General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 24 Sep 2017/13 Flint
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Aztec Mexica toy jaguar and craft model

Ideas for AZTEC TOYS...

Yes, the Aztecs/Mexica DID know about wheels, they just didn’t have the right terrain and/or large pack animals to make it worth bothering with ‘full-size’ wheeled vehicles. The wheels on their toys are perfectly good though. Here’s how to make a dead simple little cardboard wheeled dog...

Pic 1
Pic 1

What you’ll need:-
• Stiff card
• Sharp pencil
• Scissors
• 4 drawing pins
• 4 plastic lids, all the same size
• 2 x 15 cms lengths of dowel
• Paints & brush
• PVA glue & brush
Ask an adult to help you make the wheels...!

These instructions (and the photo in Picture 1) are taken from Art from the Past: the Aztecs by Gillian Chapman (Heinemann, 1998):-

1. Fold the card in half. Draw a simple animal shape on the card in pencil. Cut out the shape, cutting through both thicknesses of card, but not along the fold.

2. Mark the position of the wheel holes on the folded shape. Carefully pierce through the card using a sharp pencil. Make sure each pair of holes lines up.

3. Fold a small piece of card and draw the shape of an animal head onto it. Cut the animal head shape out and glue it to the body shape using PVA glue.

Part of the instructions from ‘Art from the Past’
Part of the instructions from ‘Art from the Past’ (Click on image to enlarge)

4. Decorate the folded shape to make it look like an animal. Aztec pottery and toy animals have stylized markings. (Look for some Aztec patterns around our website - start with the links below). You may like to use one of the patterns you find on your animal.

5. Glue decorated circles of card onto the 4 lids and leave to dry. Carefully make a small hole in the centre of each lid by pushing a drawing pin through each one. You may need an adult’s help with this.

6. Attach one lid to a length of dowel with a drawing pin. Thread the dowel through the holes, then pin another lid to the other end. Repeat for the second wheel axle. Make sure the dowel lengths both turn freely in the holes.

7. Glue extra features, such as card ears and a tail, to the animals for a finishing touch. Make a collar and lead so your animal can guide you along!

Pic 4
Pic 4 (Click on image to enlarge)

The wheeled dog toy in the photo, where it stands in front of our own replica wheeled jaguar toy from Mexico, was made by Danni Cronin, Class 4 teacher at Our Lady of Grace RC Junior School, Brent Cross, London, as a model for her class to follow... Lovely example, Danni (and thanks for inviting us to your school)!

Main photo & Pic 4 by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

PS We recommend Gillian Chapman’s book - it’s got plenty of equally simple and appealing craft activities . Pity, though, that she writes in the ‘Wheeled Toys’ pages ‘The Aztecs did not realise that the wheel was very useful’. Our crafty readers will know that this is doing the Aztecs/Mexica a disservice: follow the ‘Learn more...’ link to find out why!

Learn more: “Just ‘toying’ with wheels?”

Some Aztec stamp designs

Some Aztec rug designs

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