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 ISSUE 51   •   15 MAY 2008 


1. Editorial
Introduction (by Gwyn)
3. Didgeridoo
4. Body painting

5. Stick echidna
6. Dot art painting
7. Featured subscriber blog

1. Editorial  

I'm very excited to announce that this issue of Kids Craft Weekly is brought to you by Gwyn whose blog My Kid's Art I have long been a fan of. It is the first in a series of newsletters inspired by the arts and crafts of different cultural groups. Gwyn has put together a great selection of crafts that are especially suited to little crafters aged four and under.

Before I hand the glue and paint over to Gwyn I'd like to quickly remind you that there are still two days left to win the book of your choice from my favourites list. All you have to do is
upload a photograph to the brand new Kids Craft Weekly photo pool on Flickr. The pool allows you to join the Kids Craft Weekly group and to post photos of your Kids Craft Weekly endeavours.

I will be selecting the winning photo on May 17 and announcing the winner in the next newsletter.

Happy crafting and I'll see you next time!

Amber Carvan

Buy the Kids Craft Weekly book

2. Introduction (by Gwyn)

I have always thought that learning about the art and craft of other peoples is a wonderful way to encourage cross cultural understanding in children.

As Australians it is obviously important for my children to understand the culture of Indigenous Australians, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. To this end we had an Indigenous Australian themed week recently – we themed our books, music, art and craft, and food.

I understand that there is a lot of international interest in Indigenous Australian art – particularly dot art painting – so here are some ideas for sharing with your children.
3. Didgeridoo

The didgeridoo is a wooden wind instrument played by Indigenous Australians during ceremonies called Corroborees. Didgeridoos are over a metre long and meant to be made from a tree branch hollowed out by termites. If you can’t find one of those, you can still make a great didgeridoo for kids using a cardboard roll!
You will need
• cardboard roll
• coloured electrical or other sticky tape
• circular dot stickers
1. Decorate your cardboard roll with your choice of electrical tape and sticker dots.

2. Once decorated, try playing your didgeridoo by blowing into it with loose, vibrating lips and occasionally making animal sounds whilst doing so! 

4. Body painting

Indigenous Australians hold Corroborees to communicate spiritual stories, traditions and tribal law. When preparing for a Corroboree, participants paint their bodies with ochres to assist with the storytelling. Corroborees involve a lot of music, singing and dancing – you can have a lot of fun if you hold your own!
You will need
• face or other non toxic body paint
1. Decorate your body with handprints and stripes in earth coloured paints if you can find them (we couldn’t).

2. Corroboree stories are often about Australian animals (insert link) so once you are decorated you could try dancing like one.

5. Stick echidna

The echidna is a unique animal from our part of the world – it is a monotreme which is a mammal that lays eggs. Echidna’s are covered in hundreds of spiky spines, have a beak, a sticky tongue for catching ants, their babies are called puggles, and they feature in the art and stories of Indigenous Australians.

This project was inspired by a reading of Kootear the Echidna.
You will need
• brownish playdoh (mix a few colours together like the kids do or add a touch of black food colouring to orange playdoh) or clay
• long thin rock
• lots of sticks about pencil length (or paddlepop sticks)
1. Roll the playdoh/clay into a large ball and squidge it down onto the rock nose.

2. Stick lots of sticks into it to cover the body in spikes.

6. Dot art painting

Indigenous Australian artists are most famous for dot art painting. Traditionally these paintings were earthy in colour, used an aerial perspective as if looking down onto something, and were laden with symbols made from different combinations of lines, dots and circles. Before you start you might want to find out about the meanings of some original symbols, otherwise make up your own symbols for your family, animals, and places you go.

If you're inspired by the dot painting, check out My First Dreamtime Colouring Book – great for young kids.
You will need
• canvas, cardboard or paper to paint on
• ochre/earthy coloured paints
• kitchen sponges
• elastic bands
• toilet roll
• something to paint dots with – a small circular art sponge, an ear bud, the blunt end of a pencil etc
1. Create some horseshoe and spiral sponges by rolling the sponges up and securing them with elastic bands, or wrapping them around a toilet roll and securing them the same way.

2. Let your children paint first with a couple of darker colours and the larger sponge symbols.

3. Then either let the painting dry and come back later, or provide your children with some lighter earthy coloured paints and some different size implements to paint dots with.

Ed's note: We also tried some dot painting to celebrate National Sorry Day. We had a lot of success painting with cotton buds.

The kids really enjoyed it and it was a great way to talk to them about Indigineous Australians, white settlement and the importance of saying sorry.

If you enjoyed this issue of Kids Craft Weekly make sure you go and check out Gwyn's wonderful blog – My Kid's Art

Buy the Kids Craft Weekly book

7. Featured subscriber blog

Arts Rocket – Arts in Australia and beyond for kids of all ages.

To have your blog featured in this section just send in your web address and I'll add you to the list. But be warned, the waiting list is currently very long. 


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