Aboriginal Dreamtime Symbols

Aboriginal Dreamtime Symbols lesson plan

Create your own dreamtime symbols in the style of modern Aboriginal culture.

  • 1.

    Aboriginal art is very important in native Australian culture. Everyone is considered an artist! Aboriginal religious practices are very much linked to nature. People concentrate hard on their surroundings (kind of like meditation) and ideas come to them. This experience is very much like dreaming when we sleep. All Aboriginal art is based on how different parts of nature relate to each other.

  • 2.

    Learn more about Australia, its native peoples, and their art. Locate the country on a world map. Find pictures of animals that are common on that continent, such as kangaroos, lizards, and birds. Sketch simple outlines of them with Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils. Erase until you are satisfied with at least one.

  • 3.

    Draw your favorite Australian animal on Crayola Color Explosion Paper with Color Explosion Markers. Very bright colors are common in Aboriginal art, so it is easy to make your work look as authentic as possible.

  • 4.

    Aboriginal art is decorated with meaningful designs (symbols). For example, a squiggly line could be a snake, concentric circles usually represent a camp/village, straight lines mean a road/traveling, and dots (which are very popular in modern Aboriginal art) can represent animal tracks. Add designs that relate to your animal. Invent symbols if you like. Fill your picture with striking patterns and designs.


  • Students locate Australia on a world map and find pictures of common animals that live on the continent.
  • Students identify common symbols in examples of Aboriginal art.
  • Students add their own symbolic meaning to designs they incorporate in their pictures of Australian creatures.


  • Research current Aboriginal symbols and find how they are used in contemporary art.
  • Identify other cultures and religious traditions that base their artwork on images of nature and animals.
  • Write a story based on your Aboriginal artwork. Explain how the symbols of nature relate.
  • Assessment: Students draw an animal that lives in Australia and fill their drawing with replicas of Aboriginal symbols.