Bring the beauty and mystery of the vast Australian outback into your home through a variety of kid-friendly Australia-themed craft projects. Celebrate the landscape, native animals and indigenous people through hands-on educational craft projects that can be adapted to suit children and adults of all abilities. Craft projects are also a valuable supplement to an educational unit on Australia or the Australian outback.
Celebrate the unexpected natural diversity of the Australian outback through a variety of animal crafts. Emus, kangaroos and dingos are some of the most well-known native animals of the Australian outback. The outback is also home to an array of insects, lizards, snakes and birds. Challenge groups of children to use sticks and branches to make larger-than-life stick bugs. Provide a variety of building materials such as twine, glue and duct tape as well as a range of decorative materials such as yarn, pipe cleaners and paint. Arrange the stick bugs in an outdoor space to create an interactive play area.
Another fun animal craft involves creating plush reptiles. Collect several old pillow cases; help children trace an outline or draw their favorite outback reptile such as a thorny devil or ball python. Cut the outline from the pillowcase so that you have two identical shapes and sew or use fabric glue to seal three edges. Stuff the pillow with cotton balls and then seal the final edge. Decorate the pillow with fabric pens or paint, buttons and other decorative materials.
Australian Aborigines use rain sticks in spiritual practices as well as in music making. Create a simple rain stick using a sturdy cardboard tube like those used to ship posters. Place a cap on one end of the tube and seal it with epoxy or glue. Provide your child with a variety of decorative art supplies including paint and brushes, construction paper, glitter and glue. For a culturally accurate stick, use neutral colored paint and repeating geometric shape patterns to decorate the outside of the tube. Once the materials are dry, an adult should hammer in several nails in a spiral pattern around the tube. The nails should be around three inches long so they extend into the center of the tube without puncturing the other side. Fill the tube with rice, beads or dry beans before sealing the other end. Turn the stick to hear the inner materials create the sound of rain.
Boomerangs were originally designed as an Aboriginal hunting tool, though they are now considered a recreational toy. Crafting a working boomerang from pliable wood such as balsa is an incredibly skilled craft. Instead of creating one from scratch, provide children with premade boomerangs to create hanging wall art. Have children use craft paint to write their names on a wooden boomerang; decorate around the name with beads, stones or glitter. Once dry, drill two small holes and secure a loop of leather string to hang the boomerang on the child's door as a name plate.
Aboriginal Dot Art
Dot art is a traditional form of Aboriginal art that tribes used to tell myths and keep tribal histories. Practice dot art through craft projects utilizing simple paint. Children can create dot art by using the plastic end of a paintbrush or pen dipped into paint and then pressed onto a piece of construction paper. Demonstrate how to use repeating dot patterns in different colors to create larger images such as an outback sunset. For a more tactile project, forgo utensils and encourage children to use their fingertips to create dot art prints.
- Photo Credit Cairns Australia image by RichGold from Fotolia.com
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