National NAIDOC Week: 5 NAIDOC-Inspired Play Ideas — Oskar's Wooden Ark Skip to content
Grimm's Building Set Stairway launch - Monday, 22nd - 9.30 AM Adelaide time
Grimm's Building Set Stairway launch - Monday, 22nd - 9.30 AM

Activity 1: Recreate the Australian Aboriginal Flag

Introducing children to flags is a great way to expand on their cultural and geographical knowledge. Knowing different flags helps children identify their own country and other countries around the world. Children see flags around them in their everyday lives; at schools, on buildings or in other prominent places - this is a good time to discuss the colours of the flag and their significant meanings.

The Australian Aboriginal flag is a coloured rectangle divided in half horizontally. The top half of the flag is black to symbolise Indigenous Peoples of Australia. The red in the lower half symbolises the Earth (and the colour of ochre - which has ceremonial significance). The yellow circle in the centre of the flag represents the sun - the protector and giver of life. Let’s recreate the Australian Aboriginal Flag using your favourite OWA wooden toys!

Activity 1: Recreate the Australian Flag - What to do...

What to do...

Step 1: Have your child study the visual prompt of the flag. We looked up the Australian Aboriginal flag on the internet as a reference and discussed the meanings of the colours.

Step 2: Invite your child to recreate the Aboriginal Australian flag using the materials you have available.

Step 3: Explore other ways to create the flag using nature loose parts and any other toys you have at home.

Ideas for Extension: What other flags is your child familiar with? Invite them to create some other flags that they know, or find other visual prompts for them to recreate.

Activity 2: Create a First Nations Australians Symbols Mural

Symbols are very important to First Nations Australians because they don’t have their own written language. The use of many common symbols is used for cultural storytelling, messages and teachings. Symbols are also used in their art to preserve their cultures and traditions. Let’s learn more about First Nations Australians symbols and their meanings by creating a loose parts mural!

You will need...

Activity 2: Create a First Nations Australians Symbol Mural - You will need...
Activity 2: Create a First Nations Australians Symbol Mural - What to do...

What to do...

Preparation: Generate a visual prompt. We chose to make flashcards of First Nations Australians symbols. Alternatively, you could print some images from the internet. Depending on your child's age, you may like to choose between 5-10 symbols to focus on at a time.

Step 1: Using your visual prompt, invite your child to look at and discuss the meanings of the First Nations Australians symbols.

Step 2: Draw a symbol on A4 pieces of paper and invite your child to place the Grapat Loose Parts along the lines of each symbol.

Step 3: Once your child is familiar with some of the symbols, invite them to create a First Nations Australians symbols mural using their Grapat Loose Parts. Use a large piece of craft paper and draw First Nations Australians symbols across the paper. You may even like to tell a story through the symbols you have chosen to use. Older children might like to have a go at drawing the symbols themselves.

Step 4: Invite your child to place Grapat Loose Parts (we also included nature loose parts) along the lines of each symbol until your whole mural is complete. What stories can your child tell you about their creation?

Ideas for Extension: What other cultures or countries do you know of that use symbols as their written language? You might like to do some further research on this. Can you create other symbols using Grapat Loose Parts?

Activity 3: Make Bush Tucker

First Nations Australians have been surviving on ‘bush tucker’ foods provided by the land for thousands of years. First Nations Australians are hunters and gatherers - men hunt wildlife to provide meat, and women (with some help from their children) are primarily the gatherers; gathering fruits, seeds and insects for their daily meals.

One of the most well-known traditional foods or bush tucker, is the witchetty grub. The witchetty grub is a large, white, wood-eating larva of several species of moths. Witchetty grubs are seen as a delicacy and can be eaten ‘as is’ or very quickly cooked in the coals of a fire.

