Looking for engaging Day of the Dead Spanish activities?
Spice up your classes with these Day of the Dead Spanish activities ranging from authentic video clips to make your own memorials, crafts, recipes, songs, and so much more.
Also, be sure to get the Day of the Dead Vocabulary and Secret Message Worksheet at the end of this post.
1. Colorful PowerPoint
A Day of the Dead PowerPoint filled with colorful visuals is a great way to illustrate the most important information about Day of the Dead.
Create your own PowerPoint or just explain Day of the Dead to your class, be sure to include many of the important points such as:
Nov. 1st, 2nd. Día de los Angelitos or Día de los Santos Inocentes, on November 1st, celebrates the little kids and babies who have passed. November 2nd or Día de los Muertos, celebrates the memories of the adults who have passed. Also, during this week, the monarch butterflies return to Michoacán, Mexico. Many people believe that these butterflies symbolize the returning of the spirits of the deceased.
Día de los Muertos is celebrated throughout Mexico, various parts of Central America, and some small pockets of the United States.
How Mexicans Celebrate:
Often, Mexicans celebrate by building altars and decorating them with “ofrendas”: flowers, photos, meaningful objects, foods, candles, incense, etc. Preparing special foods and decorations to celebrate such as pan de muerto, sugar skulls, calacas (skeleton figurines), caretas (masks), and papel picado. Dressing up as the dead (like La Catrina – the Aztec goddess of death). Placing cempasúchiles (marigolds) on the graves and decorating tombs in the cemeteries.
Why Mexicans Do This:
They believe that the ofrendas will attract the spirits of the dead to come back to visit them. When the spirits visit, they want it to be a festive atmosphere, basically a big party so they can all spend the day together.
How Mexicans Feel about the Holiday:
Death is not feared in the Mexican culture, but is seen as part of the cycle of life. As Carlos Olmedo explains in the video link below, “For Mexicans, death was part of life. For us, it was like going from day to night so we didn’t feel something we were losing; it was just a step more.” Instead of being sad, Day of the Dead is a happy celebration, a joyous day to remember all the good memories from times past with your loved ones.
If you don’t have time to create a PowerPoint, get this ready-made Day of the Dead Spanish PowerPoint presentation.
2. Spanish Video Clips
After a brief presentation and answering questions, show these two video clips. They capture the essence of the day perfectly.
After showing the videos, have a quick class discussion about what students learned and what they think about the holiday.
Add music to your class with this perfect song for Day of the Dead, “Ofrenda” by Pedro Guerra. Before class, create a cloze activity or follow-up questions to go along with the song.
4. Games and Flashcards
Next, add Day of the Dead games, paper flashcards, or digital flashcards to help students learn the vocabulary. Memory, Around the World, the Ball Game, or a Vocab Battle work well for this type of vocab. Learn how to play all of these in 50 Spanish Review Games (free in my Free Resource Library).
Ahh, Day of the Dead crafts – so many good ones to choose from. My new favorites, which are much easier than making sugar skulls (no fun to clean up after those), are marshmallow skulls and skull rocks. And for the little ones, I love making these skull necklaces out of paper plates – they wear these with pride.
Mini skull booklets for grades 2-12 are a great craft for older students to solidify the information that they have learned about Day of the Dead. Multiple versions (fill in the blank, sentence starters, etc.) are available for a variety of levels or for differentiated learning.
Don’t forget about decorations! If you have time and energy, have your students create an altar in your classroom. Next, put boxes or crates on the table that you will be using to create tiers and then cover the tiers with serapes or plastic tablecloths. The students can make tissue paper flowers and papel picado.
If they’d like, have them bring in photographs of pets or family members who have passed and important objects that belonged to them.
For extra credit, students can make special food: pan de muerto, or other recipes that they can find. For recipe ideas, altar photos, and craft ideas, check out this Día de los Muertos Pinterest Board.
9. Ready-Made Lesson Plans
If you want to celebrate Día de los Muertos, but don’t want to spend hours putting together a PowerPoint, creating song activities, making flashcards check out these ready-made Day of the Dead Spanish Lesson Plans with everything you need – enough Day of the Dead activities for your whole Spanish teaching career!
Be sure to get your free Vocabulary and Secret Message Worksheet. Access it in my Free Resource Library (plus get lots of other goodies).
Wishing all of you a wonderful Día de los Muertos in Spanish class!