Día de los Muertos is quickly approaching and you might be thinking: “how do I celebrate this rich tradition in my Spanish class?” Since many of us find ourselves educating in a variety of new ways (in-person mixed with online, hybrid, virtual, etc), this type of lesson can be particularly difficult. But one thing is true: a well-done culture lesson can leave a lasting impact on a student. At the end of the year, when I survey my students & ask them what did they enjoy most about my class, they always highlight the cultural units that we did! So I wanted to share some engaging ideas, no matter what teaching situation you find yourself in, that you can use for upcoming lesson plans! ¡Suerte mi familia! Stay strong.

1. Create ofrendas (in person or digitally)

Mini-ofrenda made by a former student for their grandmother who recently passed.

Ofrendas are a beautiful way to allow students to pay tribute to important people (or even pets!) in their lives. One year, I had two students make ofrendas in honor of their pets who had died that year. Another year, I had students make ofrendas for grandparents who passed. One student really got into the project and actually went to the gravesite with their family and did a Día de los Muertos celebration there! Another student got their church involved and they lit candles in honor of their grandparent for Día de los Muertos! We really don’t know what these kids are going through. This year, I’m shocked by the sheer number of students who have parents who have or are close to passing due to illness.

Can’t make physical ofrendas? Consider making a digital one with bitmoji characters! Need guidance on how to create ofrendas, either physical or digital? Check out this resource on creating ofrendas.

A fun activity that guides students on how to create an ofrenda, either in person or virtually.

2. Cultural Exploration

Consider doing a unit or lesson on Día de los Muertos to explicitly teach about the richness of the holiday. You can use infographs like the ones below (and make questions based off of them) or consider using this already made resource which is, a Webquest. Webquests are tons of fun and hands-off for the teacher!

A lengthy and fun Webquest that is completely hands-off for the teacher! Students can work individually or in groups.

Use authentic infographs to teach & illustrate new vocabulary. Here are some of my favorites:

I use this infograph in my Día de los Muertos Webquest. Students are then asked follow up questions about the infograph! Source: Pinterest.com
Another awesome infograph: you can find this one with activities in my Día de los Muertos: Creating Ofrendas In Person or Online Activity! Source: Pinterest.com

3. Research Something Related to Día de los Muertos

Beyond setting up an ofrenda, here are some ideas that can get kids creative and excited by investigating an aspect of Día de los Muertos:

  • Analyze various songs related to Día de los Muertos and react to them. Compare and contrast common themes. Check out this playlist! (Also consider playing this playlist on Día de los Muertos!)
  • Some kids might find this fun: follow or create a make up tutorial of a sugar skull or La Catrina face. There are so many on YouTube. Here is an example:

Great makeup tutorial! I love DulceCandy!

  • Make sugar skulls & decorate them
  • Create & decorate papel picado
  • Have a full on fiesta, either cameras on or outdoors (taking COVID precautions)

I hope you got some good ideas for celebrating Día de los Muertos in the Spanish Class! Let me know how your celebrations turn out! Tag me on Instagram @theculturalclassrm

Un beso,


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