES IN MEXICAN COSTUMES:
Materials: coloured paper (we used black, red, white, yellow and green) two fat craft sticks, craft googly eyes, both white glue and glue stick, coloured paper, markers, waxed paper, thin marker, little pom poms (optional), tissue paper (optional).
The Traditional style of dress of women in the Mexican Republic is called China polana and usually consists of a white blouse with embroidery work, a skirt called a castor, a white slip, a shawl. For the sake of the craft I am simplifying the design.
Charro refers to the traditional horsemen of Mexico and the stereotypical Charro outfit is usually depicted as the one worn by men of affluent upper classes. This suit is usually black and includes an embroidered jacket and a sombrero.
More Folk Art of Mexico
Materials: air dry clay, paint, brushes, newspaper or plastic table cloth to cover work area, art smock or old t-shirts to protect clothing, permanent markers.
Step 1: Show your child some examples of alebrije (you can search online, check on Pinterest, or find some in library books).
Step 2: Encourage your child to create his/her own mythical animal out of air dry clay.
Step 2: Once the creature is complete let it dry over night.
Step 3: Now have your child paint it in bright acrylic paints. Let it dry. Sometimes a second coat may be required.
Step 4: Add fun details with markers - stripes, dots, eyes...
Coatlicue: Mother Goddess
Mosaic Aztec Mask Craft:
Materials: cardboard, coloured paper or coloured craft foam (preferably with a sticker baking), white glue, , Sharpie marker
Step 1: You can begin by showing your child some photos online of Aztec masks. Then cut out a cardboard mask shape (oval, circle, shield shape).
Step 2: Have your child choose the colour scheme and cut out pieces (squares and tirangles etc.). Also cut out a mouth shape, teeth shapes, and a nose.
Step 3: If you have sticky backed foam there is no need to use glue. If you are using paper I suggest putting glue on waxed paper and using a q-tip to apply glue to the little pieces. Glue to create a face.
Photo: Bing Search Free Images
Step 1: Cut out a long black rectangle to fit the craft stick as the man's pants and then cut out a square in white and back slightly wider than the stick as the shirt. Cut out a little black sombrero and a red sash in two pieces and a red band for the hat. Cut the black square in two and trim to from a vest. Glue the shirt and vest pieces together using glue stick as well as the sombrero, and then glue them to the craft stick using white glue. I always work on waxed paper when dealing with white glue to our projects won't stick to the work area.
Step 2: Trace a circle onto coloured paper and cut in half in create the skirt. Trace another circle on another colour and use that to create a curved trim. Measure a white rectangle for the shirt to fit the craft stick and then cut out two arms. Cut out a small white circle and cut in half and either draw a trim or cut out a matching coloured trim for the blouse. Glue paper to each other using glue stick and then glue to the craft stick using white glue.
Step 3: Glue googly eyes and pom poms to decorate. We made a tisuue paper hat for the lady pressing a swuare of tissue over the earser end of a pencil and then dipping in glue and pressing on the craft stick.
Step 4: Once dry draw a smile! Now enjoy these little puppets!
Aztec Sun Craft:
Materials: Paper plate, tine foil, permanent markers (like Sharpies)
Step 1: Wrap the tin foil on the paper plate.
Step 2: Draw two circles using the black Sharpie. One for rhte face and one for the rim.
Step 3: Have your child decorate the sun however he/she wants. Suggest a nose and mouth. Draw flames.
Step 4: Colour in with more markers.
Materials: Old Magazines to tear up, child safe scissors and ruler and pencil OR paper cutter (which is what we used), glue stick, white paper.
The Aztecs were a Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people of central Mexico in the 14th, 15th & 16th centuries. They called themselves Mexica. The Republic of Mexico and its capital, Mexico City, derive their names from the word "Mexica". http://www.crystalinks.com/azteculture.html
Aztec Stone Sun Calendar:
The Aztec Sun Stone (or Calendar Stone) depicts the five consecutive worlds of the sun from Aztec mythology. It is not a functioning calendar, but instead an elaborately carved solar disk representing rulership. The stone is 358 centimetres (11.75 ft) in diameter and 98 centimetres (3.22 ft) thick, and it weighs about 24 tons.
