Sand stories

For ages 3 – 8 years

Aboriginal people put a lot of value on storytelling. This activity introduces your child to Tasmanian Aboriginal symbols. It will also let them use their imagination to create their own stories.

This is both a lot of fun and an exciting way to explore different cultures. It encourages children to build on their language and talking skills.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Symbols

Symbol for campsite / waterhole
Campsite / waterhole
Symbol for person sitting
Person sitting
Symbol for emu
Emu
Symbol for river
River
Symbol for kangaroo
Kangaroo
Symbol for snake
Snake

What do I need?

  • A bucketful of sand or go to the beach
  • A stick

 How do I do it?

  1. Show your child the Tasmanian Aboriginal symbols in the image above and talk about what they mean.
  2. Tell them that Tasmanian Aboriginal people use symbols to tell stories. The symbols are a way to write down stories of their culture, and to teach survival and the use of Country.
  3. Smooth your sand to make a flat surface. Show your child how to draw the symbols in the sand and encourage them to tell a story about them.  
  4. Now it’s their turn to create their own symbols. Ask them what their symbols mean and the stories they tell.
  5. Now your child can search for other natural objects to add to their stories. For example, feathers could symbolise birds, rocks can be hills, leaves can be trees, etc.

No-one knows your child better than you.  So, choose and/or adapt ideas here to best suit you and your child. Remember it’s the talking and time spent together that matters most.

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