Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month, which honors the contributions of Americans with Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American ancestry, runs from September 15 to October 15. Celebrate your heritage – anytime is a great time to pass meaningful traditions down to the next generation.
Taste your heritage. Planning and making authentic, ethnic dishes with your children is a great way to teach them about their roots. Start by perfecting your grandparents' old recipes, then branch out with recipes like an Aztec chocolate flan or a Huitlacoche quesadilla.
Put on your dancing shoes. What’s more enjoyable than letting loose with your kids on the dance floor? Follow in your ancestors’ footsteps (literally) and learn how to do the tango or polka or hora. Dancing’s no fun without the appropriate music, so you’ll get double the cultural bang for your buck.
Focus on the arts. Every culture has its own darlings of the art world. If there’s an exhibit nearby, visit with your kids. Otherwise get online and print artwork from representative artists. Talking about the art and the artist who made it can lead toward organic conversations about your background.
Trace your ancestry. If your kids are old enough, this can be a great research project for the whole family. It’s never been easier, thanks to the Internet Age – there are a number of online apps that help you track down great-great-grandpa. Half history lesson, half scavenger hunt – and entirely fun.
Learn the language. Is your family bilingual? Pick one day of the week where you speak only your native language at home. Don’t speak a word? Learn one new phrase a week – you’ll be greeting each other with "hello," "good morning," "I love you" or "happy birthday" in no time!
Tell a story. Children love hearing folktales, which happen to be unique incubators for the values, myths and traditions that your heritage holds dear. Tell them with plenty of color (and pepper them with a phrase or two from your ancestral tongue) so that one day, your children will remember how to tell them the same way to their own kids.
Make a time capsule. Take storytelling to the next level by having your kids “interview” a grandparent or great-grandparent on video. What was it like where they grew up? What were their parents like? Did they have any special holiday traditions? This video will become a treasured keepsake to hand down for generations.
In collaboration with National 4-H Council. Visit 4-H.org for more tips, ideas and activities for the entire family.