Day of the Dead Crafts, Activities

October 29, 2018 World Language Cafe by Sherry Sebesta

Looking for some Spanish Day of the Dead crafts and activities, but not sure where to start?  Or maybe you’re dreading making those messy sugar skulls and are looking for a simpler, cleaner craft (because the janitor is still giving you the evil eye from last year’s sticky mess)?

Then check out these 10 simple, but engaging Spanish Day of the Dead activities – so many great ideas – pick and choose your favorites or try a different one each year to keep things fresh.

1.  Skull Rocks  

Love these!  Perfect cheap Day of the Dead decorations that will last for years to come.  Or if you want these decorations, but don’t want to do the work, suggest that your art teacher have students make these to donate to Spanish class.

– oval rocks – Send your students out rock hunting the week beforehand.  If they have any landscaping rocks in their yard, those work well, too.
– acrylic paints and small tipped paint brushes

How:  Students paint the white oval first and let it dry.  The next day, students paint the details.

Learned this idea from:  https://secondaryspanishspace.com/2012/10/stone-sugar-skulls.html 

Day of the Dead Crafts
2.  Sugar Skull Piñatas

Making these in class can be messy and time-consuming, but this makes a great extra credit assignment or Spanish Club project.  Or, you just make a few at home to use as decorations for class and keep them from year to year to hang up.

Supplies:  Newspaper, paper mache mix (flour and water), tarps/cut up plastic bags (to go prevent mess), paint, paintbrushes, balloons

How:  Blow up a balloon.  Mix flour and water to make a liquidy paste.  Tear newspaper into strips, coat with paste, and then cover the balloon with the strips.  Let dry completely.  Pop the balloon with a needle.  Cut out a small circle, paint, fill with candy and tape over the bottom hole and paint it.  Attach a string to hang it.

Learned this from:  https://blog.partydelights.co.uk/day-of-the-dead-party-pinata/

3.  Skull Balloons
Super easy Day of the Dead craft for any level of Spanish student.
Supplies:  White balloons, black Sharpies
How:  Blow up the balloons and use the Sharpies to draw skull faces.
4.  Secret Message Worksheet
Pass out the free Day of this Dead vocab sheet and secret message sheet.  Go over the vocabulary and the significance of each word as a class.  Then have students unscramble the words to form the secret message.  Use markers to make it more fun and colorful.
Supplies:  Markers, worksheets (Get them for free in my Free Resource Library)
5.  Skull Lanterns
Doesn’t get much easier than this.
Supplies:  White plastic cups, black Sharpies, LED tea lights (orange works best for a warm glow).  If you’re looking to save money, skip the candles.
How:  Draw the skull design on the cup while it’s flipped upside down.  Put the LED candle underneath.
Game idea:  Students place an object under the cup and give clues as to what it might be, while a partner guesses.
Day of the Dead Mask Cups
Day of the Dead Crafts
6.  Shoebox Altar
Students find/make items to memorialize a loved one, pet, or someone famous, and place all the items in a shoebox.  Use this as a speaking activity in class. Students pair up and then talk about each of the items in the box and why they are important.
Supplies:  Students work on these at home.
How:  Give students at least a week to prepare their shoeboxes.
7.  Cempasúchil Flowers (Tissue Paper Flowers)
Making these Day of the Dead tissue paper flowers is simple and cheap, plus students get listening practice watching the video instructions in Spanish.  
Supplies:  Orange, yellow, red tissue paper, green pipe cleaners, staplers, scissors
How:  Just watch the video.  🙂
 8.  Skull Book
This Day of the Dead skull book teaches your students about the traditions and festivities surrounding Day of the Dead.  In English and Spanish.  Great for all levels.
Supplies:  Skull book, scissors, markers 
How:  Students cut out the skulls, fill in the blanks, and color with markers.
9.  Day of the Dead Jack o’ Lanterns
Love these original jack o’ lanterns!  Every Spanish teacher needs one of these for his/her classroom or doorstep.  Make it simpler by skipping the carving part and just have your students paint them or let this be an extra credit project.  
Supplies:  Pumpkins, paint, paintbrushes.
10.  Marshmallow Skulls
Super easy and quick Day of the Dead craft! 
Supplies:  Large marshmallows, markers, optional cake pop sticks/chopsticks, etc.
How:  Students draw on the marshmallows with markers.
Day of the Dead Crafts
Hope you enjoyed these Spanish Day of the Dead crafts and activities!  
If you’re looking for more Day of the Dead festivities, head over to my Facebook page.  Each year, I host a 
Get ready-made Day of the Dead Lesson Plans.  


Wishing you and your students a colorful, festive Day of the Dead!
World Language Cafe by Sherry Sebesta

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  • Frances October 14, 2020 at 12:17 am

    Hi Sherry! Thanks for sharing my Day of the Dead shoebox altar post. I updated the link recently on my post. Can you kindly update your link too? This is the correct one. https://discoveringtheworldthroughmysonseyes.com/diy-day-of-the-dead-shoebox-altar/

    • World Language Cafe by Sherry Sebesta October 14, 2020 at 1:41 am

      Just did! Thx for letting me know and for sharing such a great article. 🙂

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