Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos, is a Latin American holiday that honors and remembers relatives that have died. Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1 and 2 and is a day of celebrating the lives of those who have passed on, not mourning their death. Fun craft projects are a great way to get children involved in and to help them become familiar with holiday traditions and celebrations.To help introduce Dia de los Muertos to young children here are three fun Day of the Dead Craft projects parents and children can make together.
Three Day of The Dead Craft Projects for Children
Day of The Dead Masks
Skulls and skeletons are seen as friendly not scary or menacing in Day of the Dead celebrations and are used frequently in decorating for the holiday. Children will enjoy making their own Dia de los Muertos skull masks in this fun activity.
White paper plates
1. Trace a skull shape onto the paper plate. Shape should be almost as large as the plate.
2. Trace eye sockets, mouth and nose onto the skull.
3. Use scissors to cut out skull shape and facial features.
4. Punch a hole on the edge of either side of the paper plate.
5. Cut two 10 inch pieces of yarn.
6. Tie the yarn in the holes.
7.Use markers to decorate the skull mask in a variety of bright colors, flowers and designs.
8. Tie the yarn in a bow behind your head to wear your Day of The Dead Skull Mask.
Day of The Dead Banner
Children will love making these colorful day of the Dead banners, also know as “Papel Picado” in Mexican culture. Use them to decorate for a Day of the Dead feast or as part of a shrine to loved ones who have passed on.
Brightly colored 10 inch by 12 inch tissue paper rectangles
1. Fold over a one inch flap at the top of each tissue paper rectangle. When cutting don’t cut into your flap.
2. Fold each rectangle in half and then fold in half again just as you would to make a paper snowflake.
3. Use the scissors to cut interesting shapes and designs on the folds. If you want cut designs in the center of your tissue paper rectangle fold the paper in half again and cut shapes out of the paper.
4. When you are satisfied with the cuts you have made open open the tissue paper.
5. Cut a piece of yarn longer than the amount of tissue paper rectangles you have.
6. Line up the cut tissue paper squares making sure the flap is at the top.
7. Place the yarn under each flap and apply glue to close.
8. Allow to dry.
9. Hang from the ceiling as part of your Day of the Dead decorations.
Tissue Paper Flowers
Flowers play a big part in Day of the Dead celebrations and are used to decorate grave sites, shrines and tables. Many people also wear flowers. The marigold is one of the most popular flowers used as its said that the spirit of loved ones are attracted to its strong scent. Children will enjoy making their own paper marigolds and other colorful flowers with this easy tissue paper flower craft.
Brightly colored tissue paper
1. Layer 5 sheets of tissue paper on top of each other.
2. Cut out 8 inch squares of tissue paper. Make sure and hold the paper together as you are cutting to keep the layers stacked together.
3. Hold tissue sheets together and fold like you would if you were making a paper fan, keep folding until you have a small rectangle strip of folded tissue paper.
4. Make a small triangle shaped notch on either side of the center of the rectangle strip.
5. Fold a green pipe cleaner over the center of the rectangle strip where the notches are and twist closed.
6. To fluff the flowers start at the top and gently pull each layer of tissue paper towards the top center of the flower making sure to separate each piece of tissue paper.
7. Experiment with the size and appearance of the flowers by using different amounts and sizes of tissue paper.
8. Tissue paper flowers can be grouped together in a bouquet or strung together to adorn a Day of the Dead shrine or add a festive atmosphere to your Day of the Dead feast.
Any of these three crafts are sure to add a festive air to your Day of the Dead celebrations and are a great way to introduce Dia de los Muertos customs and traditions to children.