Australian Aboriginal Dot Painting for Children and Art Resources

Australian cultural heritage that is passed on for thousands of years by its Indigenous people is very authentic, deeply rooted, and represents all the beauty and tranquillity that nature so generously provides. I found that there is a lot for children to learn about Visual Art through the world of Aboriginal art.

It does not just represent a form of self-expression. Indigenous art is also a response to the world that conveys meaning and has a spiritual purpose.

Even decorative designs found on objects such as shields, boomerangs and baskets may represent symbols relating to the spiritual or dream world and illustrate relationships with nature.

One of the prevalent Aboriginal Visual Art techniques among children is dot painting. We were very excited to try it. Doing visual art with children is fantastic for their fine motor, especially this one. A used cotton tips for dipping into the paint and making patterns with dots.

Indigenous people use colours associated with the earth, including brown, umber, brick red, terracotta, yellow ochre, warm grey, burnt sienna, tan, and shades of green such as moss. We used colours that are very close to colours mentioned above.

Inspired by a gorgeous book with Aboriginal paintings  “Why I love Australia” my daughter did her dot painting.

Here is what we did:

– Read a book with Aboriginal pictures paying attention to beautiful pictures of art and their meaning

– A thought about the picture she would like to draw

– Prepared cards board with colour that suited the theme the best

– Cut out curvy lines to make the picture more interesting

– Used cotton tips to paint pictures with dots

– Gave it a name

It was lots of fun and a great learning experience for my 3-year-old preschooler.

We often revisit activities that are inspired by Indigenous Art and culture with my children, especially when we talk about Australia and its cultural heritage. We have conversations about the land where we live in the context of its original custodians who lived in harmony with nature. We look at their way of living that was and is so intricately connected to nature, the landscape, the flora and the fauna of Australia.

Aboriginal Art
Aboriginal puzzle

There are vast resources for teaching and encouraging the discovery of Indigenous Visual Art of Australia. This is an excellent lesson on teaching children to do dot-art.

Here you will find gorgeous Australian & Indigenous wooden puzzles.

Here you will find fabulous Aboriginal Colouring Pages. 

Read more about the techniques and colours of Aboriginal Art here

Aboriginal Art Slide Show

Kid Books with Indigenous Art:“Why I Love Australia”

My First Dreamtime Dot Art Colouring-in Book“: Book 2 and Book 3

“Aboriginal Art of Australia”

“Possum and Wattle”

“Ready to Dream”

Linked with Montessori Monday and Learn and Play

  About Anastasia. Anastasia is the founder of Montessori Nature, a blog about Montessori - inspired and Nature-based explorations. She taught in a Montessori setting for 10 years and has been practicing the Montessori way of learning and living for the last 19 years. She loves designing engaging educational printables for children. Learn more here. 

5 thoughts on “Australian Aboriginal Dot Painting for Children and Art Resources”

  1. Beside the obvious dots that indigenous Australians use in their painting, it is the method of story telling which is the main purpose of the painting. They have a clear ‘symbol key’ to show features of the painting that relate to water and watering holes, animal prints, men and women for example which are clearly visible when you can identify the symbols. I think this has to go hand in hand when you are teaching ‘Aboriginal dot painting’. Its definitely not about just putting pretty patterns in dots on a page. You can easily google ‘meanings of aboriginal dot paintings’ and will get thousands of useful entries, including handouts for kids that clearly show what the aboriginal symbols represent. It has to be taught in context otherwise their is nothing Aboriginal Australian about it which is a shame and probably insulting if you are an indigenous Australian.

  2. i think your ideas are wonderfull but i am an aboriginal from tasmania and we dont use dots can you help my email address is auntie dawnb @g mail .coma

  3. Carole Farrington

    Dot Painting was first done in the 1970’s by a school teacher and some of the aboriginal communities took it on as part of their Australia art, but to some it is just dot painting and nothing to do with the aboriginal culture at all.

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