Colorful Crafting with Green is a Chile Pepper

Welcome to Ms. Meghan Makes! Meghan Premo-Hopkins is an English teacher, mom of three, and super fan of Chronicle children’s books. She shares her inspired ideas for book-related activities every other month (or so) on the Chronicle Blog.

Hola, amigos! Well, I’m a lucky gal… My first post here on the Chronicle blog is inspired by the colorful and lively Green is a Chile Pepper by Rosanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra—a new favorite picture book in our house!


My kids are not bilingual, but we’re always looking for ways to encourage multilingual education. Green is Chile Pepper introduces Spanish vocabulary alongside Latin culture, using delightful rhymes and vivid illustrations. My kids devoured this book, each page led to lots of questions asked and Spanish enunciation practiced. The book lends itself so well to activities and crafts, we had trouble deciding what to do first! We narrowed it down by choosing crafts we could create with supplies we already had at home, which I hope will make it easier for you to join in the fun as well!

Paper Lanterns
paper lanterns
Paper Lanterns inspired by Green is a Chile Pepper
Click here or on the image above for step-by-step instructions (PDF)

Seeing the colorful paper lanterns strung across the pages was enough to inspire us to make our own. The kids love using bubble wrap to paint, and we talked about the Spanish words for the colors as we painted. To add a little extra color play, we mixed the orange, green and blue paint in zipper bags before squirting them on the palette.

Ribbon Shakers
ribbon shaker
Ribbon Shakers DIY inspired by Green is a Chile Pepper
Click here or on the image above for step-by-step instructions (PDF)

My daughter begged for a big colorful “baile folklorico” skirt she saw in the book, but making a ribbon shaker seemed to be a little more my speed (and much more fun to do together!). We used everyday items such as pencils, ribbon from the craft drawer, a plastic egg, and washi tape. After we finished, we walked to the park with ribbons flying, the shaker “swishing,” and my daughter practicing “rojo” the whole way there.

Paper Towel Piñata
paper towel pinata
Paper Towel Piñata DIY inspired by Green is a Chile Pepper
Click here or on the image above for step-by-step instructions (PDF)

Whenever my kids see a piñata, they beg for one. It wasn’t until this book that we talked about piñatas in Latin culture, and my kids were even more determined to try one. After considering the time and energy it’d take to make a semi-real one, I decided to go low maintenance, especially since this would allow us to make more and let everyone have a chance to break one. It was a hit!

Some other activities inspired by Green is a Chile Pepper: homemade churros with chocolate dipping sauce, mini-maypoles, Day of the Dead activities (such as masks and sugar skulls), and traditional Latin foods and crafts. It would also be fun to make homemade paint for my preschoolers, add chile powder for scent, and paint bundles of red and green chiles, or “ristra.” I can’t wait to hear what activities you try and suggestions you have for more fun with Green is a Chile Pepper!

Lara Starr

Lara Starr is Chronicle’s Senior Publicist for Children’s books, and the author of Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies, Ice Sabers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit, and Chef Olivia™. Tell her you like her sweater and she’ll tell you exactly what she paid for it.

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