We get it, it went from 0 to 100 real quick. One minute you're working from home and now you're juggling teaching from home. Firstly, hats off to you, secondly, these resources will help keep your joey's boredom at bay while teaching them a thing or two about the land Down Under ;) As Aussies across the United States we love seeing youngsters eager to learn all things about Australia, so don't forget to DM or tag us in your pics :)
From paper plate Sydney Harbour craft to cockatoo pencil tins, this "art class from home" has an Australiana spin!
- (For the junior joeys) Aussie scented sensory play with green and gold rice: Use this sensory play to teach your child about colours (green and gold) and eucalyptus. Not only do eucalyptus drops give this rice a fresh earthy scent but it's a great way to talk about the tree being the diet of our adorable koala friends!
- Paper plate Sydney Harbour Bridge Craft: A great way for kids to learn about one of Australia’s most iconic structures, using everyday items you’ll probably already have from your backyard BBQ.
- Paper plate koala and joey craft: Cute koala craft for kids, complete with a baby joey that fits in the mother’s pouch! Fun way to teach kids about this unique Aussie animal.
- Kangaroo puppet play set: Free printable Mother and Joey kangaroo puppet set - print in colour or colour your own.
- Egg carton sugar glider craft: A fun way to upcycle an ordinary old egg carton into a DIY toy Australian animal.
- Bluey crafts: Create paper ears hats for Bluey, Bingo, Chloe, Coco, Lucky and Mackenzie or play a Bluey memory game. All free thanks to ABC Kids!
- Cockatoo Pencil Tins: Jazz up your 'school from home' desk and be the envy of your...siblings? parents? zoom classmates with a beautiful native Australian bird pencil tin.
- Paper snake craft: This paper chain snake craft is based on two exotic-looking species of python which live in Australia’s tropical Daintree Rainforest. The yellow patterned snake is a Jungle Carpet python, and the green spotted snake is a beautiful Green Tree python.
- Koala Bear sewing pattern: A simple koala and joey sewing pattern you and your kids will have fun sewing.
- Make an animal grass head: Pro tip - make the echidna ;)
- Learn to weave! Tjanpi Desert Weavers created a weaving tutorial video with a downloadable step-by-step instruction sheet fun for adults and kids.
- Swap out the screen time for some 'Australia-gami' fun with paper. Origami is a very simple at home activity and is fun for the whole family. Get started by crafting yourself a Koala, Kangaroo, Shark, Emu, Butterfly, Sea turtle, Bird, or Fish with easy to follow YouTube tutorials. After you successfully master the art of Origami Australian-style, make sure to post on social media and tag @ausintheus so we can see your skills! All you need to get started is origami paper, which can be purchased on Amazon or you can make your own by following this step-by-step guide. The benefit to making your own = choose your own patterns and colours (pro tip: you could use Aussie colours!).
Let's face it, colouring in is an activity that is enjoyed by all kids (young and old). Not only does it help us older "kids" relax but it sparks the imagination and gives both us old and young an opportunity to express ourselves. Here are a few of our favourite Aussie themed colouring sheets, free to download and print:
- Bluey colouring pages: Free printable Bluey colouring pages for kids of all ages.
- Bush Heritage Australia's volunteers have produced these colouring sheets of native animals to inspire and occupy young conservationists. Each colouring page features species they protect on one of their nature reserves – a good way to introduce different animals and where they live
- Brisbane Kid's have also produced Australian animal colouring pages. These ones are great for younger ages as they're simplified so they can be used with paint, texta or pencil
- Get your dose of art therapy with this all-ages colouring book, Colouring Country, based on Australian Indigenous artworks from the Balarinji Art & Design Archive. Each artwork has a description of its story and cultural context from the Dreamtime.
- WIRES has some great kid's activity sheets you can download and print. WIRES is dedicated to wildlife education and knows that the future preservation and protection of Australia wildlife will be in the hands of our children.
