Welcome to Australia! When the kids chose Australia as our first place to visit, I was a little unsure of where to start, since I hadn’t really thought through the “lesson plan” of the project.
I decided the easiest thing to do would be give the kids a basic overview of the country and see what interested them most. We could take it from there. Since I decided that we would not be using the internet as our sole source of info, we hopped in the car and headed over to the library. This, in itself, was actually a great educational experience since it was the first time we actually had to use the dewey decimal system to find specific books. (usually, we just browse the shelves for kid’s stories). We found a great book on Australia which highlighted all the basics like geography, resources, industry, population, etc. As it turned out, they were most interested in aborigine lifestyle, local animals, and food. I guess imports/exports, industry and geography just don’t cut it with the preschool set these days.
Honestly, they were fascinated by anything to do with the aborigines’ culture. We checked out kids’ crafts for an Aboriginal Mask and Aboriginal Snake Painting, but in the end, we decided to do an art project inspired by the aboriginal dot paintings. This ended up being one of the coolest projects we’ve done, and I’ve outlined the instructions below. We talked about how the paintings represented something in nature or told a story in lieu of written books. I like Deirdre painting the best — she said it is a mother snake with eggs and newly hatched baby snakes. Jonah make Tuck the Turtle from the Wonderpets (basically, everything he does these days involved Tuck or Diego).
Then we listened to some didgeridoo music, and they managed to find some pretty funky Didgeridoo Trance/Beatbox which, although not traditional, was totally fun. We tried making cardboard tube didgeridoos, but then Jon made some out of PVC pipe which sounded a hell of a lot better!
As for the wildlife, we read a book on marsupials, another book on snakes, and watched some you-tube video of sharks. As luck would have it, I found a movie on-demand about a boy who rescued a joey, which fit in perfectly with our theme.
On Thursday we decided to cook an Australian inspired meal. (no, we did NOT go to Outback Steakhouse). Jon found a website with recipes from around the world, and we decided to make Australian meat pie and apple/carrot salad. We topped of the meal with cookies shaped like kangaroos (once again, not traditional, but the kids thought up the idea by themselves).
All and all, a good start! Next…Bangladesh.
Directions for Dot Paintings
- Cardboard or wood
- Acrylic paint
- Q-tips (at least one for each color)
- decide what you would like to paint, such as a scene from nature, abstract design, or story image
- dip Q-tip in a darker color and outline the image you would like to paint. Use a straight up and down motion to get a round dot
- dip Q-tip in a different color and fill in your object with dots
- use your dots to create different designs in the background
- when the paint has dried, you can go back with a different color and add features (eyes, mouth) to your images or more details to your abstract designs