Raising multicultural children can be a little tricky – you want them to learn about their roots and heritage, yet they’re surrounded and influenced by a culture that is different from the one you grew up knowing. That’s why keeping culture alive in the home is so very important to my husband and I and why taking advantage of cultural celebrations is a wonderful way of reinforcing our heritage. Right now, we are in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month (also referred to as Latino Heritage Month), the United States’ official celebration of Latino culture and heritage, honored from September 15 through October 15 each year. As such, the kids and I have been taking the opportunity to talk even more about how I’m Puerto Rican, what that means to me, and in turn, what that means for them.
I recently picked up the book A Kid’s Guide to Latino History [aff] for them and in it there is a great section all about Puerto Rican culture. One of the activities that stood out for me was how to make a water bottle güiro, since my 5-year-old recently learned all about percussion instruments in school and I knew it would make a great connection for him if I introduced him to the Puerto Rican güiro. Originally from Puerto Rico, a güiro is traditionally made from a hollowed-out gourd, but for the sake of this kids’ Puerto Rican güiro craft, we’ll be using a water bottle.
The great thing is you may already have the few necessary supplies at home! (If you want to purchase a more traditional güiro, you can find a variety online – I was surprised to find so many different kinds of güiros, from wooden and metal güiros to kid-friendly plastic güiros!) Now, let me introduce our Puerto Rican güiro craft with this short video, followed by the full instructions for you to make your own.
Puerto Rican Güiro Craft
*Adapted from A Kid’s Guide to Latino History book
- Empty water bottle
- 3-4 acrylic paint colors
- Wooden dowel
- Plastic cups
How to Make a Water Bottle Güiro
Making a water bottle güiro is fairly simple. First, you’ll need to remove the label from your water bottle. Using plastic cups to hold each paint color, paint the water bottle in the colors of your choosing, alternating colors to create a striped design. Be sure to clean your paintbrush before switching from one color to another by dipping the brush into a cup full of water and wiping it on a paper towel.
Once you’re done painting the water bottle and your paint has dried, you may want to give your stripes a second coat of paint. (This is optional.) Allow your water bottle güiro to dry completely, then let your kids play it using the wooden dowel. (A güiro is played by scraping the side with a scraper – called a “pua” – using long and short strokes.) To add to the Latino cultural experience, play some Latin music and have some fun playing your homemade water bottle güiro along to the rhythmic tunes!
You Might Also Like: Hispanic Heritage Month Activities for Kids
For more Hispanic Heritage Month ideas, see our Hispanic Heritage Month Activities and Printables for Kids, full of crafts, recipes, and great ways to celebrate Latino culture and heritage with your children!
How are you celebrating Latino culture this Hispanic Heritage Month? If you try this Puerto Rican güiro craft with your kids, let us know how they like it!
All photos © Melanie Edwards/modernmami™