Bilingual Programs Chapter

By Priscilla Suárez and Vanessa Sáenz

Teen Program: Summer Solistice and Mayan-based Activities for Teens

Program Description

Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and is celebrated annually on or near June 21st. The solstice is a universal ancient and modern holiday, observed in a many cultures with distinct customs and beliefs. In the Mayan culture, the sun god is a principal deity. The sun’s power was used to set the calendar, so, of course, the Summer Solstice was a holiday worthy of much celebration. Cocoa, the bean from the cocoa tree, was valuable to the Mayan people, who are credited with creating the first chocolate drink. In fact, the word chocolate is thought to be based on the Mayan word, xocolatl, meaning “bitter water”. Cocao beans were often used in religious ceremonies. Celebrate summer, or anytime, with these activities that celebrate the Mayans and this delicious treat.

Length of Program

1 to 1.5 hours

Books to Show or Booktalk

Aztec, Inca, and Maya by Elizabeth Baquedano.

The Chaos Code by Justin Richards.

Chasing the Jaguar by Michele Dominguez Greene.

Lady of Palenque: Flower of Bacal, Mesoamerica, A. D. 749 by Anna Kirwan.

Mayan and Aztec Mythology by Michael A. Schuman.

Mayan Folktales: Cuentos Folkloricos Mayas by Susan Thompson.

The Mystery of the Maya: Uncovering the Lost City of Palenque by Peter Lourie.

Solstice by Emmy Pérez.

Tikal: The Center of the Maya World by Elizabeth Mann.

Bulletin Board

Mayan Culture

Cover the bulletin board with brown or earth-toned butcher paper. Decorate the bulletin board with images of ancient Mayan culture and artifacts, such as pyramids, costumes, and suns. Include recipes for chocolate and vanilla pastries, hieroglyphics, and images of the Mayan calendar.


Cover a table with an earth-toned tablecloth. Place books for checkout on the table. Add chocolate and vanilla candies for munching. Disperse sun die-cuts around the display table and intersperse some sun-shaped figurines, pottery, or other objects.


Decorate the room with sun and pyramid cut-outs. Download and color Mayan glyphs, available in Design Motifs of Ancient Mexico by Jorge Enciso or on various web sites, including The University of Virginia’s Mayan Epigraphic Database Project at


Warrior Juice

Serve fruit punch with added red food coloring to deepen the color.

Frito Pie

  • Individual bags of Fritos or other corn chips
  • Canned chili
  • Prepackaged nacho cheese
  • Spoons

In microwave, on a stove, or in a slow cooker, separately heat up the chili and the cheese. Pour a portion of chili into opened Fritos bag. Top with cheese and serve. Instead of melted nacho cheese, shredded cheese can be substituted.

Audio Recordings

“I Can See Clearly Now” on I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash.

“La Cumbia del Mole” on La Cantina by Lila Downs.

“Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” on Greatest Hits by The Four Tops.

“We Got the Beat” on Greatest by The Go-Go’s.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Soundtrack.


Warrior Mask

photo of decorated mask, sun eyes with orange triangle spikes, round yellow sun headband, lighting bolds on each cheek, and other smaller decorations

  • Cardstock
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Plastic or wooden beads (optional)
  • Feathers (optional)
  • Yarn or ribbon (optional)
  • Glue
  • Markers or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Large craft sticks or paint stir sticks
  • Stapler (optional)

In advance copy the Warrior Mask template provided in this program on to cardstock. Alternately, let the participants create their own designs. After the mask has been cut out of the cardstock, decorate the mask using glitter, beads, yarn, markers, feathers, or other materials. Allow the masks to dry. Glue on a large craft stick or paint stir stick to the bottom edge to allow the mask to be held in front of the face. Alternately, measure yarn or ribbon to fit around the head and secure half to each side of the mask with a stapler. Tie the mask in place.

Find the warrior mask pattern at the end of this program.

