preschool kids playing mexican guitar

The National Hispanic Heritage Month is drawing close! Starting September 15, the country will celebrate and honor the Hispanic and Latino community in a month filled with joyful festivities. 

To help your kids understand the importance of this month, we have listed all the things you need to know about this upcoming heritage event.

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

The National Hispanic Heritage Month is a yearly celebration of the Latin American and Hispanic community in the United States. Throughout the month, it recognizes the contributions of their community in shaping US society as a whole. It puts into the spotlight the impacts of their heritage from language, food, art, music, culture, and other traditions.

But who are the ones considered as Latin American or Hispanic? According to the National Census in 2020, the Hispanic community is comprised of peoples whose ancestors come from Spanish-speaking countries. This includes Spain, Mexico, Central America, and South America. It also includes some Spanish-speaking countries in the Caribbean.

As of 2019, the Hispanic community makes up 60.6 million people within the United States. That’s around 18.5 percent of the total population in the country. This makes them the largest ethnic minority in the US. A large number of Latinos and Hispanics mostly reside in California, Texas, and Florida, among other states in the country. 

When is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Just as the name suggests, this event is held for an entire month. It lasts from September 15 until October 15 every year. But how did it come to that?

Initially, the Hispanic heritage celebration was set for a week. In 1968, the Hispanic Heritage Week commenced under President Lyndon Johnson. However, this was changed to Hispanic Heritage Month under President Ronald Reagan. Since then, the event is regularly observed for 30 days each year.

Now that we know how it became the month-long celebration that we know today, you might be wondering: why those dates?

It’s because these dates coincide with the Independence Days of countries in Central and South America. For example, five Central American countries—namely, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras—have gained their Independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. Moreover, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day every September 16, while Chile celebrates theirs on September 18.

Why Do We Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

Representation matters and it rings true with the National Hispanic Heritage Month. It is not simply a celebration; it is also an important mark of representation for the Latinos and Hispanics in the United States. After all, this community has played a significant role in shaping the political, social, and cultural landscape of the United States that we know of today.

This month is all about honoring the cultural heritage of the Hispanics from Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. It provides their community the venue to showcase their art, food, languages, and customs and traditions that are uniquely theirs.

This month is important not only for the adults but also for the children. How so? It is through events like these that young Hispanic children have a glimpse of their culture. It serves as their gateway in getting in touch with their roots. With proper representation, they can gain a strong sense of cultural identity and an appreciation of their origin.

Moreover, celebrations like these make the Latin community more visible to those outside their community. As for non-Latinos and Hispanics, this month can help them reflect upon the contributions of the Latin community in our society. They can also gain a deeper appreciation and respect for the richness of Latin culture.

How To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month brings everyone together in a month filled with activities that celebrate the richness of Hispanic culture. You will find art exhibits, concerts, festivals, and film screenings that highlight what makes Hispanic culture truly unique.

Fortunately, your kid can join in the festivities for this important month. Here are some of the fun activities that you and your kids can do to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:

Read Books With Your Kids

Expand your kid’s reading list by adding Spanish language books into the mix. These books will introduce your little one to the colorful culture of the Latino community. You can read along to the stories of Latin and Hispanic children and see how their tales unfold.

It’s best to include a diverse set of stories, poems, and picture books from Latin authors and illustrators. This way, your kid can gain a sense of appreciation of Latin culture, even at a young age. If you want to teach them both English and Spanish, you can choose bilingual books instead.

Don’t know where to begin? No worries! We have listed the best Spanish language books to help you get started.

Enroll in Spanish Language Lessons

Aside from reading, you can also sign up your kid for Spanish language lessons for Hispanic Heritage Month. After all, learning a new language offers a number of benefits not only for cognitive development but also for cultural appreciation. It is one of the best ways your kid can immerse themselves into learning about Hispanic culture.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded Spanish language program, consider signing your kids up for a Spanish immersion program from Rayito de Sol. This program prepares your kids for school with a holistic curriculum taught in Spanish. Not only will your kid have an academic advantage, but they will also gain a deeper appreciation for Latin and Hispanic culture.

Take a Virtual Trip to Spanish-Speaking Countries 

Adventures don’t have to take place outdoors. With the technology available today, you and your kids can go on an exciting trip to Spanish-speaking countries in the comfort of your home. But how can we do that? Let us show you!

For this activity, you can use your laptop, tablet, or a good old map printout. If you’re going with the latter, you can tape a huge map of the world on your wall. Give them a list of itineraries in Spanish-speaking countries and tour them to each country. You can ask your kids to repeat the names of the countries and show them the most notable destinations for each country you visit.

If you prefer a paperless method, you can always make use of virtual maps and treks available online. One good example of this is Scholastic’s Global Trek activity.

Create Colorful Arts and Crafts

Spark your little one’s creativity this month by making Hispanic art-inspired arts and crafts activities. For example, you can try making your own pinata at home using either old newspapers or paper bags. Paint it with the colors you like, and fill it with treats and coins. Once you’re done, you can use it for a fun game that your kids will surely enjoy!

You can also liven up your home with sounds from Hispanic instruments. And the fun part: you can easily make some of them at home! Try making your own maracas using paper bags, rice, and paint. Fill your decorated paper bag with rice and seal it with a rubber band. When it’s done, you can shake it up!

Celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month With Your Kids

With the upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month, make your kid’s celebration more meaningful by teaching them the origins of the event. By immersing your little ones through books, language, pictures, and crafts, your little ones can have a deeper appreciation of Hispanic culture.

Looking for more child development advice? Head over to the Rayito de Sol blog.