On 26 January we celebrate Australia Day. The following provides a list of activities and free printables that can be implemented into the curriculum for children.
About Australia Day
The date of 26 January 1788 marks the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. Records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818.
For Aboriginal Australians, who had occupied the land for over 50,000 years prior to the arrival of the British, Australia Day is a day of mourning. Many non-Indigenous Australians feel the same way, which means you may hear the terms ‘Invasion Day’, ‘Survival Day’ or ‘Day of Mourning’ used instead. As a result, the Invasion Day date is also 26 January. Many fly the Australian Aboriginal flag at half-mast and wear black clothing to protests and remembrances as a symbolic demonstration of mourning.
The date 26 January is extremely controversial because it marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of European ships on Australian shores. It was then that the colonisation of the country began, bringing massacres, oppression of Indigenous communities, theft of land and, more recently, the Stolen Generations of the early to the mid-20th century. These generations of Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families as a result of government policies.
As such, there have been calls for Australia Day to be moved to a date that unites all of its people instead of continuing the divide.
How your service approaches Australia Day requires discussion, reflection, and insight.
For some services, it could be the decision to not take part in Australia Day celebrations on 26 January and choose another date instead.
For other services, it could be continuing with Australia Day celebrations on the 26 January and also include showing respect for Aboriginal Australian culture as well.
Activity Ideas For Children
Australian Animal Information Posters - The Australian Animal Information Posters enable children to recognise and name Australia's most famous animals. There is also a brief description of each animal that can be read to children to provide them with knowledge about each Australian animal.
Australian Food Posters - The Australian Food Posters show pictures of foods that are found throughout Australia and are typical of Australian culture. These are great to use as a display and to share with children.
Australian Animals Flashcards - Enables children to recognise Australia's most common animals. Many Australian animals are endemic to the country - meaning that they are only found in Australia. The following flashcards will help children to learn the names of famous Australian animals.
Nature Bracelets - Collect and gather natural materials from the local environment and use them to create and decorate this bracelet.
Home Among The Gum Trees - This Australian song with actions, it's about a man who loves and is proud of his home, the country he lives in and the relaxed lifestyle of Australia. It also has a set of mime actions accompanying the chorus.
Australian Animal Track Prints - With this activity, children will learn to "track" the footprints of different Australian animals.
Track That Animal - This is a simple and fun activity for children to track Australian animals.
Australian Animals Tracing Words - Children will enjoy identifying and learning the names of the animal in the picture and tracing over each letter to write its name. A great school readiness activity for preschoolers to practice their writing skills and learn new vocabulary!
Australian Animal Colouring Pages - The Australian Animal Colouring Pages enable children to recognise and name common Australian animals. These colouring pages can be used as part of an art and craft experience where children can paint, colour, and collage each Aussie animal.
Celebrating Australia Day Respectfully In Early Childhood Services - The following provides strategies for Respectfully Celebrating Australia Day within your service.
Australia Day Picnic - The Australia Day Picnic Template is used to describe the events that took place at the centre to celebrate Australia Day.
Australia Day Flag - The Australian Day Flag template is a portfolio template used for Australia Day celebrations. -
Australia Day - This template can be used as a memento for Australia Day celebrations.