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Kids enjoy educational Cinco de Mayo event

Kyrea Martin, 3, of East Meadow, celebrated Cinco

Kyrea Martin, 3, of East Meadow, celebrated Cinco de Mayo at The Long Island Children's. (May 5, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Danielle Finkelstein

Suruchi Khan's daughters know a little about their native Indian culture, but not much about Mexico.

So Saturday, on Cinco de Mayo, the Levittown woman decided to fill the void -- cooking tacos and carting 5-year-old Sabaa and 3-year-old Sufia to the Long Island Children's Museum.

The girls joined several dozen children at a long table, where they made hats by gluing cups upside down on plastic plates.

"In Mexico, sombreros are worn on festive occasions," Stacey Lee, 26, the museum's education program coordinator, told them. "Real sombreros are much bigger."

Then came the big question: "Do you know what Cinco de Mayo is?"

"May 5," she said, when none of the children ventured a guess.

Another museum educator, Monique Tyler, 26, explained the history, noting that Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, pitting Mexico against France.

"The French had a huge army -- around 8,000 people. Mexico had a smaller army, about half the size, but while they lost the war, they won the battle," she said.

Saturday's event, Lee said, is one of several the Garden City museum holds each year, including candle-making during the holiday season, aimed at teaching children about other cultures.

Some parents visiting the museum with their kids on a rainy day were happy to stumble on the program.

"It's America; a land of all nationalities. It's good for them to learn about all of them," said John DeVarso of Oceanside as he watched his twin 5-year-olds, Jessica and Connor, make their miniature sombreros.

Adam Gajraj, 6, of Richmond Hill, Queens, asked his mother, "Can I draw a penguin on it?"

"Sure," Michelle Gajraj said.

That penguins aren't native to Mexico was a lesson for another time.

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