Cultural Patterns and Stories


Invite a member of the local Indigenous community to visit your playgroup to talk about the traditions of a yarning circle. Ask them to show the children the different symbols used to tell a story. The use of a yarning circle is an important process within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Children are encouraged to take part in the dialogue created through the sharing of the symbols and the story told by the Indigenous visitor.

What you need?

  • Paper plates
  • Wooden offcuts
  • Paper
  • Drawing materials


1. Show children symbols and talk about the meaning of each one. Squirt a coloured paint (small blobs) on to the paper in the box.

2. Encourage the children to draw their own symbols (with different meanings) on the wooden offcuts. For younger children give them a template to copy.

3. Ask the children to line them up to create a story.

Extension of the activity

Tell stories from the Dreamtime and encourage children to recreate the stories using the wooden offcuts. Explore other early language forms, like hieroglyphics.