Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd in southern and central Mexico and around the world. The day is set aside to celebrate, remember, and welcome back the souls of deceased relatives. It often features skeletons, altars, and skull decor. Altars with food offerings, flowers, and gifts adorn the homes of the people celebrating the holiday with parties and family gatherings.
The Day of the Dead allows you to take a deeper look inside a culture and incorporate some immersive activities designed to diversify your students’ knowledge of world history and culture. Depending on the age of your students and what you have been studying, Dia de los Muertos allows you to discuss how grief and mourning are celebrated in different cultures and how Mexico differs from common US customs.
Dia de los Muertos Classroom Activities & Games
Teaching about the Day of the Dead allows you to incorporate lessons about the country of Mexico, the Spanish language, and the art and science related to the holiday. If you have students or families who celebrate the holiday, including it in your teaching lineup ensures that these individuals don’t feel overlooked or left out. There are several ways to incorporate the Day of the Dead into your classroom activities. Once you’ve provided some background and the basics, try some of these!
Spanish Language Activities
Depending on the age of your group and if they have had any Spanish classes, you can incorporate the language by using songs, poetry, or simple Spanish language games and labeling activities. More advanced classes can pick up some extra vocabulary that relates to the holiday. You can also dive deeper into the impact Dia de los Muertos has had on Mexican culture.
Sugar Skull Activities
Learning about sugar skulls and their role in Day of the Dead celebrations makes it easy to incorporate the skulls themselves into an art project. Whether you make sugar skull masks, create colorful 3D art, or actually make the traditional candy skulls in class, art is a natural extension of the lesson.
Take advantage of the fun and vibrant skeletons displayed so prominently on the Day of the Dead and incorporate them into an anatomy lesson about bones and the human body for science. From skeleton puzzles to labeling and assembly activities, hands-on makes learning about the skeletal system fun!
Dias de los Muertos Memory Niche Lesson Plan
This Day of the Dead art lesson plan is ready to go! Students will combine two Mexican traditions of the Day of the Dead and a memory niche. A niche is an ornamental recess designed to hold a statue, picture, or object, originally created to honor a saint or holy person. This unique lesson plan allows students to integrate their own lives with a celebrated tradition.
More Celebrations & Seasons Ideas for the Classroom
Looking for more ways to bring other cultures and celebrations into your classroom? Check out these other autumn celebrations from around the world. Our Celebrations & Themes specialty shop has all the arts & crafts supplies you need to make it happen!