Art of the Islands PDF


Art of the Islands is a hands-on arts unit for a mentor to use with ages 6 to 18. Learn about Pacific Islander and Australian Aboriginal arts from the pre-colonial period.


Art of the Islands is the fourth unit in the Middle Ages Arts course. This unit is all about the dance, music, carvings, cloth, and crafts of the Pacific Island and Aboriginal people during the time before European contact. You will learn how nature, traditions, and vivid colors are the features of art from this part of the world. Arts from the Pacific Islands include carvings, paintings, jewelry, body art, and dancing.

This unit contains sections on:

  • Pacific Island Arts
  • Dance, Music, & Stories

Layers of Learning is an activity-based program. The mentor chooses from among the activities in the unit to create mental hooks for learning. Some of the activities in this unit include:

  • Paint a brightly colored hibiscus flower on canvas
  • Sketch and decorate a feathered cape
  • Paint an ocean resist of a sea creature
  • Make paper bag tiki statues
  • Sculpt a Moai statue out of clay
  • Create an ipu instrument from a hollowed out gourd
  • Play a Pacific Islands stick clapping game
  • Make Dreamtime dot art of an emu
  • And much more!

Each Layers of Learning Arts unit includes library lists of books, a family read-aloud suggestion, hands-on activities, printables and paper crafts, sidebars for extra learning, and tools to help you assess student’s progress and mastery. You can learn more about how Layers of Learning works in the Curriculum Guide or learn to teach art with the Arts Guidebook for mentors.

See Inside

Here is the inside view of a double page spread from Art of the Islands:

Art of the Islands Interior spread

This shows the beginning of the Explorations, or activities in the unit. Each Exploration is a day’s lesson plan. In the “Nature” exploration, above, you can see a supply list, followed by a short explanatory paragraph, and then a numbered list of steps to complete the lesson. The curriculum is pick-and-choose, so you select which Explorations you would like to do out of the many choices.


This unit was written to be used for a month but contains plenty of content for many more weeks of learning if you choose. This is a pick-and-choose curriculum, meant to be cycled back to in the future when your child is older. As such, it intentionally includes far more material than you can possibly cover in a month.

East Asian Arts is also part of the overall Middle Ages Arts course, the second Year of the four year Layers of Learning Arts cycle. If you use the program in order, it will take you though the art in chronological order, tracking with the Layers of Learning History units. However, each unit stands alone and can be used independently of any other unit.

Printable Pack

This unit comes with a downloadable Printable Pack that includes all the student worksheets. The printables can be copied as many times as needed for your family or class.

You can download the Printable Pack from your receipt or from your account at Layers of Learning.

Art of the Islands Printable Pack sample

Here you see the cover and two of the printables from the Art of the Islands unit. This unit contains 14 printables that coordinate with the Explorations in the unit. The Printable Pack is included in the purchase of the unit.

Extra Resources

This unit comes with extra weblinks and a YouTube video playlist on the Middle Ages Arts Resources page.


PDF Download





Cycle Year

Year Two

Product Type

Single Units




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