Cinco de Mayo Celebration
Recognizing the victory of Mexican troops at the battle of Puebla in 1862, Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo with parades, dances, music and treats. Penny Warner, author of The Best Party Book (Meadowbrook Press, 1992), offers great ways to get into the spirit of Cinco de Mayo with your kids. Of course, maracas, piñatas and burritos are essential to any Cinco de Mayo celebration, and Warner has suggestions for how to help your kids celebrate with these homemade items.
"Kids love to experiment with musical instruments, and maracas – often heard in Mexican music – are fun to make and add a happy beat to any music," Warner says. Follow these instructions, and you can add your own snappy beat to the party.
1/2 cup flour
2 to 3 tablespoons water
Toilet paper or paper towel tube
Colorful tissue paper
Felt-tip pens or stickers
Oven preheated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (optional)
What to do:
1. Combine flour and water in the large bowl until you get a thick paste.
2. Place a handful of popcorn kernels into the balloon, and then carefully blow it up and tie it.
3. Tape the toilet paper tube or half a paper towel tube to the balloon so it forms a handle.
4. Cut the newspaper into 1-inch strips and tear the tissue paper into medium-sized pieces.
5. Dip the strips of newspaper into the flour-and-water paste, and then wrap them around the balloon and tube, being sure to cover them completely several times. Stuff some paper up into the tube before covering it.
6. Cover the balloon and tube with two layers of the torn tissue paper.
7. Let dry for 24 hours or bake in oven for five to 10 minutes.
8. When the shell is hard, pop the balloon with a pin inserted directly through the shell.
9. Decorate with the felt-tip pens or stickers. Shake.
Full of surprises, piñatas add fun and Mexican flair to a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Kids can make this easy homemade piñata and will enjoy the fun of the game.
Large paper bag
Small toys, candies, stickers or other treats
Long cord or rope
Bright wrapping paper, crepe paper or paint and paintbrushes
Crepe paper streamers
What to do:
1. Fill the large paper bag with treats.
2. Gather the bag at the top and tie it closed with cord or rope.
3. Decorate the bag with wrapping paper, crepe paper or paint.
4. Tape crepe paper streamers to the bottom of the bag so they will hang down.
5. Hang the piñata from the ceiling with the remaining rope or cord.
6. Have the guests gather around the piñata, not too close, though.
7. Blindfold one player, and instruct the player to take three swings at the piñata with the broom handle. If the piñata breaks, the other players grab what falls out.
8. If the first player doesn't break the bag open, have another player try. Continue until the bag breaks open.
A staple at a Cinco de Mayo party. "Burritos are a whole meal that can be held in one hand," Warner says. You can use a variety of your favorite ingredients to tailor burritos to your taste buds or to please picky eaters.
4 flour tortillas
1 can (9 ounces) refried beans
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
Mild taco sauce
What to do:
1. Fill tortillas evenly with refried beans.
2. Spread grated cheese evenly among the tortillas.
3. Fold the tortillas in half or roll them up.
4. Melt a little margarine in a frying pan on medium-low heat.
5. Place a filled tortilla in the pan, turn the heat up to medium and cook until the underside of the tortilla begins to turn brown.