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Aborigine art makes good rainy day activity


Art, Social Studies  


2, 3  

Aborigines are the native people of Australia. They are similar to American Indians because they live in tribes and have their own form of religion. Their religion is based on a belief that their ancestors can communicate with them through their dreams and thoughts.  They are very aware of the land and forces of nature.

Many of their art designs are based upon animals such as turtles, lizards and fish. Traditional Aboriginal art represents their dreams and is also an important part of their ceremonies.

Aboriginal art is made of brightly colored dots.  For examples of this style, see  The Pensacola Museum of Art also has examples of Australian relics and art that can be checked out by school teachers and program directors.

To make your own work of art you will need:

  • Poster paint
  • Coffee stirring straws or cotton swabs
  • Construction paper
  • Small paper plates, scraps of cardboard or plastic lids (for pallets)
  • Clothes line or drying rack

Put a small amount, about one teaspoon, of paint on a pallet.  Put only one color on a pallet because the colors should be pure and not mixed.  Mixing the colors may make them dull.  Keep the straw with that pallet. When it is time for a new color, pass both the straw and the pallet to the next student.  In a large group, it may be easier to keep the straws and pallets together by putting each color at a different table, telling the children to only take their paper with them as they move from table to table.

Think of an animal that is native to Australia. One such animal might be a sea turtle.  To draw a turtle, first draw an oval for the shell.  Then add smaller ovals for the legs and head and a long triangle for the tail.

(Students who are younger than third grade will have an easier time with a coloring picture that is copied onto card stock.)

Draw a simple drawing, but use a dotted line instead of a solid line.  Make the line by dipping a straw into a puddle of paint, and then press the straw to the paper to make a dot.  One dip in the paint will usually make three or four dots before it has to be dipped again.  After making the outline, use different colors to fill in each area.

This article is reprinted with permission from a new, free resource for art teachers in The Examiner. Subscribe to her column for free, and new articles will be emailed as soon as they are published. New articles appear two or three times a week. Subscribe to her feed at

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