Two years ago we had the opportunity to visit the Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center (Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes) with our family. At the center, we enjoyed learning about the Taíno the Indigenous People of the Caribbean a subgroup of the Arawakan Indians. The Taínos inhabited Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Puerto Rico.
This trip was significantly important to us not only because little one had been learning about his Taíno heritage but because he was able to see with his very own eyes Taíno petroglyphs.
The Taínos left behind petroglyphs that are images created by incising, picking, carving, or abrading on the surface of the rock to create a form of rock art. With these images archaeologist have been able to understand their way of living, customs and beliefs of the Taínos. The Taínos worshiped and respected all living things and honored them in the form of carvings cut into rocks.
These Taíno petroglyphs can be found all over Puerto Rico. Below you will see various petroglyphs that we saw at the Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center.
A guide pointing us in the direction of where we can find a petroglyph.
Can you see the images on the rocks? They are a Taíno sun.
Here we are posing inside one of the bateys or ceremonial plazas. Julie from Open Wide the World shares more details on her visit to the Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center (Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes) which includes the batey. At the end of this post you can make a sensory batey, too!
Now for the fun part! After learning about the Taíno petroglyphs you can have the kids make their very own rock art. All you need is rocks, permanent markers and the Taíno symbols. You can find them here, here, and here. You can either print them out or pull them on your iPad or tablet. I also use wooden sample tiles, or ceramic tiles that can be purchased in hardware stores for very cheap.
Now let the kids get creative drawing their very own petroglyphs.
The kids can also draw on tiles, and make these cute decorative tiles.
The rocks can be used as rock paper weights or in a sensory Taíno bin.
I wrote a post a while back on Discovering our Taíno Ancestry with some fun activities that includes this sensory village. It was four part installment series for Hispanic Heritage Month. You can read the the installments here: El Cemí y Dujo: Discovering Our Taíno Ancestry, Do It Yourself Petroglyph: Discovering Our Taino Ancestry, and Story Time with Kiki Kokí: Discovering Our Taíno Ancestry.
You can supplement this activity with Taíno children’s books that can be found here: Children’s Books about Puerto Rico. For more on the Taínos check this video out:
What a cool activity for kids to learn about Puerto Rico, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month! Interested in other Hispanic Cultural Activities? Check out these 5 Latino Role Models for Kids!