A world of experiences (and learning) at home!
From activities, games and quizzes to animal cams and virutal museum tours, these educational resources will support your child's education in all things Australia.
- The National Museum of Australia not only has virtual tours but also offers free, curriculum-linked classroom resources to bring the stories behind the objects in their collection to life, for students and teachers (or working from home mums and dads!).
- Take an online tour of history, culture, science and nature through the Melbourne Museum at Home program.
- Discover the sacred space of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park virtually guided by the traditional owners of the land.
- Queensland Museum network at Home have a whole list of free activities to keep the boredom at bay while your kids are at home. Whether your kids are interested in animals, archaeology, palaeontology, marine biology, trains, rocks and minerals, forces, space, gases or other science related topics there’s something for everyone.
- Classic Kids: Classic Kids is a podcast series designed to introduce classical music to little ones. With two distinct seasons Sounds Like Australia, narrated by ABC Play School's Luke Carrol and Music for The Dreaming, narrated by ABC Bushwacked's Kamil Ellis, Classic Kids focuses on Australian-made music performed by Ensemble Offspring, and gives your kids an opportunity to learn about instrument sounds, develop their musical vocabulary, and explore the importance of listening.
- Children's Meditation: Meditation for Children with a discussion topic and a variety of guided meditations for youths and the entire family from the Meditation Society of Australia
- Thousands (no we aren't exaggerating...) of free curriculum-linked resources for school teachers aka mum and dad and students via Australia's ABC Education. Support your children's education with engaging videos, games, competitions and other fun educational resources. A few of our faves are First Australians, Convicts, Colonists and Gold and Behind The News (a fun, high-energy way for students to learn about current issues and world events).
- ABC Kids Early Education also offers an inspiring range of curriculum-linked ABC programs and podcasts for pre-school aged children.
- And while we're on all things ABC, their Spell Block Academy is a fun game designed to improve spelling and vocabulary (we tried it... can confirm it is fun) and their Gobbling Goblins game improves maths skills.
- Australia’s Science Channel offers a range of informative and thought-provoking science videos, podcasts and articles across topic areas including space, technology, the body, and more. There is also a selection of inspiring letters from leading Australian science experts for students in year 10 and year 12.
- Griffith University offers early reader books based on the Australian Curriculum in science and maths. The interactive e-books and video books have been developed for pre-K to year 3 students. To assist parents during this time of home learning, Griffith University is currently providing free access to these resources.
- UNE Discovery Voyager provides a collection of exciting online STEM resources for curious minds. Explore UNE’s National History Museum, discover interesting science experiments to try at home.
- Cartoon Network Australia has a range of free online games and videos (after you've done all your learning that is ;)
- Visit the zoo from the comfort of your couch:
- Koala Cam (San Diego Zoo)
- Lone Pine Koala Train (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
- Jumping Koala Joey Cam (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
- Koala Cam (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
- Dingo Puppy Cam (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
- Dingo Habitat Cam (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
- Platypus Cam 1 and Platypus Cam 2 (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
- Skink and Dragon Cam (Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary)
- Reef Cam (above water) (Nature Conservancy Australia)
- Spend some time with the animals at Taronga Zoo on Taronga TV. They have 24/7 livestreaming cameras so you can enjoy your favourite animals at any time of day!
Science projects, minus the lab coat! CSIRO's double helix science experiments are not only fun but a great way to also learn a little chemistry, physics and biology. We've picked our favourite experiments with easy to source materials and minimal clean up - parents you can thank us later... ;)
- T-shirt dye - Time to get creative! Make a fashion statement with marker pens and solvents.
- Jelly lens for your smartphone - Have you ever wanted to own a microscope? This jelly lens can turn any phone camera into a magnifying machine!
- Invisible glass - This amazing illusion can make rocks float! Find out more about invisibility by hiding a glass jar in plain sight. Then, use the jar to create a clever illusion, making a rock appear to float mysteriously!
