Today is Independence Day in Costa Rica, so we have had fun making a special Costa Rica craft! If you have traveled to Costa Rica, chances are that you have seen the beautiful carretas, or ox-carts, that have become a popular form of folk art. These carts, which once were necessary to carry coffee beans from the country’s central valley to the coast for export, are today used mainly as decoration. Indeed, we have several miniature versions around our house, including a refrigerator magnet!
Carreta on display at a hotel in Costa Rica. Most are painted red, but all have beautiful designs like the ones shown here.
The carretas are recognized internationally. In fact, in 2005 UNESCO declared the oxherding and oxcart tradition of Costa Rica as a masterpiece of the intangible heritage of humanity. Here is more information (in Spanish) on this beautiful tradition, and here you can see a present-day carreta workshop.
So this past week the Monkeys and I have been hard at work to create our own carretas, to celebrate, as Monkey put it, Costa Rica’s birthday. (Costa Rica, along with most other territories in Central America, became independent from Spain on September 15, 1821).
We started with two open cardboard boxes, which we gave a base coat of (mostly) red paint. They also painted the wheels – Monkey with the traditional red and Little Monkey with his own design. I had originally planned on using the tops of large yogurt containers, but the boys spotted some small paper plates in my craft bin and insisted on using those. Because these aren’t as strong, I ended up gluing several together for each wheel and reinforcing them by gluing the yogurt lids to the underside.
The next day was designated for decoration, but I think the boys were not quite as excited as they had been the previous day, because after making a quick dot pattern on one side of his carreta, Monkey declared that he was finished, and Little Monkey soon followed suit.
Still, there was renewed interest several days later when it was time to attach the wheels. I made holes in the boxes and wheels with a knife, then threaded them together using sturdy straws as axles.
The fun thing about this craft is that you can actually play with it when you are done! Next I plan to stabilize the wheels a bit more, but for the time being the Monkeys and I are satisfied with our tico-americano creation. Happy Birthday, Costa Rica!
Welcome to the Third Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop, hosted this year by Multicultural Kid Blogs and 22 of our member blogs! Don’t miss our amazing giveaway, and share your own posts at our linky!
Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15 every year, “celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America” (from HispanicHeritageMonth.gov)
Be sure to visit all of the participating blogs (listed below) and follow our related Pinterest boards:
Don’t miss our Twitter party “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage with Kids,” Tuesday, September 23, from 9 – 10 pm ET! Follow #mkbhhm to participate!
MKB Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop: Participating Blogs
Hispanic Heritage Month GIVEAWAY!
This year to celebrate we are giving away fabulous prizes! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post for a chance to win!
Please note that there are shipping restrictions on some prizes. In the event that the winner lives outside of the shipping area, that portion of the prize will be added to the following prize package.
Grand Prize Package
Smart Play Pad (SRP $ 24.99): Interactive tablet like electronic toy makes early learning fun and exciting for little ones. More than 30 touch sensitive keys teach language and pronunciation skills to help prepare children for school. Bilingual feature helps kids learn in English & Spanish. Lightweight and truly portable for on-the-go learning. Ships to US and Canada only.
A basket of fun from Escuela Falcón in Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico. This prize includes educational games, ceramic Day of the Dead skulls, a hand-painted ceramic box, wooden toys, and a certificate for 5 hours of Skype Spanish lessons with Escuela Falcón.
A basket from Lanugo that includes Lanugo’s new book, “Lula la Consentida,” a limited edition “Latino de Corazón” infant apparel, and Seventh Generation’s earth conscious baby product essentials. US shipping only.
A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.
DVD of Spanish music videos from Rockalingua.
First Prize Package
A child’s sweater and bag from Peru courtesy of Kid World Citizen. The handmade, wool sweater is typical from the Andes and might fit a child ages 2-4. The little backpack is also handmade with gorgeous details typical of the region.
A Spanish edition of the award-winning game Bananagrams.
Chocolalala – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.
Hola Hello – A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.
Mis primeros poemas – A book of poems and audio CD for Spanish learners from All Bilingual Press.
Digital download of Spanish Colors Activities Pack with printable minibooks, games and activity pages from Mundo de Pepita.
Spanish activity book with an audio CD with listening exercises for kids between 3-10 years old (value: 12€) from Lingua Toys.
Hand-crafted guiro (traditional instrument), hand-carved from a gourd in Bolivia with a sun and moon pattern. Great instrument as well as a piece of folk art. From DARIAMUSIC. US shipping only.
Second Prize Package
Handwoven scarf from Nicaragua courtesy of Spanish Playground.
A CD of children’s songs in English and Spanish from Mariana Iranzi.
ABC Fiesta – CD of songs in English and Spanish from Mister G.
Digital download of 6 printable Spanish high frequency words books from Custom Literacy.
Hand woven and leather Guatemala coin purse, a fun and vibrant gift. Given by www.AlarconRestaurants.com – from their Gift Gallery in Antigua Real Restaurant, Mukwonago WI.
Bonus Prize: France Shipping Only!
Beautiful piñata created especially for this contest by Piñatas de Laly.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Link Up Your Posts Now it’s your turn to share your posts! The linky will be open through October 15, so come back and share throughout Hispanic Heritage Month!