(This blog was originally published for National Reconciliation Week but has since been edited to include some more activities that can be undertaken during the upcoming NAIDOC Week, 2019)

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) focuses on the relationship between the broader Australian community and the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander peoples. From the past when Australia was first colonised to now, the present day, it is an opportunity for everyone to learn, unlearn or relearn the truth about the history of the first people of this nation. 

NRW is celebrated between the 27th of May to 3rd of June each year as these dates mark two important milestones for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision. 

NAIDOC week (7th to 14th July), on the other hand, focuses on celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life. 

Each year a new city and a theme are chosen and the theme for 2019 is Voice, Treaty, Truth. Focusing on a better position or role for decision making within the Australian constitution.  

And what better way, than to embrace the purest and most powerful form of human expression; ART in its many shapes and forms!

At Cubsta, we put together a number of activities that you could undertake with toddlers or pre-schoolers within the daycare setting or at home as well. The purpose of these activities is to introduce children to the rich cultural heritage of the traditional owners of this land we call home. 

Make an Aboriginal Flag

Things you will need

  • Printable Aboriginal flag template or you can create one on your own.
  • Black Felt or Marker pen
  • Red, Yellow and Black paints or crayons.

What better place to start off than telling the children about the Aboriginal flag. All you will need for this activity is a few colours (Red, Yellow and Black) and a template of the Aboriginal flag. You can either download the template online and take a print out or if you have enough time in hand you could simply make it by hand using a pencil or a Felt Pen.

While the children have fun painting their own flags, the educators or parents can take this opportunity to explain to them the significance of each of these colours and the shapes within the flag.

Here is a breakdown of the colours with their significance;  

Black: Represents the Aboriginal people of Australia.

Yellow: Represents the Sun, the one responsible for life on earth and the protector.

Red: Represents the land that we live on (red centre of Australia), the red colour that Aboriginal people use in ceremonies and to create art and most importantly, their spiritual relationship with the land.    

At this point, you can also talk about the red centre of Australia including Uluru and Kata Tjuṯa and its importance to the Aboriginal people.

Make a Boomerang

Things you will need

  • Printable Boomerang Template
  • Cardboard
  • Colours
  • Craft glue

You can start this activity by telling the children some fun facts about the Boomerang and how it was used by the Aboriginal people in the olden days.  

According to the National Museum of Australia, the Boomerang is considered to be one of the ten symbols that Australians have chosen to represent themselves with.

A Boomerang is a traditional hunting tool used by the Aboriginal people of Australia and they can be credited with the invention of it. The Boomerang was first discovered by Australian settlers in the 1800s as they came in contact with the traditional owners of this land.

Getting back into the activity, you will need a template of a Boomerang that can easily be printed online.

Now cut the template along the lines and stick the Boomerang to a piece of cardboard.

Here you go, the boomerang is now ready and you can ask the little ones to get creative and paint their own boomerangs.

A good idea here will be to show them some Aboriginal patterns on the screen to kickstart their imaginative thought process for painting their very own Boomerangs.

Once the boomerangs are ready, you can also tell them about its unique shape, that has been carefully designed by the traditional owners of the land such that it returns back to them upon throwing in the air.

Maybe a boomerang throwing competition to get them all excited?

Aboriginal Art Inspired Colouring Pages

Image Source – Brisbane Kids

Aboriginal or Indigenous art is a unique art form that has been used by ancestors of this land for story-telling. It has been used by them for centuries to share their stories about the land we call home, their way of life, beliefs and events.

Things you will need

Simply download some of the pages provided on the above link and give it to the children to bring life to using colours.

Aboriginal Symbols

 

Here is a fun fact for you to share with the children while going through this activity, Aboriginal people do not have a written form of communication. So to communicate their stories they rely on symbols or icons and symbols hold a very important place within their culture.

So for this activity, you will need to download an information sheet containing Aboriginal symbols and their meanings like this one.

Dot Painting Activity using Stickers

Image Source: Brisbane Kids

Dot paintings are now internationally recognised as the work of the Aboriginal people. Thousands of years ago, dots were made using soil for signifying different scared designs for ceremonies that they undertook.

Things you will need

  • Dot-shaped stickers preferably in colours that signify Aboriginal culture
  • A template of your choice, some examples of what you can use include, the Aboriginal flag, a snake, a tortoise or any other patterns that can be commonly observed within aboriginal art. (See the one we have used above).

Simply take a print the template out and get the kids to place stickers on them based on their imagination.

Leaf Painting

A simple activity that could be used to teach toddlers and pre-schoolers about aboriginal colours and their importance to the first people of this nation.

Things you will need

  • Leaves (Preferably not brown and of different shapes and sizes)
  • Paints
  • A4 Sheets

Simply dip the leaves in paint or using a brush put some colour on the leaf and then place these leaves on a piece of an A4 sheet. 

Paper Plate Snake

Image Source 

We discovered on the activity this blog. You could encourage the children to use dot painting techniques to colour their snakes instead.

A story to share with the little ones to fuel their imagination – Snakes hold an important part in the Aboriginal culture and are known as rainbow serpents, meaning, a creature that is immortal and is seen as a snake and a rainbow, signifying the importance of the 4 seasons and the rain for the continuation of life. It is said that when a rainbow is seen in the sky, the serpent is travelling from one water hole to another.

Things you will need

  • Paper Plats
  • Child-Friendly Scissors
  • Paint
  • Black Stickers to make eyes of the snake 

Simply cut the plate to form the shape of a snake. You can encourage the children to either use dot stickers or paint to add colour to their rainbow serpents.

Aboriginal Good Luck Message Stones

Image Source

According to the aboriginal people, these stones are said to bring good luck, strength and health to people. 

Things you will need

  • Medium sized pebble stones
  • Pebble Stones
  • Marker
  • Paint

Use these signs or symbols as a reference and draw them for the kids on the stones using marker pens. Then pass it on to the children to add their own touch using paints.

About us: Cubsta is a childcare software provider working towards making the early education sector a paper-free environment so that our future generations can equally enjoy this blue and green planet that we thrive on.

We currently offer 5 functions that help childcare centres with record-keeping for compliance purposes and to facilitate better communication between educators and parents.

Want to know more? Get in touch with us.