- Potpourri preservation - Have a brother whose room stinks? The answer: potpurri. Learn about the different parts of plants, as well as the science of preservation, by making your own pretty potpourri.
- Vinegar eggs and salty osmosis - Here are two eggsperiments in one! Turn your eggs rubbery by dissolving their shells, and then make one grow and the other shrink with the power of salt water.
- Coronavirus bracelet - Here’s a fun, creative project that will help you explore some of the science around the virus SARS-CoV-2. That’s the virus that causes the disease COVID-19. We’re going to make a bracelet using the genetic sequence of the virus!
Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre, Questacon, ALSO has a whole list of DIY science experiments on their YouTube channel for kids. Specifically designed to support Primary School teachers and guardians inspire curiosity and questioning minds.
While we encourage learning we also support you watching a little Aussie TV! Here's a few of our faves that are available here in the US:
- Bluey - watch in the USA via Disney+
- H2O: Just Add Water - fantasy-family drama [PG] via Netflix
- The InBESTigators - family [Y] via Netflix
- Mako Mermaids - [G] via Netflix
- Magical Land of Oz - nature and culture documentary via PBS
- An Introduction to the Orchestra (Sydney Opera House) via YouTube
Bruce's book club
- (3+ yrs) All Through the Year by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker - each double page spread represents one month of the year, conveying the Australian seasons. Hot January days are spent at the beach; leaves flutter to the ground in March; days are short in June; and daffodils, blossoms and rain appear in September.
- (3+ yrs) Same, But Little Bit Diff’rent by Kylie Dunstan - Told in the stunning collage artwork for which Dunstan is acclaimed, narrated by a child living in a southern city and her friend Normie, who lives in the top end. As they compare notes about their lives, activities and interests, they discover how very much they have in common, despite their contrasting environments.
- (3+ yrs) Kangaroos Hop by Ros Moriarty - Lively Indigenous illustrations and cumulative text help children identify Australian animals in the Australian landscape as well as common verbs. The kangaroos hop, the butterflies fly, and the echidnas shuffle across the land and down to the water's edge where a sleepy crocodile lies. Indigenous art by Balarinji. Also included at the back is the Yanyuwa (Indigenous language of Borroloola, NT) translation of the story.
- (3+ yrs) Splosh for the Billabong by Ros Moriarty - Early childhood concept book reveling in all things messy and sticky, and explores Australian animals and landscapes as well as Indigenous art in a joyous, non-didactic and playful way.
- (3+ yrs) Wombat Stew by Marcia Vaughan - In this classic Australian picture book, a dingo catches a wombat and wants to cook him in a stew. But all the other bush animals have a plan to save their friend. They trick the dingo into using mud, feathers, flies, bugs and gumnuts in his stew, and the result is something the dingo will never forget!
- (4+ yrs) Possum Magic by Mem Fox - Grandma Poss uses her best bush magic to make Hush invisible. But when Hush longs to be able to see herself again, the two possums must make their way across Australia to find the magic food that will make Hush visible once more.
- (4+ yrs) Koala Lou by Mem Fox - When Koala Lou’s mother becomes so busy that she forgets to tell her firstborn how much she loves her, Koala Lou enters the Bush Olympics, intending to win an event and her mother’s love all at one time.
- (4+ yrs) Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French - This entertaining book, with its brief, humorous text and hilarious illustrations, will endear the wombat to young children, who may recognize in the determined furry creature some qualities that they share. Also see its companion non-fiction book: The Secret World of Wombats.
- (4-8 yrs) Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles - Sheena Knowles's upbeat, rhyming text and Rod Clement's expressive illustrations are sure to make readers laugh out loud in this whimsical picture book by the creators of Edwina the Emu
- (4-8 yrs) Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowles - In this sequel to the popular Edward the Emu, Edward and his mate Edwina are the proud parents of ten little emu eggs. "Don't get depressed. I'll find a job, you stay on the nest," says Edwina to her stunned mate. And so Edwina sets out to find a job in this lighthearted offering from down under.
