Hispanic Heritage month, celebrated from September 15 to October 15, is a time when all Long Islanders can learn more about the various cultures, countries and people that make up Latin America. It is a great opportunity for families and kids to try new and different activities. We’ve listed some great ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the kids.
Attend an Event
Lakeside Concerts at Eisenhower Park – A Hispanic Heritage celebration will be held at Eisenhower Park. The family friendly festival will feature more than 10 different orchestras performing live Bachata, Cumbia and Merengue. There will be folkloric dance performances and food kiosks serving different ethnic cuisines. Read our family guide to Eisenhower Park here.
Where: Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater, Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, NY (along Merrick Avenue, between Stewart Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike)
When: September 23, 1 pm-9 pm
Contact Info: 516-572-0200
Central American Parade/Festival – The 23rd annual Central American Parade/Festival will be celebrated this year. Participants representing the different nations of Central America come out to celebrate their cultures with music and dance.
Where: Franklin Ave, Hempstead, NY (starting at Old Franklin Street and Main Street, winding up at Municipal Parking Lot #1 opposite Washington Avenue and Front Street)
When: September 16, 11:00 am
Contact Info: 516-292-0052
Read a Book
Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in English and Spanish by Alma Flor Ada
This book not only helps to reinforce the letters of the alphabet, but it also teaches kids a Spanish word for each letter of the alphabet as well. It teaches them about Hispanic agricultural life, through poems written in both Spanish and English utilizing the new Spanish words that they are learning.
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is a Cuban folktale about a cockroach looking for a love. The book is sprinkled with Spanish words and is a perfect way to introduce kids to the Spanish language.
Take a Class
Spanish Immersion Workshop offers classes for kids ages 1-10. Classes incorporate music, storytelling, dance and arts & crafts. Kids not only learn the language, they also learn about the culture. Classes are offered in four different locations on Long Island: Manhasset, Garden City, Dix Hills and South Huntington. www.spanishiw.com
Make a Craft
Papel Picado, meaning cut paper, is a decorative craft which is common in Mexico. Elaborate designs are usually stenciled into paper and “cut out” with a chisel. Parents can make a simple form of the craft with kids using tissue paper and scissors. Kids can draw their designs onto paper and then cut them out or they can simply cut the paper free-hand to make a design.
Make a Meal
Quick and Easy Quesadillas are really simple to make and a perfect recipe for kids. First take two tortillas and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend on one tortilla. Add chicken to the same tortilla. Cover the tortilla with toppings with the other tortilla. Bake in the toaster oven until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted. Cut into fours and serve with salsa, sour cream and corn and black bean salad.
Corn and Black Bean Salad is a good side dish for quesadillas. Take two cups of corn, fresh or canned, and mix with two cups of black beans. Add diced tomatoes and jalapeños to taste.
By Mikaela Walker