How to Teach Children About an Aboriginal Culture

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Aborigines were the first people to inhabit Australia. Aborigines loved making art. They created functional art, like didgeridoos, to make music, narrative art, paintings and to tell stories. Children love making art, so make the connection and teach them about aboriginal culture by making an art project. When you introduce art into a history lesson, you expand the children's knowledge of a subject and also make it fun. Have children create an aboriginal style painting by using unique painting tools like pencil erasers and sponges.

  • Image of Michael Nelson Tjakamarra's painting "Kangaroo Story at Wantapi", 1988
  • Construction paper
  • Sponge brush
  • Pencil
  • Tempera paint
  • Water

1 Tell the children

Tell the children how Aborigines were the first people to inhabit Australia. Explain that aborigines believed their dreams provided them the inspirations for their art.

2 Show children Michael Nelson Tjakamarra's painting Kangaroo Story at Wantapi

Show children Michael Nelson Tjakamarra's painting "Kangaroo Story at Wantapi." Tjakmarra's paintings were based on his dreams. His painting was created with patterns of dots and lines. Discuss with the children what they think the dots and lines represent in his dream.

3 Ask the children

Ask the children to think of a dream they had recently. Have them recreate the dream in a dot painting like Tjakamarra.

4 Have children

Have children dip a sponge brush into various colors of paint and create a background by dabbing the paint onto the entire piece of construction paper. Remind them to rinse their brush in between colors. Let the paintings dry.

Have children go slow when painting their dot symbols to show good craftsmanship.

5 Have children-2

Have children use the eraser end of the pencil to dot paint symbols onto their background. Remind them that the symbols represent things from their dream. Let the paint dry and then allow children to share the meaning of their dream paintings.

Carolyn Jennie Braden is currently an art educator who has been writing professionally since 2005. She has published in top newspapers, websites and magazines including and "School Arts Magazine." Braden has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography and a Master of Art Education.