Telling stories with patterns

For ages 5 – 8 years

In Tasmanian Aboriginal culture, people use patterns to tell stories. This is a really interesting idea that children get very excited about. They will learn that patterns can tell stories and then create a patterned necklace that tells their own story.

 What do I need?

  • Objects that you can thread – this might be recycled or natural materials such as shells, beads, pasta – just about anything small with a hole in it!
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Access to the internet

How do I do it?

  1. Start by watching the videos below about Tasmanian Aboriginal women who make shell necklaces. Hear them talk about the beautiful patterns they create, and what the patterns mean. (There are more videos in the Shell Stringing series if you and your child enjoy these.)
  2. Now, it’s time to make a necklace. Ask your child to think about a story they would like to tell through creating a pattern. It could be about anything – a person or group of people, a place, a pet, a memory, an event…
  3. Help your child to start making their necklace. Ask them about the story the pattern is telling.
  4. Once they have finished, tie the ends together.

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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