Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, is a holiday to celebrate family and loved ones who have passed away. The celebration includes several traditions and activities you can enjoy together as a family. It’s also a great opportunity to share family memories and help kids understand their connections to the past. Keep reading to learn more about this important holiday and discover Dia de los Muertos kids activities and events.
What Is Día de los Muertos?
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a celebration of the dead that connects those that celebrate with family and friends who have passed away. The celebration includes traditions passed down through generations, like displaying an ofrenda or altar. Though the holiday traces its roots to the indigenous Aztecs in South America, today it is celebrated widely both in Mexico and by those of Mexican heritage around the world. The Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, coinciding with All Saints’ Day.
Celebrating Dia de los Muertos
In honor of the dead many families build an ofrenda or Day of the Dead altar in their homes. These altars often include photos, mementos, and even favorite foods of their loved ones. They are often decorated with candles, sugar skulls or calaveras, and bright, orange marigolds, which are also known as flowers of the dead. Parades and festivals featuring costumes, folklorico dance performances, Día de los Muertos activities for kids, and traditional foods have become more common as part of the popular holiday.
Dia de los Muertos Activities for Kids
Here are some great ideas for Day of the Dead activities to try at home. Many of these kids activities and crafts make excellent Day of the Dead decorations.
Calavera Sugar Skulls
Day of the Dead sugar skulls are iconic symbols of this celebration, and making them is a great way to engage young children in the festivities. They are either made to be edible or simply decorative. You can make real sugar skulls using molds and then decorate them with icing. For an easy Day of the Dead craft, you can simply draw a colorful skull, or for young kids find a free printable of a Day of the Dead mask or sugar skull coloring pages to decorate.
Tissue Paper Marigold Flowers
Live flowers are always nice, but making DIY Day of the Dead marigolds is a fun activity to try with your kids. All you need is orange tissue paper, scissors, and pipe cleaners to craft these festive paper flowers.
Papel picado is another traditional handicraft for Dia de los Muertos, adding bright colors to the celebration. This craft involves cutting intricate designs into colored tissue paper. This is a great activity for older kids since it involves cutting intricate designs into colored tissue paper. When the designs are complete you can hang them as a banner at your altar or around the house to celebrate the day.
Dia De Los Muertos Altar
Building a Dia de los Muertos ofrenda at home is a great opportunity to teach kids about family history and share stories and special memories together. The ofrenda often includes photos of deceased family members, live or paper marigolds, candles, and favorite foods of the departed. Creating homemade altars are an excellent way to talk to kids about family what it means to honor those who have passed away.
Day Of The Dead Party And Foods
No Dia de los Muertos celebration would be complete without food. Traditional Dia de los Muertos food items include Pan de Muerto or bread of the dead, which is a sweet bread often shaped to resemble bones. Cooking with your kids is another great opportunity to bond and share stories while you enjoy recipes and dishes that remind you of loved ones.
Visit the Library
Before jumping into the Dia de los Muertos activities, it’s important to educate kids about the cultural significance of this traditional Mexican holiday learn about the history. Head to the library and check out some books for kids about the Day of the Dead celebration or that explain the Dia de los Muertos history. Resources from National Geographic or books like “The Book of Life” can give a brief description of how indigenous cultures influenced Mexican celebrations like Dia de los Muertos.
Dia de los Muertos Events in Los Angeles for Families
These Day of the Dead celebrations in Los Angeles offer the perfect opportunity to develop new family traditions and learn more about Mexican culture.
Sep. 1 – Nov. 2
Coco comes to life at the Plaza de la Familia with a musical experience and more. Visit the iconic Mexican Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and post personal messages to your loved ones on the Memory Wall. Design your own paper alebrije masks of Dante and Pepita, spirit guides from Coco. Enjoy Mariachi concerts, folklorico dance performances, and dine on delicious Mexican food.
Oct. 6 – 29
This family-friendly event at Descanso Gardens features a Día de los Muertos ofrenda altar where visitors can take a quiet moment to remember loved ones. This year’s event includes an expanded altar display. While you’re there you can also take in the gardens filled with thousands of carved pumpkins line the walkways after dark and seasonal treats and drinks.
Sept. 15 – Oct. 1
Get into the holiday spirit with a screening of Disney’s Coco at the historic El Capitan theater. These special showings feature live performances prior to the film by the Mariachi Divas and Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles.
Celebrate the 14th annual El Sereno Dia De Los Muertos festival with music, art, food, and much more!
Celebrate the Day of the Dead with the LA Kings, presented by Delta Air Lines. The first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a Flower Crown and purchase an exclusive 12″ Goalie Bobblehead Ticket Pack.
Join in a celebration of life and death. Explore the historical and cultural significance of Day of the Dead traditions. Enjoy live music and dance and art workshops. Food and drinks available for sale.
Oct. 29 – Nov. 2
Olvera Street’s annual celebration is one of the best in the city. The fiesta features face painting, ofrendas, live entertainment, and a nightly candlelight procession at 7 p.m.
This free Day of the Dead event will feature live entertainment including the Mariachi Divas and local youth dance groups. You can also enjoy delicious foods, crafts for kids, an ofrenda contest exhibition, and more! Visitors are encouraged to come dressed in a Day of the Dead costume and participate in the festivities.
The 23rd Annual Festival takes place on Sherman Way, as the street is shut down and lined with booths, live entertainers, food vendors, and a spectacular classic car show.