We enjoy celebrating Australia day every year. We have our Aussie song list ready to go on the iPod so we’ll be up bright and early tomorrow decorating the house, while singing our hearts out to some of our favourite songs such as Waltzing Matilda, True Blue and I Still Call Australia Home to name a few. We always have a family barbeque and there isn’t an Australia Day that goes by without some Anzac bikkies, lamingtons and a piece of pav.

Thought I’d take a trip down Australia Day memory lane and share some of the arts, crafts and games our family has done in the past.

Over the years we have been adding to our collection of Australian themed stories, poems and purchasing books that feature artworks by Indigenous artists. My children enjoy Campfire Dreaming by Leesa Smith and Illustrated by Debbie Taylor as well as Possum and Wattle, My Big Book of Australian Words by Bronwyn Bancroft, a famous Bundjalung woman artist.

Through reading our books my children learnt that Aboriginal artists used dot paintings to tell stories. They are very symbolic and were traditionally done on cave walls, rocks and bark. We were inspired by such artworks to create some of our own dot paintings on our boulder wall in the backyard.

I painted some very basic outlines on the boulders (a snake, boomerang and lizard) so that my children could use their fingers, knuckles, stones and natural resources to paint dots into these patterns.

My children were also fascinated by splatter painting (we did not do this in the traditional way where the paint is blown out of the painters mouth). Instead we opted for a spray bottle and used very watered down paint. We used our hands as well as some leaves to do some “splatter painting” to leave the impressions on the boulder wall.

Another activity that children could do that involves paint would be decorating some cardboard tubes and transforming them into patriotic napkin rings.

To make these napkin rings: paint the cardboard tube (or use pens, or coloured paper to add add colour) and add some Aussie stickers, or create your own piece of Aussie goodness to add. My children loved applying glue to  some cardboard cut out maps of Australia and then throwing them into a sealed bag of gold glitter, a few shakes later we had a sparkly gold map of Australia. We added ribbon to our napkin rings to finish.

How about a game of pin the fly on the swagman’s nose or pin the billy can on the swagman’s hand.

Then there’s always a game of swat that fly. Tie some  plastic flies to the end of a piece of wool, suspend them and you are ready for a game of fly swatting.

What about some Aussie themed board games? Create a game of Aussie themed bingo and substitute “noughts” and “crosses” for koalas and kangaroos. I wrote about these Aussie game boards in a blog post  titled Recycling Calendars for Creative Play- Part 2 which can be found here.

Chances are I’ll finish the day with a cuppa and an Anzac bikkie.

Happy Australia Day to you!