Every April 30, Mexico celebrates Children’s Day. On that date, children across the country receive gifts, eat sweets, and are generally indulged.

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, kindergarten and elementary teachers are planning to celebrate with their students this year — albeit in a shortened, safety-oriented form.

“When we were in face-to-face classes, we held a Children’s Day Week,” said Gloria Del Carmen León Solano, a teacher at the Estefanía Castañeda kindergarten in the municipality of Ursulo Galván, Veracruz. “We used to plan recreational activities such as water games, pools, watch movies, visit a tourist attraction [Cempoala Archaeological Zone] for a picnic, exchange cards and gifts to a secret friend, or to have a Children’s Day feast with piñatas and games.”

Such feasts, organized by the children’s parents and teachers, typically included  soft drinks, sandwiches, pambazos, tamales, gelatins, piñatas, or sweets. Sometimes, a taco delivery service would be hired for the children.

But due to the pandemic, for the second year in a row most of those celebrations will be online, the teacher notes.

“I miss seeing their happy faces [in person]. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be unable to carry it out. Everything will be done via the Internet, just as last year,” said the teacher.

Even the youngest children have had to take online classes. Teachers look for creative ways to celebrate them on their day. (Bermix Studio-P/Unsplash)

As a result, this year, many teachers are using video platforms such as Meet, Zoom, or Skype to carry out some fun events.

“I am planning fun activities to do with my students, like having crazy hairstyles. We also make a special video call called ‘Children’s Day sleepover,’ where we watch Disney movies through Zoom,” said León Solano. “Further, they can dress up as their favorite character, if they want. The families of my students do their best to allow the kids to connect to the Zoom meeting, despite being a rural community.”

Mexicans celebrate Children’s Day every April 30. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant major changes, and schools are looking for new alternatives. (Izzy Park/Unsplash)

Another way to celebrate children despite the COVID-19 pandemic is through car caravans. Parents take their children for a ride while taking such precautions as wearing masks and keeping the windows rolled up.

“My son is in the third grade. This year we, the parents and the teacher, agreed where we would all go with our cars decorated with balloons and colored papers,” said Xochitl Rivera Aguirre, a housewife in Boca del Rio. “The teacher will wait for the children at the school gates, and we will drive by, car by car, so that she can personally congratulate each one of them and give them a small gift and a lunchbox with their favorite food. It seemed like a fun idea for us and a magnificent way to avoid missing this special day for the children. In the end, we have found new ways to adapt to our circumstances.”

Despite the obstacles, parents and teachers alike don’t want to miss this important date for children.

“Even though I alone could not do all of this, everyone gives their best effort so that the children can celebrate this special day,” said León Lozano.

(Translated and edited by Mario Vázquez; edited by Matthew B. Hall)

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