Hispanic Heritage Month occurs every year from September 15 until October 15. September 15 is the day of independence for many Central American countries. Mexico’s independence is actually September 16 and not May 5th as many may think. May 5th is the celebration of the victory of the Mexican army in the Battle of Puebla with France. Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the achievement and contributions that many Hispanic Americans have made in the United States.
As the daughter of parents who migrated from the Dominican Republic, this month is important to me. It’s important because it’s an opportunity for families of different backgrounds to learn about Hispanic Americans, Hispanic/Latin countries and our heritage and traditions. Furthermore, it is a way to involve my family in learning about other Hispanic cultures. Since becoming a mom, my heritage has definitely become more important. As far as I can remember, the most important part of my culture has been family. Whether it was a bad, happy, sad or funny moment I can remember family being there. I want my son to grow up knowing his family is there for him at any moment and I want him to keep this going for generations to come.
Ways to incorporate kids in Hispanic Heritage Month
- Reading books to kids. I read books to my son by Hispanic authors or that are in English and in Spanish. This is a fun and educational way to get kids involved. A few books I have been reading with my son are the following: What Can You Do With a Paleta/Que Puedes Hacer Con Una Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla and I Love Saturday and Domingos by Alma Flor Ada.
- Take the kids to dinner and the flamenco show at the famous Colombia Restaurant. They have a flamenco dancing show every night except Sundays. The restaurant is beautiful and the food is really good. So not only would you have a nice meal, but also take in a great show and have a nice time out for the family.
- Listen to music at home or in the car. I grew up listening to Spanish music. My mom would crank the radio up as she was cooking, cleaning or just about anything. It brought us all together. Types of music we listen to and dance to are Merengue, Bachata, Salsa and Ranchera. You can have a family dance party with the kids to make it a fun activity.
- Another fun way to incorporate the family into Hispanic Heritage Month is to do arts and crafts. Make a piñata, Guatemalan kite or print out flags from different Hispanic countries and have the kids color them. I definitely love to use Pinterest for these ideas.
Family events happening in Tampa Bay for Hispanic Heritage Month
- October 7th there will be the Viva Tampa Bay Hispanic Heritage Festival for the family. It is free and it will be held in Ybor city. 11am- 6pm.
- Your local public library has bilingual weekly story time for children ages 3-5 for 30 minutes. The children are read to in English and Spanish.
- October 21st is the 21st annual Lakeland Hispanic Festival. Begins at 11am.
List of Children’s Books
Tito Puente, Mambo King/ Tito Puente, Rey de Mambo by Monica Brown
Abuela by Aurthor Dorros
Niño Wrestles the World by Yuri Morales
Lil Libros by Patty Rodriguez
Island Girl By Junot Diaz
What Can You Do With a Paleta/Que Puedes Hacer Con Una Paleta? By Carmen Tafolla
I Love Saturday and Domingos by Alma Flor Ada.