As a mother to multicultural children, it’s always been important to me that my children embrace all of their roots. My family tree alone consists of ancestors from Italy, Spain, Cuba and Puerto Rico, just to name a few. My husband’s family has roots in Ireland and Scotland. We cook Irish-inspired dishes and teach our kindergarten twins and teen about European history. I have a desire for my children to understand the Spanish language and be able to identify with it. My oldest already started his new school year as a 10th grader, and I’m teaching an introductory Spanish class to the high school students at his private school. Whether families have a Hispanic background or not, many parents want their children to be exposed to various cultures and have a global-minded perspective.
Many resources to help introduce the Hispanic culture are available during Hispanic Heritage Month. As stated by the Library of Congress, “Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.”
- Events across the nation occur to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, highlighting diversity, food and music, and provide an educational learning experience for all who attend.
- Experiencing the outdoors can be part of learning about Hispanic heritage by visiting properties and landmarks that have Hispanic cultural significance as listed by The National Register of Historic Places.
- In addition, an endless supply of information can be found online for teachers, students and families.
- The Florida Department of Education website has a yearly Hispanic Heritage Month Recommended Reading List that is categorized by age groups and grade levels.
- The Smithsonian provides resources and materials for educators to incorporate into their classroom lesson plans.
- Scholastic has interactive games for children.
- Popular kid-friendly websites, such as Nick Jr., offer printable activities for children to learn about different countries and historical figures.
- A series of videos available on the Disney Jr. YouTube channel showcase age-appropriate, fun Hispanic-influenced recipes that children can help make with adults.
- For an at-home activity, an easy, family-friendly recipe that is a good staple for the upcoming colder months is chili con carne.
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of onion, chopped
- 1 pound of lean, ground turkey
- 1 15-ounce can of red, pinto or kidney beans; rinsed and drained
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of chili powder—more or less according to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnishes: Chopped red onion, tomato, cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add turkey and cook, stirring often to break up the bigger bits, until turkey is cooked through, about 6 minutes.
- Add kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar.
- Serve with onion, tomato, cilantro and cheese for garnishes.
What activities do you do or events do you attend with your children to expose them to different cultures?