Aboriginal art is a traditional art that uses line, shape and color to tell stories and express emotions. Creating aboriginal art with students is an educational way to learn about aboriginal stories and traditions along with learning about art concepts such as pattern and design. Aboriginal art projects can be accomplished in the classrooms with basic materials.

Looking at Aboriginal Art

Start by gathering images of Aboriginal art and posting them around the classroom (see references). Get out materials for the activity, such as black and brown construction paper; red, yellow, green, black, white and blue tempera paint; paint brushes and cotton swabs and position them in an easily accessible area for students to use.

Have students look at traditional Aboriginal artwork and notice how it uses line, color and pattern. Aboriginal art was created on the walls of caves and on rocks. Tell students they will create their own unique Aboriginal art with a piece of construction paper, using their hand as a focus point.

Aboriginal Handprint

Allow each student to select a color of construction paper and a palette of colors. Have students place one hand on their paper and trace around it using their color of choice and a cotton swab.

Ask the students to use the cotton swabs and paints to create dots of color inside and outside of their hands in a pattern to create a finished design.

Aboriginal Rock Paperweight

Take students outside and have them find a medium sized rock to use for the final part of the lesson. Paint the rocks black using black tempera paint and brushes. Allow the rocks to dry. Using a cotton swab, paint colored dots on the rock in an Aboriginal inspired design.

When the rocks are dry, they can be taken home and used as paperweights. Display the Aboriginal handprints around the classroom alongside the Aboriginal art for visitors to the classroom to see.

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