We are having so much fun learning about Australia this month.
One of our favourite ways to learn about a culture is to explore multicultural craft traditions. For an Australia craft, we decided to try our hand at Aboriginal Dot Painting.
The Australian Aborigine culture is mystical and fascinating. While preparing materials for our Australia unit study, I loved learning how the tradition of Australian crafts tied into the Aboriginal concept of “Dreamtime,” which would be a wonderful philosophy or theology study for an older child.
Aboriginal Dot Paintings are created by making several small dots of paint to create a cohesive whole — either depicting an image or a pattern. This relates to the Aborigine beliefs of order and union. Interestingly, the purpose of the dots is to obscure and keep secret parts of the Dreamtime stories that these artworks often depict.
This is a great conversation starter with kids — how often we cannot fully understand the appearance of anything without knowing the story behind it, and how artwork can represent something more meaningful than it seems.
Materials we used for our Aboriginal-inspired Dot Painting:
- a simple kangaroo outline from this colouring pages resource (we printed ours on white cardstock)
- tempera paints
- paint tray
We stayed with the Aborigine tradition of only using red, yellow, brown, and white paints, though some modern dot paintings are including cooler colours, as well.
With an older child, it would be really cool to explore mixing your own acrylic paints and attempting the dot painting on a canvas. For a younger child, you could try tracing a design or outline onto a canvas for them to give them a similar experience.
Show your child how to dip the q-tips into the paint and make a dotting pattern on their design, and then leave them to it! You can encourage older children to attempt patterns within their overall designs, and I think reading or listening to an Aborigine story or music would be a great way to deepen the experience of this Australian craft.
This is also a great fine motor craft, allowing children to practice precision and develop finger and arm strength in the dotting movement.
What do you think? I would love to hear your suggestions for other Australia crafts!
Be sure to check out our other crafts and provocations for more kids craft ideas, and pin this one for later!