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Naturally Educational » 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Interpersonal » Simple Calaveras Masks for Dia de los Muertos

Simple Calaveras Masks for Dia de los Muertos

After Halloween, our friends from Latin America celebrate Día de los Muertos. The holiday has its roots in an idea similar to the Celtic Samhain and the Christian All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.  In contrast with our modern Halloween, however, Día de los Muertos is more of a celebration of departed loved ones, rather than a fright fest.

In Mexico, the celebration is marked with alters containing marigolds and calaveras (skulls, particularly the popular sugar skulls). Papel picado (cut paper) and tableaus of calacas (skeletons) are other popular decorations.

Because the kids are very young, we used these calavera coloring sheets. Next year, I think I will just cut out the shape of the skull from the paper plate and then give them q-tips and paint for decorating.

This is a very simple project.

1. Color in the calavera coloring sheets.

2. Cut out the skull and paste to the paper plate. Cut out the eyes. Trim the paper plate if desired.

3. Punch holes in either side of the mask and thread yarn for tying on the mask.

Educational Connections

  • History and Culture: What is Dia de los Muertos? How did native traditions combine with Spanish Catholic traditions in this holiday?
  • Art: What do flowers and bright colors usually represent? Why are these used on skulls? What does this say about the traditional Mexican attitude about death?
  • Social and Emotional Development: If you feel it is appropriate, you can discuss some of the people you love who are no longer among the living. How does your family remember these people and honor them?
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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Interpersonal · Tags: , , , , ,

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