The Maya Indians for Kids and Teachers Illustration

The Mysterious Mayas for Kids

For Kids

Skilled Builders: Nobody knows where they came from, but about 2,400 years ago, a new tribe of people appeared in Central America. They settled in the rainforests of the Yucatan Peninsula. They were called the Maya Indians. They were very clever people. They built cities deep in the rainforest. They did not use metal tools. They used stone tools, wood tools, and tools made from shells. They were skilled builders. They built palaces, temples, pyramids, walls, homes. They built hundreds of beautiful cities.

Maya City-States: The cities were connected with well built roads that ran through the rainforests and jungles on the Yucatan Peninsula. Every city had a ball court, at last one temple and usually more than one, homes, buildings, a palace, and a central plaza. Each city was a center of learning and religion. Each city had its own ruling family. The Maya city-states never unified. Similar to the ancient Greek city-states, the Maya city-states often went to war with each other. Some historians believe they were almost always at war with someone.

A History Mystery: By 900 CE, the Maya cities were mostly deserted. Some people did remain behind, but without enough people to take care of them, the great Maya cities fell into ruin. That's why the Maya are called "the mysterious Maya" - nobody knows where they came from, and nobody knows where they went, leaving their cities nearly deserted. Why did they leave? Where did they go? Historians make guesses, but it remains a history mystery.

Descendants: Just as the fall of Rome did not mean the end of Romans, there are many descendants of the ancient Maya living in Central America today. About 40% of Guatemala's modern population, along with hundreds of thousands of people outside Guatemala, trace their ancestry back to the ancient Maya. These descendants would love to know more about their ancient ancestors, but it's difficult.

A Fascinating People: Since they built their cities deep in the jungle, it's hard to find the ruins of these cities. Some citieis have been found. Archaeologists believe there are many more cities to be discovered. Thousands of hieroglyphics have been found. Not of the around 800 different symbols found so far are understood today. What are these symbols telling us? As archaeologists and other scientists continue to decipher this ancient language and discover the ruins of other ancient Maya cities, we hope to learn more about these fascinating, clever people.



Justice, Fair Trials

Daily Life in the Maya Empire



Food & Maize

Clothing & Jewelry

The Importance of Feathers



Coming of Age Ceremony



Maya Beauty (or how to become an attractive person)

Social Structure & Slaves




Leaders, Nobles, Fashion


Maya Religion

Maya Sacrifice

Maya Festivals

Music & Dance

Animals in the Maya Empire

Maya Builders

Maya Temples & Palaces

Maya Pyramids

Maya Cities

Maya Ruins

Maya Ball Courts & Ball Games

Maya Stelas

Maya Inventions & Achievements

Maya Art

The Exciting Adventures of the Hero Twins

Maya Myths



Maya Mathematics & Calendars

What happened to the Maya Empire?

Online Maya Games

Take the Quiz, Interactive (with answers)

Investigate Real Life Artifacts

For Teachers

Free Use Lesson Plans for Teachers about the Maya Indians

Classroom Activities for the Maya for Teachers

Free Ready Made Presentations about the Mayas

Free Use Mayas Clipart for Teachers and Students

Mayas Questions and Answers Interactive for Section Review and Test Prep 

Other Native Americans

With great excitement, we are pleased to announce
We're Published!

Mr. Donn and Maxie's Ancient History PowerPoints Series
Written by Lin & Don Donn,
illustrated by Phillip Martin, Published by Good Year Books

Mr. Donn and Maxie's Always Something You Can Use Series
Written by Lin & Don Donn, Published by Good Year Books