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Wednesday 15 January 2014

Aboriginal Dot Art Activity

Australia Day (January 26th) is fast approaching so what better time to share an Australian themed craft that I shared with Ava's class at school recently.

Back in December Ava's first grade class at school were learning about culture, customs and their family history. Each child made a little book about where their family comes from and any cultural activities or holidays that they celebrate. Ava's teacher invited parents to come in and share an activity, story or food from their culture. Ava was really keen for me to come in and teach the class a little about Australian culture.

Back when Ava was in Kindergarten I organised for her class to make artwork inspired by Aboriginal dot paintings. The activity had been such a hit with the kids that I figured it would be the perfect way to bring a little Australian culture into Ava's classroom again. So, armed with bags of art supplies, Australian books and a few Australian goodies to try, I headed into the classroom to get creative with the kids.

Needless to say, anything that involves paint, Australian animals and a break from their regular class schedule went down well with the kids. They had so much fun getting creative and they were all interested to learn about Australian animals (particularly kangaroos and snakes) and a little Aboriginal history.

To create the dot paintings I started with a simple kangaroo template printed on a variety of earthy coloured papers for the kids to use. You can find the kangaroo template that I used here.

I gave the kids pencils with erasers on the end to use as their painting tools and a shared palette of paints for each table. To keep to a more traditional colour scheme we used red, brown, black, yellow, orange and white paints only (although you'll see that many of the kids mixed the paints to create other colours, especially pink). I provided the kids with a few pictures of traditional Aboriginal art as inpsiration, showed them how to dab the paint onto the page using the eraser end of the pencil and then left them to get creative.

While most of the kids were happy to create kangaroo paintings using the template I also gave them the option to turn the paper over and make their own original paintings. Snakes were a popular choice and one of Ava's classmates even came up with a scene featuring a koala climbing a tree.

Here's a look at Ava's class getting creative with Aboriginal art inspired dot paintings...

And here's a look at their finished masterpieces...

After we'd finished with the painting and everything was cleaned up I gave the kids a couple of Australian foods to try. First up were pumpkin scones which everyone enjoyed. You can find my recipe for pumpkin scones here. The second Australian food I gave the kids to try wasn't quite as well received. You can probably guess what it was... That's right, Vegemite! I would've loved to have been able to photograph the kids reactions when they took their first bite of Vegemite but I was a little busy handing it out on toast. Some of the kids liked it but most were disgusted, especially seeing as many of them thought that the dark brown colour denoted a chocolate flavour! A few came back for seconds but I got the feeling they were trying to prove how adventurous they were more than anything.

Dot art painting is such a fun activity for kids of all ages that I'm thinking I just might have to try it out with Lola's preschool class this year as well. And the Vegemite tasting too. A group of three year olds trying Vegemite for the first time? Now that's definitely something I'll have to capture on film!

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