Talk, sing, write and play; Share a story everyday

Día de los Muertos

A favorite program to do each year.  What is so wonderful about this holiday is that it really is a joyous celebration of loved ones who have departed and a chance to re-connect with them spiritually.


Chumba La Cachumba

Illustrated by Carlos Cotte (ISBN:  978329581435)


A great story covering the antics of skeletal friends over a 12 hour stretch, hour by hour.   To work in a little math and numbers, use a felt board clock (or a toy clock with movable hands) to follow the striking of the hours.  For motor skill work, have the kids pat out the rhythm and chant out:

¡Chumba, la cachumba, la cachumbamá!

Though the book is in Spanish it is short enough to do bi-bilingually with an English speaking audience.  Say the verses in Spanish, give a quick translation in English, and have everyone join in on the ¡Chumba, la cachumba, la cachumbamá!

Day of the Dead: A bilingual Celebration

by Bob Barner (ISBN: 978-8234-2214-2)

The Day of the Dead

Clatter Bash! A Day of The Dead Celebration

By Richard Keep (ISBN: 9781561454617)

Clatter Bash!

Spicy Hot Colors / Colores Picantes

by Sherry Shahan (ISBN:  0-87483-741-3)


The Festival of Bones / El Festival de las Calaveras

by Luis San Vicente (ISBN: 0938317-67-9)

Festival of the Bones = El Festival De Las Calaveras


Hasta los Muertos Salen a Bailar

by Trish Hinojosa

Sung in both English and Spanish, this is an  up-tempo and delightful song that brings forth the celebratory spirit of the holiday. Parts of the song bring forth the concept that on this day, spirits can rise up and imbibe in the things they loved during their earthly days.  Do this with shakers / maracas, castanets /clappers and dance along!

Estaba la Muerta un Día

by Charlotte Diamond

(This is a hand-clapping rhyme)

Día de los Muertos

by José-luis Orozco

(great song that explains all the traditions of the holiday)

La Llorona

Various Artists

A standard folk medley, there is a good version on the CD series Globe Toddlers.

Pass out the scarves … dance slowly and fluidly in a circle … feel the sadness and tragedy that is La Llorona!

Though it does seem odd to explore such a tragic theme with young children, at times sadness is a part of our lives.  One of the reasons the Day of the Dead is such a great program to present, is that it allows for the opportunity to explore this sensitive topic. Many young children have lost a loved one, some parents have even lost children.  Programs such as these provide a bridge wherein people realize it is OK to be sad, talk about their feelings and memories.

La Bruja

by Dan Zanes

The song is not really about the holiday, but this is an artist (from New York?) that really does some great contemporary Spanish music for children.


Cinco Calaveras

(This is a mish-mash of rhyme and medley and a take off on the song five little lady-bugs)

Cinco calaveras bailando en el desván

Una se fue danzando y cuatro aquí están

Cuatro calaveras bañándose en el ataúd

Una se fue a gritar y tres toquen a la laúd

Tres calaveras mirando alrededor

Una se cayó y sólo quedan dos

Dos calaveras tostandose con el Diablo

Una se fue al cementerio y la otra se quedó

Una calavera solita en el lugar

Llamó a sus amigas, por el celular

Ellas regresaron, son cinco, ¡Que suerte!

Todos bailaban en el baile del muerte

Skeleton Parade

(When I present this rhyme, I find it most effective to play up the “Bony, Bony, Bony” part using my spooky voice and rattling my fingers about.)

The skeletons are out tonight,

They march about the street

With bony bodies, bony heads

And bony hands and feet.

Bony, bony, bony bones, ←Ham it up here

With nothing in between,

Up and down and all around

They dance with glee so free.  ←Wiggle fingers above head and flop about dramatically

Craft Ideas:

Tissue Paper Flowers:

You need to tug very gently to separate the petals!

You need to tug very gently to separate the petals!

How to make tissue paper flowers

1.      Layer tissue paper.  It works well to begin with green on the bottom, then orange, yellow and a red last.  The color on top is the color that will end up in the center of the flower.

2.      Fan fold the tissue paper

3.      Grab and pinch in the center and twist tightly with wire or pipe cleaner

4.      Fluff out the layers of tissue starting with the outer layers and working your way in.

5.     Stick flowers in a vase or a piece of floral foam

Q-Tip Skeletons:

Easy Craft for Day of the Dead

Easy Craft for Day of the Dead

This is a very fun and easy craft to do using Q-tips, black paper, squeeze bottle glue, skull templates found online and chalk.  Please note the Bob Fosse jazz hands.

NOTE:  Though glue sticks are less messy, it’s hard to get enough glue on the surfaces so that stuff would stick.  What works well is to have kids make their outline of the skeleton in glue, and then stick on the Q-tips.  A good thing about school glue, is that it shows up very well on the black paper and then dries clear.

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