7 Day of the Dead Activities to Do with Kids

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Thanks to the great folks at Target for underwriting this post. As always, my comments, opinions, and love for celebrating Day of the Dead are my own.

Each year I like to share about our Day of the Dead festivities. I hold this celebration particularly close to my heart. And I think it’s a beautiful representation of our Mexican culture. I love that more and more folks are showing an interest in it.

Apart from all the colors, aromas, flavors, and music of Day of the Dead, for me, the most important part is its meaning: To remember those we’ve lost and to see death as both natural and even beautiful.

My two sons, at certain times in their lives, have had questions about death. So the festival affords an opportunity to teach them a little about this rite of passage as well as remember our loved-ones in a happy and joyful way.

7 Day of the Dead Activities to Do with Kids

1. Create a traditional altar in your home to remember and celebrate the lives of your loved-ones who have passed. Altars generally include a photo or photos of your loved-ones, their favorite foods and breads, candles, flowers, and more. You can read more about the symbolism and meanings behind the altars, and see a fascinating display of Day of the Dead altars in Mexico here. A year ago, we set up a small altar in our home, and here I tell what we used.

2. Cook something tasty, maybe your loved-one’s favorite dish, or something representative of Day of the Dead. It’s a great opportunity to talk to the kids about some special memory or tell a nice story about a family member. If you would like some ideas, check out my Day of the Dead foccacia bread, or make Day of the Dead cookies.

3. Visit a cemetery. Many are full of people, flowers, and colors on Day of the Dead. A couple of years ago my boys had a wonderful experience visiting the cemetery in the city where my family lives. It’s incredible the questions my boys asked while in a place like that. My older boy liked the experience so much, he took the camera and created a photo essay of the flowers of Day of the Dead. It’s still hard to believe these photos were taken by an 8-year-old.

paper flowers - cempazuchitl

4. Make a craft. You can use my paper Cempazúchitl flower tutorial, or make skeleton flower pots, papel picado, or carve a pumpkin in the shape of a skeleton, you’re sure to find something fun that will keep them occupied for a bit.

5. Apply make-up like Catrinas or Catrines. Here is a tutorial on how to apply make-up with to kids.

6. Create sugar skulls. These are very traditional and easy to make. Here’s how.

7. Go see a Day of the Dead celebration. Many cities, communities, and parks have festivals or displays where you can spend a fun time with the family. If you are in the Los Angeles area, why not stop by Disneyland where they have Day of the Dead displays.

So what do you think? There are many ways to celebrate this beautiful tradition of Day of the Dead with your family. What will you do this year?


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Amanda Matheny
Amanda Matheny

This is very interesting and some really great ideas. I’ve never personally celebrated the Day of the Dead myself, but when I was in high school taking Spanish, we did I believe a week long lesson on El Dia de los Muertos, for those who don’t know, that’s Spanish for the Day of the Dead. It was pretty awesome and highly intriguing. Also, when I was younger I used to watch a show called the Wild Thornberrys. There was an episode about the Day of the Dead there as well. It might be fun to dig it up and show… Read more »