Welcome to X is for MeXico for the Global Children’s Book Club! Today we’ll be going on a virtual tour of Mexico with kids. Get ready for a fun and inspiring Mexico virtual field trip – perfect for global education at home or for a Mexico homeschooling unit.
You can find the full list of countries for the book club right HERE. Be sure to sign up for the email list to get all the information in advance and to receive fun extras!
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X is for Mexico: Mexico Virtual Tour for Kids
Featured Mexico Book
What Can You Do with a Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla (Author), Magaly Morales (Illustrator)
Author Read Aloud
What Can You Do With A Paleta Picture Book Discussion Questions
- Has food ever made it easier to make new friends in your life?
- Do you have a favorite frozen treat that is specific to your heritage?
- Sometimes one sense memory can remind you of another, like the sound of a paleta wagon’s tinkly bell can remind someone of the flavor of paletas. Are there any sounds that remind you of specific flavors? Any flavors that remind you of specific sights? Any smells that remind you of specific people?
- What is your favorite flavor of fruit?
- Has a favorite food ever helped you get through a long, hard day?
Other Mexico Books for Kids
- The capital of Mexico is Mexico City.
- The official name is United Mexican States.
- Andrés Manuel López Obrador is the current President of Mexico.
- Mexico is located in North America.
- Mexico borders the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico; the United States to the north, and Belize and Guatemala to the south.
- Spanish is one of the main languages of Mexico. Some of the most widely spoken languages in Mexico are Nahuatl, which has more than 1.7 million speakers; Maya, spoken by around 850,000 people; and Mixtec.
- The currency in Mexico is Mexican peso. $1 USD = 23.06 Mexican Peso.
- Mexico has wet and dry seasons. Mexico’s rainy season runs from May to October each year.
- About 83% identify as Roman Catholics and 7% Protestant.
- Mexico’s main industries are food, cars, and consumer goods. Mexico exports, or sells, a lot of silver, fruits and vegetables to other countries.
- Millions of monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico every year from the U.S. and Canada.
- A Mexican tamale called the zacahuil is three feet long and weighs about 150 pounds.
- Popcorn was first made in pre-historic cities in Mexico. It was made in very hot clay pots and was called momochtli.
- Chocolate was invented in Mexico! The Aztecs used cocoa pasted in drinks for its health benefits.
- The Maya people were the first to invent chewing gum!
- The border between Mexico and the United States is the second largest border in the world (only the U.S.-Canadian border is longer).
- Mexico City has the highest elevation and is oldest city in North America. It is also one of the largest cities in the world.
- Red poinsettias come from Mexico. They were renamed after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico.
- Mexico has more Catholics than any other country in the world except Brazil.
Mexico has gone through many cultural transformations. It tends to follow the history of the country with major changes happening around the time of Spanish colonization, Mexican independence, and the Mexican Revolution.
While the overwhelming majority of Mexicans speak Spanish, many also speak indigenous languages. Did you know the word “chocolate” comes from the language Nahuatl?
Family is extremely important in Mexican society. Extended families tend to be large and close. Hosting family parties is very common in Mexican culture.
One major Mexican family event is the quinceañera, when a young woman turns 15. She usually has a large party with lots of family and friends, very fancy dress, and a church mass.
Color in Mexico on this map of North America!
Mexico with Kids: Flag Activity
Flag from HERE
HERE is a fun printable Mexico flag coloring sheet!
Mexico Virtual Tour to a Featured Landmark
The ancient Maya city of Chichen Itza with was a very sacred place. The ruins today show pyramids, temples, and other stone buildings. The Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo) is the most famous structure. It’s a pyramid with 365 steps – one for each day of the year.
When the sun hits the temple at just right time at the equinox, an image of a serpent appears!
The biggest Maya ball court (juego de pelota) is in Chichen Itza. It is nearly 600 feet long! Despite this, if you whisper at one end of the court, someone can hear it all the way at the other end due to the acoustics. Each side of the court has stone hoops.
Uxmal is another ancient Maya ruin that is extremely well-preserved!
Teotihuacán was a pre-Colombian city in Mexico. It was the largest city in pre-Colombian Americas, and dominated that area of Mexico. The site began as a religious center but became the largest and most populated area. It is now the most visited archeological site in Mexico.
Featured Mexican Artist: Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico and cared deeply about sharing Mexican folk culture. She did not want it to get lost from colonization. She often wore traditional Mexican clothes.
Frida painted in a way that shared Mexican culture with all who viewed it. She used strong lines and bright colors. She also painted to share the experience of a woman, which was not common during that time. Frida painted other women and situations specific to women (like motherhood), and even hard things like abuse towards women.
Featured Important Mexican Person: Miguel Hidalgo
Miguel Hidalgo was a Roman Catholic priest who was a leader in the Mexican War for Independence. Because he was so instrumental in the creation of independent Mexico, he is recognized as the Father of Mexico.
Hidalgo was a professor and served in a church, and discovered some very fertile soil. He tried to teach the poor to grow olives and grapes, but that often wasn’t allowed by Spain because it would mean people wouldn’t purchase as many Spanish imports. Hidalgo gave a famous speech called “Cry of Dolores” where he encouraged people to revolt against the European Spanish. He marched across Mexico and gathered a large army.
Unfortunately, many of his army fled, and he was eventually caught and executed. His legacy, however, inspired those who came after him.
Featured Mexican Food: Mexican Recipes for Kids
Mexican food often uses vibrant spices such as cumin, coriander, lime, and more. Corn is also very common in Mexican cooking.
