Best Free Hispanic Heritage Month Lessons and Activities

Hispanic heritage month
(Image credit: Pixabay)
Recent updates

This article was updated for September 2023

Officially adopted in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th through October 15th and marks the contributions of Hispanic Americans and Latinos to American life. This designation by President Ronald Reagan expanded an earlier one-week commemoration signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. 

September 15 was chosen to kick off the celebration because it marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also have their independence days around this time, on September 16 and September18, respectively.

The largest minority population in the nation, Hispanics and Latinos have strongly influenced U.S. culture since before its founding. These top free lessons and activities can help all students explore the impact and achievements of Americans with Hispanic and Latino ancestry. 

Best Free Hispanic Heritage Month Lessons and Activities

What’s the Difference Between Hispanic and Latino?
Language can be clarifying or confusing. The terms Hispanic, Latino, and Latinx may be used interchangeably but have different meanings. Learn the differences in this brief, clarifying article from Encyclopedia Britannica. 

National Hispanic Cultural Center Learning for Educators
Try these standards-based activities and lesson plans in English and Spanish. Lessons and activities are rich and diverse, with virtual tours, images, educator guides, and more. The next-best thing to visiting the museum!

National Hispanic American Month 2023
National Hispanic American Month resources from the U.S. government, including links to resources from the National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, Smithsonian Education, and a commemorative observances legal research guide from the Library of Congress.

NPR Hispanic Heritage Month
Did you know there was a Spanish language version of the Hollywood classic Dracula? This wide-ranging series of radio segments/articles from National Public Radio looks at the culture and sometimes-arduous history of Latino and Hispanic peoples in America. Topics include music, literature, filmmaking, stories from the border, and much more. Listen to the audio or read the transcript.

9 Ways to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Google
Various Google sites and apps--including Grow with Google, Chrome, Google Arts & Culture, and Google Play--are celebrating and amplifying the voices and culture of the Latino community with special activities, events, opportunities, and other resources.

National Museum of the American Latino
¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States is a fine multimedia examination of Latino history in the U.S., featuring stories of immigration, Latino influence on American culture, and the tricky business of Latino identity. Each section is accompanied by videos and enhanced through digital renderings of relevant exhibits, from Wars of Expansion to Shaping the Nation. 

Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement
This excellent 12-part lesson from the Smithsonian Institution explores the Chicano movement—its history, causes, leaders, and legacies—through the lens of music and culture. Included are teachers’ guides, slideshows, art, music, and bibliography.

Caribbean, Iberian, and Latin American Studies
Perhaps the largest collection of primary source documents about Hispanics across the globe is curated by the Library of Congress. On this site you’ll find a wealth of digitized documents, images, audio, video, and webcasts focused on Hispanic heritage in the U.S. and abroad. To narrow the field, select Latinx Studies: Library of Congress Resources. Ideal for advanced students, who will gain valuable research experience as well as knowledge of Hispanic and Latino culture. 

PBS Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration 2023
PBS is offering a specialized slate of new programs, specials, and digital content focused on Hispanic Heritage Month, including new documentary films, the premiere of three-part series Becoming Frida Kahlo, and new episodes of PBS Kids shows Rosie's Rules and Alma's Way.

Read Aloud Hispanic Heritage Videos
Ideal for younger learners, but also for anyone who needs language practice, these charming YouTube videos feature popular children’s stories, fables, and books read aloud in English and Spanish. For tips on accessing YouTube at your school, check out 6 Ways To Access YouTube Videos Even If They're Blocked at School.  

Hispanic and Latino Heritage and History in the United States
A comprehensive guide for teachers that looks at historical context, Indigenous Mesoamerica, the Mexican Revolution, immigration and identity in the U.S., and much more. Each topic includes nuanced lessons, framing questions and activities, writing prompts, ideas for research, and related resources. 

Share My Lesson Hispanic Heritage Month Lessons
Dozens of lessons designed to bring Hispanic and Latino heritage into your classroom. Search by grade, subject, type of resource, or standard. Best of all, these free lessons are designed, tested, and rated by your fellow teachers. 

Read Write Think Hispanic Heritage Month Lesson Plans
These standards-aligned Hispanic heritage lessons for grades 3-5, 6-8, and 8-12 provide step-by-step instructions as well as printouts, templates, and related resources/activities.

24 Famous Hispanic Americans Who Made History
No doubt you’ve heard of Jennifer Lopez and Sonia Sotomayor, but how about Jovita Idár and Guy Gabaldon? Read all about these remarkable Hispanic Americans, who enriched politics, literature, entertainment, law, athletics, activism, and journalism. 

Diana Restifo

Diana has been Tech & Learning's web editor and contributor since 2010, dedicated to ferreting out the best free tech tools for teachers.