Castanets and Maracas

The last two weeks in Emma’s spanish class, we have discussed el cinco de mayo.

I found a really informative book at our public library and read excerpts to the class to explain the history and tradition of the celebration. The book also has wonderful examples of papel picados on almost every page – punched paper art that often adorn festivals and celebrations.
Last year at home, the kids and I made papel picados with tissue paper, scissors and shape punchers – I thought this would be a great art and cultural lesson with the kindergartners.
They were certainly interested, and really curious about making the intricate shapes and subjects instead of the boring patterns we made. ūüôā

We simply took construction paper or tissue paper (their choice), folded it accordion style, and went to town with my punchers.  I also showed them how to use scissors along the folds to make more shapes and designs, just like making snowflakes.  If you are looking for something a little more difficult and artistic, online searching led me to several printable templates for papel picados.

This week we visisted some great musical resources on mariachi music from the Smithsonian.  The kids enjoyed an applet that allowed users control over the volume of various instruments, giving students a chance to notice the differences in the trompeto or guitarron.

Emma and Aedan helped me make maracas from cardboard tubes and beans yesterday afternoon (another great craft from our children’s librarian…Mrs. Turnis rocks!) ¬†During library time, we decoupaged with glue and tissue paper, but I left them blank so the kids could decorate with markers or crayons in their free time. ¬†We used an empty wrapping paper tube, and cut each maraca to be about four inches long. ¬†Flatten one edge and staple it closed, fill 1/3 full with beans or rice, and flatten the remaining edge the opposite way – like a single-serve sour cream container – and staple it closed.

And today Aedan helped me hammer metal bottle caps and hot glue them to rounded strips of cardboard for the castanets.

It’s a good thing Joel is a bit of a hoarder, too!

Flattening the bottle caps a bit with the hammer pushed their inner surface closer to the cardboard and made it more likely to attach with the hot glue gun.

As we listened to mariachi music in spanish class today, we talked about the instruments, the rhythm, the lyrics and the themes of the music.  The kids played along with their percussion instruments and talked about which beats were fast or slow, and which voices were loud and soft.  I was really worried that the kids would think it was kind of lame, but they seemed to really enjoy it!  Dippee!

I told Joel last night after the kids were tucked away that I was really happy with the way our kids were picking up spanish at home – Emma brought her soup bowl to the kitchen for a refill at supper and said, “me gusta mucho!” Aedan, while tucking his three puppies into bed alongside him (Three-year olds can only have three bed friends. ¬†It’s a good rule to have!) informed me that he had renamed one of them Chachi. Lovely…

It’s too bad the kiddos at school have Grandparents Day next Thursday – I totally would have baked up a storm for my little spanish learners!

Hasta luego!