January 2, 2021

It's Mayan! Make Marshmallow Constellations & Enjoy an Ancient Mayan Treat

This month, Hands-on-Books features Sherry Ellis, who not only writes for kids, but is a gifted violinist. Welcome back!

 I’m happy to announce the release of my newest book, Bubba and Squirt’s Mayan Adventure. It’s the second in my Bubba and Squirt series and it’s fiction based on my research about Mayan history and culture.

When Bubba and Squirt travel through the magic portal, they find themselves at Altun Ha, an ancient Mayan civilization in Belize. Today, Altun Ha is an active archaeological site. Over three hundred jade objects have been found there, including an ornately carved head of the Mayan sun go, Kinich Ahua. The head weighs about ten pounds and is believed to be the largest Mayan jade carving in existence.

In addition to their impressive carvings and architecture, the Mayans were famous for their Mayan Calendar which was based on the movement of the starts, moon, and sun.

You may have heard of constellations—groups of stars that form recognizable patterns in the night sky. When the ancient Mayans studied the stars, they saw the same patterns that you and I see today. You can try making these patterns using mini marshmallows and toothpicks. Here’s how:


· Bag of mini marshmallows
· Toothpicks
· Diagrams of your favorite constellations
· Paper and pencils 

What to do:

1.      Draw the constellation you will create. Use a constellation diagram as a guide. (Black construction paper and white pencils look nice if you have them.)

2.      Use dots for the stars and lines to form the constellation’s shape.

3.      Construct the constellation using marshmallows for the stars and toothpicks for the lines. You may need to break some of the toothpicks to make them shorter.

When you’re done, put your marshmallows in a cup of hot cocoa. Archeologists have found evidence that wealthy Mayans enjoyed this drink more than 2000 years ago! You can pretend you’re an ancient Mayan when you sip this tasty treat!

For more fun activities, go here.

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning author and professional musician who plays and teaches the violin, viola, and piano. Ellis has previously published Bubba and Squirt’s Big Dig to China; Don’t Feed the Elephant; Ten Zany Birds; That Mama is a Grouch; and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN. When she is not writing or engaged in musical activities, she can be found doing household chores, hiking, or exploring the world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.



  1. Thank you for having me as a guest!

  2. Isn't it wild to think they drank the same drink? Wonder if they had marshmallows...?

  3. A great craft, but you should have the kids to match their constellations with the real ones in the sky. While I know the Mayans had chocolate (or cocoa), what did they do for marshmallows? :)


    1. That's a good idea. They're a little harder to spot in the sky, but it would be fun for them to try.

  4. What a fun idea to make the constellations out of marshmallows. Wish I would have known about it when I was a co-brownie leader. Congrats on your new book.

  5. A very fun idea, and great way to learn the constellations. How many cultures mapped the sky in that way? How many stars that our ancestors saw have since gone away? How many new ones do we have today? That's a lot to think about!

    1. Sure is! I bet many nations and cultures have looked to the sky because it's so vast and fascinating.

  6. If I were still teaching, I would read your wonderful Bubba and Squirt books to my kiddos, and for sure we'd make marshmallow constellations and drink hot chocolate. All the best in the coming year!

    1. Thanks, Yvonne! I hope other teachers decide to read the Bubba and Squirt books to their kids.