Here are some common foods in Mexico:
- Tamales – a dough made of corn cooked in a corn husk
- Pozole – a soup made with broth, corn, spices, and toppings
- Chilaquiles – fried corn tortillas topped with eggs, salsa, cheese, and cream
- Tortillas – a flatbread
- Meat, especially beef and pork
- Taco – a folded tortilla with fillings
- Aguas frescas – fresh juices
Mexican Recipes for Kids
Here are some of our favorite kid friendly Mexican food recipes!
- Simple and kid-friendly Instant Pot black bean and rice burrito filling. My 9 year old can make this recipe on his own, so you definitely can, too! It’s not the most traditional filling, but is adapted to be vegetarian and very easy to make.
- Horchata (cinnamon rice drink)
- Creamy poblano pepper enchiladas
Mexican Craft & Culture Activities for Kids
Frida Kahlo Activity For Kids
Frida painted several self-portraits in a distinct, colorful style. You, too, can paint a self portrait!
- White paper
- Paint or oil pastels in bright colors
- Paint brushes
- A mirror
- An image of Self Portrait – The Frame, by Frida Kahlo
- Observe yourself in the mirror. Look at the shape of your eyes and nose.
- Start by drawing an oval, then split it into four parts. Draw eyes along the middle horizontal line, then fill in the rest in whatever colors represent your life!
HERE are 9 other Frida Kahlo-inspired art projects for kids!
People of Mexico often wear a sarape, or poncho. It’s often brightly colored and fringed at the end. You can make your own poncho at home!
- Paper grocery bag
- Paints and brush
- Colored construction paper
- Optional: we love these smocks
- Cut a hole in the bottom of the bag large enough for your child’s head. Cut out arm holes on the sides.
- Decorate the outside of the bag with paint and markers.
- Cut strips of colored construction paper and glue to the edge of the bag at the bottom when worn to create a fringe.
Chichen Itza Activity for Kids
- Discuss some of the key features of Chichen Itza and why it is important. Then build your own model of Chichen Itza. How many steps can you build?
- You may also want to consider if you were an ancient Maya, what god you would revere. Would you pay homage to the rain god? The earth god? How would you design your own temple to that god?
Mexican Art Books
Other Mexico Kids Activities
- Learn to draw a sugar skull
- Paper Cup Maracas and Sombrero
- Mini Pinatas
- Painted Cactus Rock Garden
- Make your own nicho boxes
- Mexican coloring pages
- Chichen Itza coloring page
- Dahlia coloring page – national flower of Mexico
- Make Mexican flag slime
- Mexican metal art
Animals in Mexico
- Mexico’s spiny-tail iguana
- Coatimundi – white nosed coati
- Ocelot – medium-sized wild cat and similar in appearance to a clouded leopard or jaguar
Learn more about Mexican animals here.
Mexico Movement Activities
Children’s Games in Mexico
If you’re looking for some ideas for Mexican games and activities, here are a few simple and fun ones:
Mexican Folk Dance: Mexican Folklorico Dance Lesson
There are many different styles of Mexican music. One popular style is mariachi music. Mariachi developed in the Mexican countryside in the 1700s. Mariachi music usually has at least 2 violins, 2 trumpets, and a few different types of guitars. It can often have as many as 20 musicians!
Charrería: National Sport of Mexico
Charrería is an equestrian event that often takes place at a bullfighting tournament. It is the national sport of Mexico (although association football – soccer – is the most popular).
Languages in Mexico
- Spanish is the most common language spoken in Mexico. While it is officially the language used in government, it is not required by law.
- Indigenous languages are also common in Mexico. Those are languages that were used in what is now Mexico, but prior to the arrival of European colonists.
- Mexico has more Spanish speakers than any other country.
- Hola means “hello” in Spanish.
Mexico Literature & Mexican Folktales
Mexican folktales are often allegorical. They are used to teach principles such as honesty, hard work, endurance, and wisdom.
Here is a read aloud of a Mexican folk tale called Cuckoo.
Mexico Writing Prompts for Elementary and Middle School Children
- Write a paragraph on what excites you about visiting Mexico.
- Look up a paleta recipe. Write your own with different fruits!
Day of the Dead Writing Assignment: Mexico for Kids Language Arts Activity
Read a book about Dia de los Muertos. Have children research an ancestor and write an essay talking about her or his life. Have kids consider for what they think the ancestor would most want to be remembered.
Kid Movies About Mexico
Mexico Conversations with a Local: Culture, History, & Food Discussion Video
Mexico with Kids Discussion Questions
- What is something you do to remember your ancestors? What have you learned from them or their examples that makes you a better person?
- At what age will you consider yourself an adult? 15?
- When the Spanish explorer Cortés met the Aztec Emperor Moctezuma, multiple translators were required. Moctezuma’s generous language and Cortés’s ambition resulted in a significant misunderstanding and thousands of deaths. How do you make sure that you understand what other people are saying?
- If you built a structure as precisely beautiful as Chichen Itza, what would you use it for?
- Is there a part of your culture you would like to preserve (like how Frida Kahlo made sure to wear traditional Mexican clothes)?
Thanks for Taking a Virtual Visit to Mexico With Us!
We’ve loved putting together this resource to virtually visit Mexico. We’d love to hear if you do any of these activities for a homeschooling Mexico unit, or if you visit in person!
We hope to inspire curiosity and connection through exploring and learning, and we hope this guide helps you and your families. Please share any activities you do with us over on our Instagram. And we’d be delighted if you passed this Mexico for kids virtual tour and homeschooling resource along to others, as well!
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