Cinco De Mayo, celebrated on May 5th every year, celebrates Mexico’s victory over France in 1862. While a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, it has evolved into a large celebration in the USA of Mexican food and culture. Keep on reading for all the best Cinco De Mayo activities for students, along with worksheets, lesson plans, objectives, and more.
Cinco De Mayo Activity and ESL Games
Let’s get into the best games and activities to celebrate Cinco De Mayo day in style. Save the date: May 5th!
#1: Running Dictation
Try out this fun and engaging 4-skills activity with your students. Find, or write a conversation between two people talking about their past experiences, or upcoming plans for Cinco De Mayo.
Then, post each sentence on a strip of paper somewhere in the classroom. Students have to work together to dictate the passage. Once they’re done that, they can put the conversation into the correct order. The first team to finish is the winner. Have a look at it here:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 111 Pages - 03/22/2021 (Publication Date)
#2: Vocabulary Auction
This is a fun game that’s ideal for reviewing new vocabulary. Prepare a number of sentences related to this popular holiday. It could be facts or opinions about it. Then, cut out each word. Laminate them first if you plan to use this for multiple classes.
Then, put students into groups and they can bid on the various words. After that, there’s a trading round. The winner is the team with the most grammatically correct sentences. And in this case, the statements and questions must also be factually true. Learn how to do one of my favourite Cinco De Mayo writing activities here:
#3: What is Cinco De Mayo?
Have a look on YouTube, and you’ll find a ton of videos that talk about Cinco De Mayo is, including its history. If you teach lower-level students, add “ESL” to the search query, and it will be easy to find ones at an appropriate level.
#4: Dictogloss: Cinco De May Activity
Try out this challenging listening game with your higher-level students. Find, or write a passage of someone describing their experiences with this holiday, or perhaps about the history of it.
Then, put students into pairs and read it out at a faster than normal pace. Students can take notes and then work together with their partners to try to recreate what they just heard. Repeat the process, and then students can compare what they have with the original version. Find out more:
#5: Survey Activity
Just ask my students, and they’ll tell you that I love to use surveys in my classes. They’re ideal because they can be adapted to just about any topic, including this one, they cover a range of skills in a single activity and they also get students out of their seats and moving around the class. This is ideal for sleepy classes!
It’s easier than you might think to design your own. Find out all the details:
#6: Speaking Lesson Plan
It’s certainly possible to design an entire ESL speaking lesson based on this holiday. Find a short reading or listening passage and then go from there.
Sounds intimidating? It doesn’t need to be if you follow these simple steps. Have a look here:
#7: Cinco De Mayo History and Facts
I love to talk about what exactly is Cinco De Mayo and teach students some facts about it. If you want to level up, have a little trivia competition after or a puzzle of some kind.
#8: Task-Based Activities
I love to use task-based activities in all my classes every once in a while. They’re a nice change of pace from the usual communicative style activities.
In this case, I might put students into groups and have each group pick (or assign them) a topic related to this holiday. For example:
- How it is celebrated in Mexico
- How it’s celebrated in the USA
Then, each group can do some research and make a poster or PowerPoint slide. After that, they can give a short presentation to the class. That’s just one idea. There are lots more:
#9: Conversation Starters
Maybe you’ve had this experience too? You tell students to talk about something for a few minutes and then nobody talks! Of course, it’s not the student’s fault. It’s usually that they don’t have enough direction to know what they’re supposed to be doing.
Instead, I prefer giving my students some conversation starters related to this holiday. Then, it’s much easier to keep the conversation going. Try it out for yourself, and I’m sure you’ll notice a big difference!
#10: I’m an Alien: Cinco De Mayo Activity
It’s often the case that students know a good deal about certain holidays before you teach them about it. If you suspect that this is the case, try out this simple activity.
Pretend that you’re an alien and know nothing about life on Earth. There’s a holiday coming up that people are getting ready for, and you’re not sure what it’s about! Students have to explain all about this holiday to you.
#11: Picture Prompt
This is a sneaky way to find out what students already know about a certain topic. Find a picture of people celebrating Cinco De Mayo and put it up on the screen. Then, elicit from students things they see. There are various ways to do it, depending on the level:
#12: The Telephone Game
I’m sure you’ve played this game when you were a kid. The way it works is that you have to pass a secret message down the line from person to person until the end, where you compare it with the original version.
In this case, the message should be related to this holiday. Find out more:
#13: A Class Party: Cinco De Mayo Activity
This holiday is all about the food and drinks for many people! Why not have a Mexican-Food-themed party to celebrate this popular holiday? Better yet, get the students to do some research about people in Mexico celebrating this holiday and then incorporate some of those traditions into your party.
#14: Cinco De Mayo ESL Speaking Lesson Plan
It’s easier than you might think to plan an ESL speaking lesson about almost anything, including this holiday. Have a look here for the simple steps that you can follow:
#15: Sombrero Activities
This is one of my favourite Cinco De Mayo kids’ activities. Make some sombrero-shaped sugar cookies and some icing. Then, get the students to bring in some decorations to share with their classmates. I like to have a little contest to see who can create the most eye-catching one!
#16: Time for Tacos!
If you have the resources, this can be quite a fun Cinco de Mayo activity for adults. In a prior class, talk about this holiday and also about tacos, including ingredients and how to make them. Then, get each student to bring a topping, plate and a few napkins into class that day and then have a taco-making and eating party!
#17: Word Association Cinco De Mayo Writing Activity
If your students live somewhere where this holiday is celebrated, they likely already know a good bit of vocabulary related to it. That’s why I like to use an activity like this one to help them activate their prior knowledge before adding new words into the mix.
