Teaching Preschoolers About Cinco de Mayo: Introduction to a Different Culture

Teaching Preschoolers About Cinco de Mayo: Introduction to a Different Culture
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Cinco de Mayo

The original reason people in Mexico celebrate on the fifth of May is because Mexico, against all odds, won the Battle of Puebla

defeating France. The celebration is to show pride for the soldiers, the country, and the wonderful culture. It is a time for bright colors, dancing, parades, good food, and traditional music.

Below are some reviews of Cinco de Mayo books for preschool.

Cinco de Mouse-O by Judy Cox

30 pages, full page color pictures

Mouse smells some spicy food and ventures out of his hidey-hole to find the food. The greedy cat is following him, but Mouse is too busy to notice. Mouse eats some crumbs of the tacos, flan, tamales, and chorizo that fall as people are eating. But, most of all, Mouse wants some candy from the piñata that is hanging up above. Meanwhile, cat wants a tasty mouse to eat.

This book is obviously fictional, but, as Mouse searches for food, he sees many signs of the Cinco de Mayo celebration.

A few Spanish words are blended throughout the text of the book. In most cases, they are familiar Spanish words and the meanings can be understood through context clues.

Here are the Spanish words with pronunciations and meanings:

  • cinco (sink-oh) - five
  • Mayo (my-oh) - May
  • de (day) - of
  • sombreros (soam-brair-ohs) - hats
  • fantastico (fantastic-coh) - fantastic
  • fiesta (fee-es-tah) - party
  • serapes (sair-op-pays) - shawl or blanket used as a cloak
  • piñatas (peen-YAH-tahs) - brightly decorated figure usually made with paper mache and containing candy and small toys. While it is hanging above, children try to break it so that everyone can scurry to grab the goodies.
  • chorizo (chore-ee-so) - spicy Spanish sausage
  • flan (flahn) - type of pastry
  • mariachi (mahr-ee-AH-chi) - Mexican folk music usually played by a small strolling band
  • Viva! (vee-vah) - Long live!
  • Que Felicidad (kay-fay-lee-see-dahd) - what happiness or such happiness

Cinco de Mayo by Mary Dodson Wade

Cinco de Mayo by Wade

A Rookie Read-About Holidays Series book - 31 pages

This book has colorful photographs and simple text and explains the history of the Cinco de Mayo celebration. It offers pronunciations for the Spanish words. There is a small picture dictionary in the back and an index to help you quickly find information. Any time that you can introduce a second language to preschool children in a natural way like this, take the opportunity!

Max Celebrates Cinco de Mayo by Adria Worsham


Read-it! Readers: Red Level; 23 pages with full color drawings

This is the simplest book of the four books on this list. By that, I mean it has simple concepts and common words. Jose (Ho-zay) invites his friend Max to a fiesta. The fiesta is to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Max learns about the traditions of the holiday. They eat special foods, play music, go to a parade, and hit the piñata.

Cinco de Mayo by Janet Riehecky


Circle the Year with Holidays book; 29 pages of full color drawings

Maria wants to help her family prepare for the Cinco de Mayo celebration. But, every time she tries to do something, she makes mistakes. She drops the cheese while grating it, hits her dad’s thumb with a hammer, breaks her brother’s guitar string, and accidentally rips the lanterns that her sister is hanging. She feels bad about herself. To make her feel better, her sister takes her to the library to enter a drawing contest. She wins! Later she breaks something that she is supposed to break…the piñata!

This is a nice story because it shows a family supporting each other. Holiday traditions are mentioned throughout as the family prepares. At the end of the book the reader will find two simple craft ideas, a taco recipe, and a one-page history of the holiday.

This post is part of the series: Cinco de Mayo Preschool Activities, Books and Crafts

It’s Spring! What a perfect time to have a celebration. Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, is a colorful and joyful holiday filled with Mexican traditions. Your students will have fun listening to books and making crafts to decorate for the fiesta. Que Felicidad!

  1. Cinco de Mayo Books for Preschool: Time for a Fiesta!
  2. Four Preschool Crafts for Cinco de Mayo: Fiesta Fun!
  3. Viva la Fiesta! Cinco de Mayo Activities for Preschoolers