Another popular bush tucker food is the honey ant. Just as its name suggests; honey ants have a sac on their back that is full of pure, natural, sweet honey. The honey is sucked from the ant’s abdomen, taking care not to hurt the ant (whilst not getting bitten too), allowing the ants to continue making more honey. Let’s make some bush tucker that will be a great inclusion to add some cultural diversity into your child’s play kitchen!

You will need...

Activity 3: Make Bush Tucker - You will need...
Activity 3: Make Bush Tucker - What to do...

What to do...

Activity 4: Create a Rainbow Serpent

The Rainbow Serpent has many different names and appearances across the many First Nations language groups of Australia. In all those groups, the Rainbow Serpent is part of the Dreaming and Creation stories, representing one of the great and powerful forces of nature and spirit. Connected to water, the Rainbow Serpent is the great life giver, and protector of water, as well as the cycle of the seasons. Rainbows are believed to be the serpent snaking from one waterhole to another, replenishing waterholes around the Country. So next time you see a rainbow in the sky, you’ll know it’s the Rainbow Serpent passing by. Let’s create a Rainbow Serpent that you can incorporate into bookish play and small world play!

You will need...

Activity 4: Create a Rainbow Serpent - You will need...
Activity 4: Create a Rainbow Serpent - What to do...

What to do..

Preparation: Read the story of the Rainbow Serpent.

Step 1: Start with a small piece of DAS Modelling Clay and either roll it or mould it into the shape of a snake. Tip: If the clay becomes dry and cracks, use some water on your fingertips to smooth it out.

Step 2: Using nature loose parts, create patterns or symbols along your Rainbow Serpent. We simply used a twig and a gumnut to create our patterns. Allow your clay to dry for at least 24 hours.

Step 3: When your clay is dry, you can paint it with Stockmar Watercolour Paints before allowing it to dry.

Step 4: Paint your Rainbow Serpent a couple of times with Mod Podge to seal the paint. Once your Rainbow Serpent is dry, it is then ready for play! We took our Rainbow Serpent outside for some small world imaginative play.

Ideas for Extension: Do you know any other Dreamtime or Creation stories? Read and learn about some of Australia's native animals and how they were created. Then have a go at creating them with DAS Modelling Clay.

Activity 5: Create a First Nations Australians Nature-Inspired Artwork 

You will need...

Activity 5: Create a First Nations Australians Nature-Inspired Artwork - You will need...
Activity 5: Create a First Nations Australians Nature-Inspired Artwork - What to do...

What to do...

Preparation: Go for a walk around your local area and collect some natural treasures (nature loose parts).

Step 1: Trace around your child’s hand onto a piece of recycled cardboard and cut it out. Place the cardboard hand cut out on the paper where you’d like it to be, using Blu-Tac or sticky tape to hold it in place. Tip: We used sticky tape along the edges of the paper to hold it in place.

Step 2: Warm up some Stockmar Modelling Beeswax in your hands and invite your child to create some First Nations Australians symbols to include in their artwork. They might have some kangaroo tracks moving across their paper, stars, or perhaps even a meeting place. Place the modelling beeswax symbols onto the paper. The modelling beeswax will resist the watercolour paints, leaving white symbols on your artwork. Allow the modelling beeswax to harden.

Step 3: Use Stockmar Watercolour Paints to paint over the modelling beeswax symbols, covering the whole background of the paper. We used the colours of the Australian Aboriginal Flag.

Step 4: Invite your child to get creative and explore using the nature loose parts to add texture to their artwork by placing white paint onto various natural products and then stamping them onto their artwork. Allow to dry.

Step 5: Peel off the modelling beeswax to reveal your symbols. Tip: Lightly rinse the modelling beeswax with water to remove the paint and allow to dry. Your modelling beeswax will be suitable for reuse.

Step 6: Your child may like to add some more texture with the nature loose parts as the final step to their artwork. We did some leaf prints. Allow to dry. Hang your child’s painting up in a special place at home, adding some cultural diversity into your home and a special artwork to treasure for many years to come.