Make an Aboriginal Dream Painting

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Aboriginal artists from Australia often create paintings about their dreams. Using a limited color palette, they dot paint in patterns to create pictures of animals, trees, landscapes and people. Your child can dot together her own Aboriginal dream paintings to tell a story!
natural paint rock art

Materials Needed:

  • Wooden stick, wooden end of a paintbrush or Q-tips
  • Newspaper
  • Tempera paint (red, brown, white, yellow, black)
  • Brown construction paper (11” x 17”)
  • paper plates for paint

salt dough hand prints


  1. Pour out paint into separate plates or small dabs of paint into one plate if your child won’t mix colors.
  2. Talk about silly dreams you’ve had and see who’s had the silliest! Ask your child about what things she sees in her dreams. These could be animals, plants, people, objects or even colors!
  3. Show your child how to dip the end of his/her q-tip or wooden stick into the paint and dab it onto the paper by using dots and encourage her to begin creating shapes of animals, people, patterns and landscapes by dotting the outline of them onto the brown paper. If your child is too young to come up with the outline of the desired shape themselves help them by drawing it in pencil so they can follow the outline pre-made with their paint dots. (You can of course always just use Do-a-Dots if it’s easier for your child or if fine motor skills is a bit of an issue.)
  4. Have her fill in the shape outline to make the figure complete. Get creative with various colors but make sure to space the dots out just a touch so that it doesn’t all mix together!
  5. Allow your dot painting to dry completely and hang over your child’s bed!
DID YOU KNOW?!: Aboriginal painting is one of the oldest art forms in the world! Traditionally Aboriginal painters use natural pigments from crushed seeds and plants, though many modern artists now use acrylic paint also.
You can tell which region an Aboriginal painter is from by the color palettes they use. If your children are older try creating your OWN paint from vegetables, seeds, plants, etc. and come up with a true Aboriginal artwork! This is really fun for kids to paint onto their clubhouse or driveway!


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