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Make an Aztec Sundial

Make an Aztec Sundial Activity

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Not only does the sun give us warmth and help plants grow, it can also be used to tell time! Help your child make a sundial that really works! The Aztecs were brilliant people that taught us much of what we know about the Earth and the world around us. Your child can create a working sundial along with learning more about life with the Aztecs!

What You Need:

  • Sketch paper
  • Pencil
  • Paper plate
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Large craft stick
  • Play dough

What You Do:

  1. The Aztecs were an amazing culture, creating pyramids, structured villages, sundials and calendars. Do some research online or at your local library with your child to learn more about how the Aztec sundial originated.
  2. Offer your child a piece of sketch paper and a pencil to use for making small drawings of the sundials and Aztec calendars she finds interesting. Many Aztec artworks included symbols, numerals, animal imagery, and, of course, depictions of the sun!
  3. A sundial uses the sun to tell time, and your child can create her own working timepiece with some influence from the Aztecs. Offer her a paper plate to use as the base of her sundial.
  4. Now she can use a pencil to sketch out an interesting drawing or symbol in the center of the sundial along with decorative symbols and designs around the outside edge of the paper plate.
  5. Invite your child to use a set of markers to add vibrant colors to her creation. She can also select ridges along the outer edge of the paper plate to color in to assist with time telling.
  6. To create a working sundial, there needs to be a central vertical implement to create a shadow from the sun, and a large craft stick works perfectly. Offer your child a craft stick and a small ball of play dough to use for securing the stick in the center of her paper plate.
  7. Now invite your child to place her finished Aztec sundial in a sunny spot. She can even check it every hour to mark where the sun is on her sundial and add numbers to create a working clock!
Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.

Updated on May 23, 2014
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See more activities in: Third Grade, History
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