How to make an aztec codex for children

Updated February 21, 2017

The Aztec codices were pictorial books that recorded Aztec life and culture. Some of them included calendars, rituals and ceremonies, daily life, tributes and histories. The early ones had no writing at all and were solely made of painted pictures. Help your child learn about Aztec culture by teaching her to make an Aztec codex for her life.

Talk to your child about what Aztec codices are. Show him some pictures from such sites as the River Styx, Wikipedia or in an encyclopedia at the library. Ask your child what he would include in a codex about his life. Answers might include a calendar with important dates in his life, a day in his life in pictures, pictures of his favourite books or video games, or a story about an important event in his life.

Give a piece of construction paper to your child and take one for yourself. Ask your child to create a page for her personal codex. Have her pick one of the topics that you discussed when looking at codices. Recommend that she sketch her idea with a pencil first.

Sketch a pictorial representation of your child's entry into your family. It might have several pictures in a comic strip style. Draw a miniature biography of your child's life from your perspective.

Paint your sketched codex page and ask your child to paint his as well. Let them dry overnight. Create as many more pages as the two of you are interested in doing.

Punch a hole in the upper left hand corner of all the dried paintings. Run a string through the hole and tie it together.


When the codex is done, find somewhere in your house to display it and talk about it. Codices were formatted in different ways. One codex was on a long piece of fig bark folded accordion style. If you would like to create something like this, glue several pieces of construction paper together to form a long strip and then fold it accordion style so that each page is approximately four inches wide. Consider following the Aztec rules for drawing people. They showed the head and feet from the side and the body from the front.

Things You'll Need

  • Beige-coloured construction paper or parchment papers
  • Paint or art chalk
  • Small paintbrushes
  • String
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About the Author

As a professional writer since 1985, Bridgette Redman's career has included journalism, educational writing, book authoring and training. She's worked for daily newspapers, an educational publisher, websites, nonprofit associations and individuals. She is the author of two blogs, reviews live theater and has a weekly column in the "Lansing State Journal." She has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University.