Warrior Keepsake Box

photo of keepsake box - box decorated with various scrap pieces - ribbons, coins, red charms, cutout flowers, photos, and other pieces

  • Glitter
  • Old magazines
  • Plastic or wooden beads
  • Buttons
  • Yarn or ribbon
  • Tissue paper
  • Fabric scraps
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Shoebox (any size)
  • Scissors

In advance, gather enough shoe boxes or other small lidded boxes for each participant to have one. Distribute the boxes. Allow the participants to decorate the box to their liking, using pictures cut from old magazines, beads and buttons, yarn, fabric scraps, and other materials.

Games and Activities

Online Scavenger Hunt

Copy the Online Scavenger Hunt handout provided in this program. Reserve a few computers for this program. Separate teens into teams or have them complete this scavenger hunt on their own, if sufficient computers are available. The individual or team that answers the most questions correctly within the least amount of time will be declared the winner. Provide a small prize, such as earphones or candy bars, to the winners.

Find the online scavenger hunt materials at the end of this program.

Sweet Tooth Party

For the Sweet Tooth Party, use as many of the following activities as the program permits. Additional ideas for hosting a Chocolate Tasting Party are provided in the 2008 Texas Teens Read! manual, - choc1.

Candy Names: Make copies of the Candy Names handout and the Candy Names Answer Sheet provided in this program. Working individually or teams, teens try to answer the questions. If desired, allow the teens to use a thesaurus or dictionary for help.

Find the Summer Solstice candy names and answers handout.

Oreo Cookie Tower: Have each of the teens sit at a table with a paper plate in front of them. Place seven Oreo cookies on the plate. When told to start, each teen must place their hands behind their backs and use their mouths to stack the cookies on top of each other. The first one to stack all seven cookies into a tower wins. If the tower falls down, the teen must start over.

Taste Test: Purchase a variety of candies providing enough for each teen who is participating. Set the candies up on a table and let teens taste test each candy. Provide score sheets to allow the teens to vote for their favorite candy. As a variation on the taste test, blindfold the participants and have them try to identify the candy they tasted.

Un-wrap a Kiss: Provide each teen with an oven mitt and five Hershey’s kisses. The participant must put the oven mitt on one hand and place the other behind his or her back. Set a timer for one minute. The participant must un-wrap as many kisses as possible within one minute. If there are not enough oven mitts for everyone to race at the same time, hold relays with two or three teens racing at the same time. Continue racing until there is one winner. Give a giant Hershey kiss as the prize.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (115 minutes)

Quest for Adventure: Curse of the Mayan Temple. (273 minutes)

Welcome to the Evolution: Solving the Mayan Calendar Mystery. (270 minutes)

Web Sites

History of Chocolate

The site provided information on the history of chocolate, recipes, puzzles, trivia related to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and a biography of Roald Dahl.

Mayan Crafts Yucatan

This commercial site offers a function that allows you to preview your name spelled in Mayan glyphs. Use the image to create your own design on paper.

Mayan Kids

This site provides information, including a timeline, about the Mayans and their history and culture. The site also provides word puzzles, games, and clip art.

Professional Resources

Summer Solstice Activities and Celebrations

Suite101 offers a lot more solstice activity ideas.

Program Materials

Summer Solstice – Warrior Mask Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (15 KB)

Warrior Mask Patter, sun with triangle spikes, round sun headband, lighteing bolts, various squares for decorations

Summer Solstice – Online Scavenger Hunt (1 of 3)

Printer Friendly PDF Version (size 56 KB)

Summer Solstice Scavenger Hunt - Sheet 1 of 3 - sheet has a computer keyboard and instructions

Summer Solstice – Online Scavenger Hunt (2 of 3)

Printer Friendly PDF Version (12 KB)

Summer Solstice Scavenger Hunt - Sheet 2 of 3

Summer Solstice – Online Scavenger Hunt (3 of 3)

Printer Friendly PDF Version (12 KB)

Summer Solstice Scavenger Hunt - Sheet 3 of 3

Summer Solstice – Sweet Tooth Party Candy Names and Answers

Printer Friendly PDF Version (13 KB)

Summer Solstice - Sweet Tooth Party Candy Names and Answers

Texas Reading Club 2010 Programming Manual / Catch the Reading Express!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011