Miguel Rivera’s family in Disney Pixar’s movie Coco makes shoes because his great-great-grandfather was a wayward musician who left the family to fend for itself. Miguel loves music, which his family avoids. He also loves his family.
On Día de los Muertos, when his family is celebrating their lost loved ones, Miguel steals his great-great-grandfather’s guitar and is cursed to the Land of the Dead, where he needs a family member’s blessing to return to the Land of the Living.
At the heart of Coco is family, and what the family is willing to do or give up to stay together. Here are a few topics to discuss with your kids after you’ve seen the movie:
- Know your family’s history. Mama Imelda was so angry with Hector for leaving the family, she tried to erase his memory from the family history. Loved ones will let us down, but their history is a part of our families, whatever we can learn from it. Talk to your kids about your family history, tell them where their names came from, who were their ancestors and what do you know about them – the good and the bad.
- Take care of those you love. As Mama Coco aged, her memory and body deteriorated. But Miguel made it important to include her in his everyday life, like telling her stories of how fast he could run and playing games with her. At times when we can’t see our loved ones as often as we’d like, it’s still important to make them important by reaching out with phone calls, artwork from your kids or letters. If your children don’t have grandparents, encourage them to become “Senior Angels” and draw pictures or write letters to seniors in assisted living centers.
- Follow your dreams. This would have been a quick movie if Miguel had accepted Imelda’s blessing that came with the conditions that he never play music again. But Miguel would do anything for his dream of being a musician — hide his guitar in his attic, talk to musicians in the plaza, play old movies and even be stuck in the Land of the Dead while he sought the blessing of a musical family member. For your kids, following their dreams – of sports, music, art, science, whatever – might mean sacrificing time somewhere else. What path will help your kids follow their dreams?
Now that you’ve seen Coco, try these screen-free activities inspired by the movie.
- Bake sugar skull cookies. Sugar skulls are meant to represent a departed soul. Bake and frost these sugar skull cookies with a recipe from Disney Family to enjoy with your Día de los Muertos activities.
- Make a family tree. Help your kids learn about where they land on the family tree and what a family tree is by talking about your family’s history. This download will help you start your tree.
- Color a memory game. Perfect for preschoolers, this downloadable memory game from the Cozy Red Cottage can be colored first, then cut out to play.
- Craft a photo frame for family pictures. Inspired by the pictures on the ofrenda, create a photo frame using craft foam.
- What would you put on your ofrenda? Learn about ofrendas and discuss as a family what and who you’d put on your ofrenda.