Find out more here about one of my favourite Cinco De Mayo writing activities:
#18: Door Decorating
A fun activity for any holiday, including this one is to have students work together to decorate a door in the school. Even better, make it into a friendly competition!
#19: Learn about the Flag of Mexico
A fun Cinco De Mayo lesson plan idea is to learn about the flag of Mexico, including the history and meaning behind the symbols and colours. Then, have students draw and colour their own version of it.
#20: Listen to a Song or Learn a Dance
What better way to celebrate this fun holiday than by listening to some Mexican music or learning a dance? Have some fun with it! Have a quick look over on YouTube and you’ll be able to find a ton of ideas that will work well, depending on the age of the students.
#21: Learn some Spanish Words
Have some fun by teaching students some very basic Spanish words. Look on YouTube if you don’t speak Spanish yourself for a quick lesson.
After teaching students some key Cinco De Mayo vocab words (see below), why not play Pictionary? Find out more about this game here:
#23: Cinco De Mayo Writing Prompts
Get students doing some writing related to Cinco De Mayo with these writing prompts:
- You have to plan a CDM party for your friends and family. What will this look like?
- Instead of staying at home this year for Cinco De Mayo, you’ve decided to go to Mexico. Do some research and write about what your holiday will look like.
- How has Mexican culture influenced the USA?
- This holiday commemorates the Mexican army defeating the French, against all odds. Write about another underdog story.
- Why do you think this holiday is so popular in the USA?
- Holidays often become popular when companies discover they can make money off of them. What do you think about this?
#24: Piñata Decorating
Provide students with blank piñatas and art supplies like markers, colored paper, and glue. Let them decorate their piñatas with vibrant designs and colors.
#25: Folklore Storytelling
Share Mexican folktales or legends with the class, such as the story of “La Llorona” or “El Sombrerón.” Discuss the stories’ cultural significance afterward.
#26: Dance Workshop
Teach students a basic Mexican folk dance, such as the “Jarabe Tapatío” (Mexican Hat Dance). This interactive activity lets students experience traditional dance forms.
#27: Mariachi Music Session
Play Mariachi music and discuss its history and significance in Mexican culture. You can even invite local musicians to give a short performance.
#28: Cultural Crafts
Have students create Mexican-inspired crafts like paper marigold flowers (cempasúchil) or papel picado (cut paper banners).
#29: Cinco de Mayo Trivia
Organize a fun trivia game with questions related to the history, culture, and traditions of Mexico. Students can compete individually or in teams.
#29: Decorate Sombreros
Provide plain paper or straw hats and various craft supplies for students to decorate their own mini sombreros.
#30: Cinco de Mayo Collaborative Mural
Create a large mural with a Cinco de Mayo theme, and have each student contribute a small piece of the artwork. This collaborative activity can decorate the classroom.
Cinco De Mayo Vocabulary
Here is a list of Cinco De Mayo vocabulary.
- amigo (male friend)
- amiga (female friend)
- cinco (five in Spanish)
- Mayo (May in Spanish)
Cinco De Mayo Lesson Plan Objectives
What are some common Cinco De Mayo lesson plan objectives? It depends on the level and age of students but here are some examples:
- To learn about the history of the holiday and to understand why it’s a national holiday in Mexico.
- For students to be able to compare the Mexican and French points of view in the 1800s.
- To understand the importance of the holiday to Mexican people.
- To learn about Mexican traditions and culture.
- For students to learn a few basic Spanish words.
- To explore how the holiday is celebrated in Mexico and around the world.
Cinco De Mayo Worksheets and Handouts
If you’re a teacher, then you already know how much time you can save by using what other teachers have created. In this case, there are a ton of great worksheets that celebrate this Mexican holiday.
What about Preschool and Kindergarten Worksheets?
Here are some of the top picks for Cinco De Mayo Preschool and Kindergarten worksheets:
Do you have any recommendations for Cinco De Mayo kindergarten worksheets? Leave a comment and let us know your source!
Cinco De Mayo Lesson Plans
Another way to save a ton of time is to use these ready-made lesson plans:
Cinco De Mayo Online Activities
There are a few different sites that have some fun online activities and games to celebrate this holiday. Have a look at these fun online ideas:
FAQs About Cinco De Mayo Activity
There are a number of common questions that people have about this popular holiday. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
When is Cinco De Mayo?
Cinco De Mayo is May 5th each year.
What is Cinco De Mayo and Why is it Celebrated?
Cinco De Mayo is celebrated on May fifth and celebrates the day that the Mexican army defeated France at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
Is Cinco De Mayo the Day of the Dead?
No, Cinco De Mayo is not the day of the dead. It celebrates a Mexican army victory during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862.
What are some good Cinco De Mayo Writing activities?
Some good Cinco De Mayo writing activities for students include the following:
- Write a story from the point of view of a Mexican person in 1862.
- Do some research and write a paragraph outlining one aspect of the holiday such as history, how it’s celebrated around the world, or some popular food options
- Word association. Students have to brainstorm some words associated with the holiday.
How might you promote cultural sensitivity while teaching about Cinco de Mayo?
To promote cultural sensitivity, it’s important to provide accurate and respectful information about Cinco de Mayo, avoiding stereotypes or cultural appropriation. Focus on understanding the historical context and cultural meaning behind the holiday.
What are some key symbols or decorations associated with Cinco de Mayo?
Some key symbols and decorations associated with Cinco de Mayo include piñatas, sombreros, papel picado (decorative paper banners), and mariachi music.
Did you like these Games and Activity Ideas?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 94 Pages - 05/30/2015 (Publication Date)
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Have your Say about Cinco De Mayo ESL
What are your thoughts about celebrating this popular holiday with your students? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API