Paper Maya Calendar

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Mayan calendar - paper

Understanding how the Maya calendar works can be difficult for both children and teachers, so this is a wonderful teaching aid in 1) explaining how the calendar works, 2) including questions and answers, and 3) being able to make your own to keep.

The pack includes the full Maya calendar (Calendar Round) with 5 separate rings to be cut out in white card. Includes a pin for fixing the rings, information about the calendar, instructions and a quiz.

The five wheels once cut out:



Then assembled:

Paper Maya Calendar - assembled


Add a bit of colour:

Coloring the Maya calendar


How the Calendar Works

The main Maya calendar, the calendar round of 52 years, actually consisted of 2 calendars that worked together. The first is the sacred calendar (Tzolkin) that is made up of 260 days (rings 3 and 4). This contained the numbers 1-13 and 20 day names (13 x 20 = 260). Every day was significant, similar to an astrology chart.

For example: 1 Imix, 2 Ik, 3 Akbal, 4 Kan to 13 Ben, then 1 Ix, 2 Men, 3 Kib and so on continuing in an endless cycle.

Notice that the Maya did not have numbers like ours, they only had three digits; a dot standing for ‘one’, a bar standing for ‘five’ and a shell for ‘zero’.

For example: 4 would be 4 dots and 10 would be 2 bars

The second calendar is the solar calendar (Haab) that was made up of 365 days. This contained 19 ‘months’ – 18 months of 20 days and a closing month of 5 days (Wayeb)

For example: 0 Pop would be followed by 1 Pop, then 2 Pop, up to 19, then it would be 0 Wo, 1 Wo and so on.

When these two calendars are working together, one day in this round such as 3 Kan 8 Pop did not repeat until 52 years passed, which was called the Calendar Round.

So you basically have a number + day + number + month.

A Practice Question

1. If today is 1 Imix, 2 Pop what would be tomorrow?


1. Find 1, that is 1 dot, on nearest ring to your split pin,  – you are working from inwards to outwards and line this up with your line marker so that you don’t lose your place

2. Find the glyph Imix on the second ring and line this up with the line marker and your dot

3. Find 2 (two dots) on the third ring and line this up with the 1 Imix

4. Find the Pop glyph on the fourth (largest) ring and line this up with the others – you should now have formed a straight line from the line marker – 1 Imix 2 Pop

5. To find out what the day would be tomorrow, you need to move the first two rings by 1 (in one day’s time) and line them up with the marker – you should have 2 Ik

6. Then move the third ring over by 1, remember you are moving forward, so the number needs to raise (anticlockwise) and line this up

7. Pop (the final ring) stays the same as remember a month lasts 19 days

So you should have 2 Ik, 3 Pop

Well done! You have just worked out a date in the ancient Maya calendar!


1. If you want to know the day in the future you will move the rings anticlockwise, if you want to know a day in the past you will move the rings clockwise

2. Remember there that the month (final ring) only changes when you arrive at the shell (zero)

3. Remember to work from the smallest rings to the largest

Product details

Size: A4

Price: £4.99 +P&P.

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