- (4-8 yrs) The Possum Magic Cookbook by Mem Fox - Grandma Poss is up to some of her old bush magic in this delightful cookbook for children and adults. With her band of enthusiastic helpers she makes all of the much-loved Australian delicacies: lamingtons, pavlova, pumpkin scones and Anzac biscuits plus many more.
- (5-9 yrs) Bluey - The Beach [Winner of the 2020 ABIA Book of the Year] A Lift-the-Flap Book by Bluey- Bluey has been a phenomenal success since airing on ABC KIDS in October 2018, amassing legions of dedicated fans and hugely popular ranges of books, toys, clothes, games and more. Join Bluey for a fun day at the beach. What will you discover along the way?
- (5-9 yrs) Bluey - Big Backyard (Colouring Book) by Bluey - Colour Bluey's backyard, the creek, the playground and more in this fun-filled colouring book.
- (5-9 yrs) Bluey - Time to Play (Sticker Book) by Bluey - Have fun with Bluey and Bingo as they play their favourite games! There are stickers to place, puzzles to solve and so much more. A fun-filled sticker activity book for kids of all ages.
- (5-9 yrs) Are We There Yet? By Alison Lestor - Join Grace and her family on their adventurous and sometimes funny expedition. A warm, heartfelt story based on an actual journey undertaken by the much-loved, award-winning author and illustrator, Alison Lester.
- (5+ yrs) Waltzing Matilda by AB Paterson - This ballad of the sheep-stealing swagman is known the world over. Here we are treated not just to the swagman’s story, but to the story of the shearers’ strikes of the time, of the squatter’s family, and of the dangers of outback travel in the nineteenth century.
- (6+ yrs) D is for Down Under: An Australian Alphabet by Devin Scillian - Accompanied by vibrant colorful artwork, this book captures the spirit of Australia and its many treasures, natural and man-made. Visit spectacular Sydney Harbor, try your hand as a jackaroo working a sheep station, or just sit back and enjoy a Vegemite sandwich. Below the starry night glitter of the Southern Cross constellation, Australia’s “down under” wonders shine brightly.
- (6+ yrs) Audrey of the Outback by Christine Harris - The Australian outback of 1930 is Audrey’s backyard. Audrey is a girl with a lot on her mind. Her dad has gone away to work, her brother Price thinks he’s too old for games, and little Dougie likes pretending to be a bird. Audrey even has her own blog and fun page.
- (6-9 yrs) An Aussie Year: 12 months in the life of Australian Kids by Tania McCartney - Meet Ned, Lily, Zoe, Kirra and Matilda - Australian children representing a multicultural blend of culture and race that typifies the beautiful country. They take you through a year in the life of Australian kids, from celebrations to traditions to events, to the everyday way of life. They are Australia - from the tropical north out to the rugged west and beautiful Tassie.
- (6-9 yrs) Fabish: The Horse that Braved a Bushfire by Neridah McMullin - A true story about a heroic horse who saved others during a bushfire. Once a racehorse, Fabish now lives in a paddock with frisky young horses and shows them how to behave. One hot summer day, a wild wind blew up - this day that became known as Black Saturday. When Fabish smelled smoke he knew that fire was coming.
- (7-9 yrs) A is for Australian Animals by Frane Lessac - Vibrant paintings and fascinating facts introduce readers to a wide array of incredible animals in this vivid celebration of the fauna that makes Australia unique.
- (Various ages) A Children’s Book of Aboriginal Stories (open access download)
- (Various ages) Windy Hollow Books is an award winning independent publisher of picture books for children to inspire a love of reading, with a focus on strong stories and beautiful illustrations from established and emerging authors and illustrators. These books entertain, inspire and empower children to make a difference. AND teachers’ notes are available for most books!