Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Bark Paintings

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May 5th is Cinco de Mayo. Celebrate this festive holiday by making a Mexican Bark Painting. Originally made by Mexican Indians, such as the Nahua and Mayans, on paper that was made from the bark of a tree, these paintings are brightly colored and often feature animals or plants.

What You’ll Need:
*Brown craft paper or paper bag
*Chalk or pencil
*Brightly colored paints
*Black Marker

*Crumple up the paper bag or craft paper to give it a similar texture to a bark painting. Now smooth it out.
*Use the chalk or pencil to draw a simple design on the brown paper.

*Use the bright colors to paint your bark painting. Bark paintings are recognizable for their blocks of solid, bright colors. Allow to dry.
*Outline your design in black marker.
*Take this opportunity to talk with your children about what Cinco de Mayo means literally. “Cinco” is five in Spanish and “Mayo” is May, so it means the fifth of May, which is the day we celebrate. Practice your Spanish numbers and months. (If you aren’t familiar with them, check out this site which has lots of great resources to help kids with basic Spanish.
*Send us a picture of your kids and their bark paintings and we may post it to our site!

Suggested Resources:
Fiesta Time! (Celebrating Cinco de Mayo)
- at
*Mexican Bark Paintings: Learn more about this art and see some beautiful examples.

This activity can be found in the Holidays and Arts & Crafts sections of our site.