Learn more here:
MExican Ballet Folklorico
Learn about Mexican animals here:
Tlaloc: God of RAIN
Photo: M. Chambers
Step 1: Find pages in magazines with bright solid colours and bright patterns and rip them out.
Step 2: Using a ruler and a pencil create stripes to cut out or if you have a small cutting board (a great and reasonably priced investment from a craft store) cut out stripes (this is much faster).
Step 3: Cut the white paper to the size you want for the serapes. Then glue the stripes onto the white paper. The stripes will hang off the edge. Once complete trim the edges to fit the white paper by flipping the paper over.
Step 4: If you want cut little slits on either end of the paper to create a fringe effect. It's ready for display or to glue in your Family Theme Day scrapbook.
there are many indigenous tribes in Mexico: Nahuatl,
Zapotec, Otomi, Huichol,
Totonac are just a few!
Copyright 2017. Family Theme Days. All rights reserved.
Materials: coloured paper, child safe scissors, googly eyes (optional) or markers, pencil (Optional), glue stick, damp cloth for sticky fingers.
Step 1: Cut out some basic shapes for younger children or have older ones do it themselves. You will need an elongated egg shape for the body, a smaller egg shape for the head, a long triangle for the tail, and four feet/legs (we cut triangles and then cut out toes at the base).
Step 2: Have your child glue the pieces UNDER the body piece.
Step 3: Cut out a strip of coloured paper that will fit along the back of the iguana. Fold it in half lengthwise and then on one half cut out triangles to form a ridged effect.
Step 4: Glue the ridged strip to the back of the reptile craft.
Step 5: Glue on the googly craft eyes if using, or draw eyes on the Iguana.
A common reptile seen in Mexico is the iguana!
Traditional Clothing of Mexico
The National Flower:
The National Flower of Mexico is the dahlia. It was declared the national flower in 1963. These tubers were grown as food by the Aztecs.
Mexican Paper Flowers:
Materials: Six pieces of coloured tissue paper, pipe cleaner, scissors.
I discovered how to make these online. Check out the instructions on how to make a paper flower here:
Alebrije are either wood carvings or paper maché figurines of fantastical creatures painted in bright colours. Pedro Linares is the creator of this art form: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Linares
The Mexican carver Manuel Jiménez Ramírez originated the wood carving version of alebrijes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Jim%C3%A9nez_Ram%C3%ADrez
Photos: Bing Search Free Images
Papel picado is a Mexican folk art made by cutting paper into intricate designs. These are decorative paper banners commonly cut from tissue paper made by folding the paper and using small, sharp scissors. They are made for many celebratory occasions like Easter, Christmas, The Day of the Dead, and quinceañeras. Common themes found in this craft are birds, flowers and skeletons.
Materials: Tissue paper (or for smaller kids just use coloured craft paper because tissue paper tears so easily), a copy of my Papel Picado template, child safe scissors.
Materials: Tissue paper (original link calls for crepe paper), child safe scissors, masking tape. If you want use my template or have your kids freestyle it and see what they can create:
Step 1: You may have to cut your tissue paper to fit the template. Make sure the paper is twice as big as the design since the template represents only have of the design. We layered the tissue paper to make two at once!
Step 2: Fold your paper in half and lay the template on it (you may cut out the template before hand or simply cut it out at the same time as you cut the coloured paper).
Step 3: Cut out the design in the tissue paper. Smaller children may have a hard time with the inner designs so be on hand to help.
A serapes or sarape is a long blanket or shawl that is brightly coloured and fringed at the ends worn in Mexico, especially by men..
VARIATION: Have you child make up his/her own designs!
NOTE: I also experimented a bit and tried cutting my own design using a craft knife (x-acto knife) which was easier but of course more dangerous for children.
Pyramid of the Sun
There are so many fun crafts to make when you are learning about a different country. Pick your favourite ones to make for your Mexico Theme Day!
Photo: R. Blum