According to Lost Civilizations, the Mayan people are one of the best-known civilizations of Mesoamerica. With massive pyramids, observatories and statues created throughout the Central and South American regions created without metal tools, the Mayan people were an industrious group. Mysteriously, the civilization abandoned its temples in modern-day Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras around 1300 A.D. According to the British Museum, there are around 6 million Mayans in the world today. There are many crafts that kids can do to learn about the customs and lifestyle of ancient Mayan people.
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Mayans had exceptional weaving skills and used indigenous plants to make yarns and threads dyed with vibrant colors extracted from roots, berries and seeds. Blues, yellows and reds adorn many traditional Mayan tapestries. Kids can make their own Mayan shirt with an old pillow case, colored yarn and fabric glue. The yarn should be used to frame the edges. The arm holes and neck hole can be cut with pinking shears in a rectangular shape.
The Mayans related macaws with the sun god because of their vibrantly colored feathers. Mayan rulers or high priests were often depicted in hieroglyphs wearing a macaw headdress. Children can make their own colorful royal headdress with craft feathers and poster board. Have children draw the face and beak of the macaw and then attach colorful feathers on it.
The Mayans were known for sand-colored pots made from Yucatan peninsula clay. After children sculpt the pot with their hands, show them how to paint the outside with traditional designs. Allow children to imagine how their pot may have been used during the ancient Mayan period. Use reds, blues and yellows to adorn the pots and encourage children to create their own hieroglyphs on the pot. Hieroglyphs are symbols and signs used as a written language and were used by ancient Mayan people.
Mayan people developed one of the most comprehensive hieroglyphic systems in the Americas. Use card stock to create a picture on a "wall" for kids to discover and interpret. Taping cutouts of the card stock creates enough of a raised surface that kids will be able to get a solid rubbing off of them. By placing a piece of paper over the hieroglyph and rolling a crayon over it, kids can take a rubbing, pretending to be an archeologist.