My first graders had a lot of fun learning about the dot/dream paintings of native Australians. First we reviewed the continents and remembered that Australia is the only one to be both a continent and a whole country. I showed them a picture of Uluru, and thought about the climate and what kinds of animals lived there.
We looked at a variety of native dream paintings, and noted that they often depict animals and abstract shapes. Students sketched on brown construction paper an Australian animal from a selection of examples I kept up on the board for inspiration. Then I passed out Q-tips for them to dot their colors on the page. They did a layer of white dots to outline all of their pencil lines first. I put only one color out at a time to help them keep their color areas organized and pace the painting a bit.
The best ones have concentrations of color areas or patterning that help make their animal stand out from the background. On our last day we watched a quick animation of a dot painting and the kids compared and contrasted their paintings to the animation.
They did so well with it, I wonder if it would still work as well if we made bigger paintings next year? These are only 9x12 and they filled them in really quickly. They loved dotting the paint on the paper, and I was amazed at how meticulously some of them worked.