¡Hola! Bienvenido a México. Hello and welcome to Mexico, our southern neighbor! Tonight we are going to explore this amazing country from home by eating, learning, and doing.
Did you know that more Americans visit Mexico than any other country in the world? It’s true, and it’s not even close! Part of that is how close Mexico is and how easy it is to get there, but part of it is also because Mexico has so many amazing things to see, do, eat, and experience. From the capital, Mexico City, to ancient ruins at Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza, to incredible beaches in Cancun or Cabo San Lucas, Mexico has everything an explorer could possibly want. So let’s get ready to see Mexico!
Parents: please keep in mind this is just an outline. You know your kids and their interests better than anyone, so feel free to change this up to suit them. You can add music or decorations, language lessons, or anything else your family might find fun as a gateway to Mexico.
Also, don’t forget to check out all of our travel themed family nights here!
Let’s Explore Mexico!
Mexico sits just below the United States, and along with the US and Canada, makes up the majority of North America. Can you find where different states would be above Mexico?
There is so much to see in Mexico! Let’s see some of the highlights together!
Parents: below is a map of Mexico with a few colored numbers, corresponding to places. Photos and descriptions are below the map. While these are my personal highlights, feel free to add more of your own. Some examples might be: Cancun or one of the border cities like Tijuana or Juarez, especially if you live in a border state.
1. Mexico City
Mexico City is huge. More people live here than in any city in the United States. And while that can be intimidating, it means there is so much to see, from museums (Fine Arts Museum above) to ruins to impressive buildings, like the central cathedral (below). Built on the ruins of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan and an easy trip from the pre-Aztec city of Teotihuacan (below), Mexico City is one of the most amazing places in the world!
2. Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza was a huge Mayan city until about the year 1100. Today, it is one of the most popular archaeological sites to visit in the whole world! The Temple of Kukulcan (above) is the most famous building, but there is so much to see, like the observatory temple (below).
3. Cabo San Lucas
Located at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, Cabo San Lucas is known for its mild weather and beautiful beaches. When in Cabo, as it’s called, make sure to get out on the water to look for marine life and at the amazing rocks (below).
Mexico’s second largest city is not as popular with tourists, but it offers some amazing historic buildings in a nice, safe core. But the real attraction here is taking a train to nearby Tequila, where agave plants (below) are turned into the alcoholic drink of the same name, and into some non-alcoholic beverages for kids.
Pronounced wuh-HAWK-uh, Oaxaca is becoming one of Mexico’s top destinations for its ruins of Monte Alban (below), charming city, and food. If you like Mexican food, Oaxaca is said to have the best in the world. So how can you go wrong going there?
Let’s Make Enchiladas!
When most people think of Mexican food, they think of tacos. But enchiladas are just as fun to make and to eat! An enchilada is a tortilla rolled up with cheese, beans, veggies, or meat inside, covered with sauce and cheese, and then baked until it’s all gooey. What do you want in yours? Let’s make them together!
Parents: one of the keys to making a good enchilada is to heat the tortillas in a pan before they are filled and rolled. You should probably do that part. Beyond that, you can make a sauce or buy one, and let your kids decide their own fillings or just help you fill them with your choice of ingredients.
Dinner is always better with some learning, so here are some fun facts about Mexico. Which are the most interesting to you?
-Mexico City is sinking almost 10 inches every year due to water being pumped from the underground lake the city sits on. It used to be the 7th highest elevated capital city, but has sunk to 8th!
-Mexico has the world’s smallest volcano. Cuexcomate Volcano outside Puebla is only 43 feet high!
-Mexico, not Egypt, has the world’s biggest pyramid, Cholula in the state of Puebla.
-There are 69 different languages spoken in Mexico, Spanish and 68 different indigenous languages. Plus whatever languages visitors speak!
-Mexico City has the second most museums of any city in the world, behind London. There are more than 170 museums in the city to choose from.
-Mexicans drink more Coca Cola than anyone else, 163 liters per person per year!
-Mexico’s real name is Estados Unidos Mexicanos, the United States of Mexico. It’s yet another thing we have in common with our southern neighbors!
-While Mexicans are the largest immigrant group to the US, Americans are also the largest immigrant group to Mexico! And nearly 40 million Americans visit Mexico every year!
Let’s Build a Dia de los Muertos Altar
November 1-2 each year is Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, the Day of the Dead. While it sounds scary, it’s not. Dia de los Muertos is a chance for Mexicans to remember their loved ones who have died. They visit cemeteries and decorate gravesites, gather as a family to eat traditional foods, and make beautiful altars to their loved ones in their homes.
This evening, let’s make an altar to a loved one (or more than one) who is no longer with us. We can decorate it with flowers and paper cutouts called papel picado, pictures of our loved ones, and anything that gives us good memories. And then we can put it somewhere in the house where we will all see it and remember.
Parents: make sure to tell fun stories of family members who have died, using those as inspiration for your children to decorate. For instance, if your mother or grandmother loved roses, let your kids make paper roses for the altar. If your father or grandfather enjoyed fishing, the altar can be a lake or ocean scene. You can do a single one for any/all loved ones, or let each child do one individually to an individual family member.
Mexico is one of my favorite countries in the world, and after tonight, I hope it’s one of yours. Thank you for letting me help you explore!
Like it? Pin it!