Australian Aborigines Mini Unit: Introduction – Resources and Dress Up

Australian-aborigines-unit-study-hands on-activities

Who are the Aborigines?

Aborigines describe the people indigenous to Australia.  The Aborigines were thought to have migrated from Asia some 30000 years ago, making them the oldest continuous living culture on earth.

A very spiritual race, their oneness with the land is of huge importance.  From canyons to rocks, beaches to rivers and sun to moon, they all have their own creation stories.  This close relationship between humans and the land is the crux of the very heart of the Aborigines.

Where in the world do they live?

We pulled out our huge map we made and found Australia:

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The Aboriginal Flag and its Significance

I really enjoyed learning about the Aborigines flag and the meanings behind the colours and shapes used.  We used felt and a hot glue gun to create our own flag:


We learnt that the black represents the Aboriginal people of Australia, the red represent the red soil, the red ochre and the spiritual relationship of the Aboriginal people with their land and the yellow represents the life-giving and protective sun.

Resources we used throughout this study

This was to be a fairly short unit, maybe a term or so long.  The resources reflect this.  We used the following two books, Australia ABCs: A Book about the People and Places of Australia (Country ABCs)
and Australia (Seven Continents), probably more geared towards the younger set but useful nonetheless for the older ones as well:

Australia-unit study-resource-book

I read these to the younger two, whilst the older ones read it for themselves.

Stories from the Billabong was probably the book we used the most.  I love reading myths from each nation we study.  Myths get to the heart of a people, I think, and reflect clearly the priorities of those people.


I read a story out each day during our morning meeting.  All five children enjoyed the mythical stories.  I also had A7 narrate back to me what she remembered a bit later on the day.  She loves anything to do with nature and really retained these stories well.

The Songlines (Vintage Classics) written by Chatwin, is one of the few books I could find written about the Aboriginals by a person who had traveled alongside the Aborigines.  It was primary evidence, a first person account of Chatwin’s explorations of the ancient songlines (invisible pathways criss-crossing Australia, connecting communities).  I read a chapter from Songlines each day.  We haven’t finished it yet.  When we do, I will write a review:

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The final read was for the older children to read to themselves, although I ended up also reading it to the littles:

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Red Sand, Blue Sky (Girls First!) is an adventure story about a girl from Melbourne who meets and befriends and Aboriginal girl.  Much is learnt about the Aboriginal culture as the two girls take on a rescue mission to expose the person who is robbing a sacred Aboriginal site.

Dress Up

Even if do say so myself, I was very creative when I made this dress up out of some packaging material which came with a refrigerator part I ordered.Australian-aborigines-dress up-activity 1

I gathered enough of the partly shredded packaging, cutting it all to the same length.

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I weaved a ribbon through the top of all the pieces:

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I think each skirt was made of three different pieces, which I then used double sided sticky tabs to attached them all together:

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The ribbon could then be tied to fit the waist:

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I was quite pleased with the final skirt, especially as it cost me absolutely nothing to make:

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The littles and I played about with some faces paints.  They chose the design they wanted and I painted it on:


How cute are they?

L was in charge of making aboriginal jewelry.  She researched, wrote a paper on it and finally made some:


The jewelry was made from beans, seeds, wood, paper, card and pastels:


Here are our little Aborigines wearing them:

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And a picture showing their skirts as well:

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This was a great start to our studies, and probably the first time I had attempted a unit study with all five children.  This proved way easier than I thought it would be 🙂

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  1. Really love this. We are studying Australia right now(using Around the World in 180 days). Was looking for something to liven the study up a bit. Thanks!

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