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Hands On GeographyWe have started introducing our daughter to different cultures since she was about 3 years old. Over years, we read about many different countries trying to encourage daughter to pick a country of her choice when she got older. We also tried to pair up a book with a cooking, craft, or science activity that would make Smarty’s view of the country more “hands on”. You are welcome to check out other posts in Hands-On-Geography series:
Books About Australia
Ready to Dream by Donna Jo Napoli is appropriate for preschool age, but scales well to elementary school children and could be done with middle school students exploring different art styles. Illustrations by Bronwyn Bancroft are amazing, and she uses native aboriginal style throughout an entire book. The story is about a young girl coming to Australia with her Mom, befriending a local aboriginal artist and learning a new way to draw and to dream. This book gives a great introduction to Australian animals and landscape. For older readers and for read-alouds I highly recommend Stories from the Billabong by James Marshall – this book beautifully retells ten ancient aboriginal myths .
Look at the Map
I am trying not to overwhelm daughter by details, but we do look at the maps during our geography studies to learn a little bit about the country and about map reading at the same time. Smarty knows that Australia is the only country that takes up the whole (smallest) continent, and she learned about two famous landmarks – Urulu (also known as Ayer’s Rock) and Sydney Opera House.
Rock Painting in Aboriginal StyleSince we learned about the aborigines and their art style, we chose to paint rocks as our hands-on Australia project. I didn’t want to “make” Smarty paint in that style – I was hoping to lead by example. Alas – Smarty was very enthusiastic about painting on rocks, but in her own style. She made “a beautiful stripe pinky butterfly family who leaves in a butterfly palace” instead.
Another canvas in Ready to Dream book was forearms. Smarty went for her hands instead and painted them “beautiful and powerful brown”. It’s funny how quickly she went from carefully wiping her hands on the napkin when even a drop of paint fell on them to this. Luckily, it was a washable poster paint.
More Activities for Australia
- Australia Lapbook from my blog
- Australian Animals (with a printable game)
- Aboriginal Face Painting from The Crafty Classroom
- Aboriginal Lapbook from A Moment in Our World
- Make a didgeridoo from Daria Music
- Cooking Australian Food with kids from The Glittering Muffins