Aboriginal dot painting ideas for children

Written by michelle watson
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Aboriginal dot painting ideas for children
Simple painting supplies are all kids need to create aboriginal dot art. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Australian aboriginal dot paintings are a great way for children to experiment with new art techniques and learn about different cultures. These paintings are images, patterns and symbols made from many small painted dots. Dot paintings are usually drawn from an aerial perspective, and animals, people and symbols are the principal subjects. They're created in earth tones, such as brown, green and yellow.

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Dotting Techniques

One of the easiest ways to create a dot painting is to draw a simplistic outline of a pattern, shape or animal lightly with pencil. Then fill in the outline with dots. Just dip a paintbrush in paint and dab the tip onto the canvas to make a dot. Use different colour dots to distinguish different elements within the picture. Another option is to fill the outlines with solid colours, let the paint dry, and then embellish it with dots, lines and symbols. Another different but common technique is to use dots to outline an image. There aren't many rules with dot painting, so let kids have fun and use their imaginations.

Use Different Brushes

Experiment with different sized paintbrushes to make smaller or larger dots and lines. You can also use other objects to make dots, such as toothpicks, cotton swabs or even fingers. Another option is to let kids create dot art on the computer using drawing programs like Adobe Photoshop or Paint. Select the circular painting tool and let kids make as many virtual pictures as they want.

Tell a Story

One of the original ways the aborigines learnt about their history was through storytelling. A storyteller would often incorporate dot art, as well as song and dance, into the storytelling process. Challenge kids to tell a story through their dot art masterpieces. Let them imagine a fictional story about outback animals. Read them an Australian aboriginal story, and have them recreate a scene from the story with dot art. Or let children tell the story of their own lives or create self portraits using dot art.

Painting With Symbols

Australian aborigines used symbols in their dot paintings to represent various elements of their daily lives, such as animal tracks, campsites, spears, kangaroos, rivers, clouds and even people. Some of the symbols look like what they describe, but many don't. For example, a campsite is represented by a series of concentric dotted circles. Provide kids with a key that illustrates different symbols and explains what they mean. Let kids use the symbols to paint a picture that tells a story. Children will enjoy decoding their pictures for people unfamiliar with the symbols.

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