gleeful grandiva

creative living for big and little kids

gleeful grandiva

Category: Creative Living Page 1 of 16


When it comes to celebrating all the beauty and wonder Australia has to offer, it’s hard to know where to begin.

More than 90 per cent of our wildlife is found nowhere else in the wild. This includes kangaroos, dingos, wombats, echidnas, platypus and koalas – making this a truly unique and special country.

As for our birds – Australia is sometimes referred to as the land of parrots and honeyeaters because we have so many of them.

There are more than 900 recorded Aussie bird species and almost all of our cockatoos are unique to this country. In fact, no other continent other than South America has as many parrots.

Here are six Aussie bird crafts ideal for kids to make to celebrate our unique feathered friends.

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How to Create a Confident Kid

confident kid picture

Jack was a happy baby with a big belly laugh he used with great regularity. He was a curious and adventurous toddler with a booming personality and the voice to go with it.

His first few years of school were filled with curiosity and the desire to learn. Then, his voice became quiet, his smiles infrequent and his urge to try and learn new things disappeared.

What happened? Jack (a fictional character to illustrate this point) lost his confidence and self-esteem somewhere along the line.

If he doesn’t regain confidence, Jack’s tumultuous teens will be even more challenging.

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the wacky solution picture

That frantic search for a pencil or pen as I grab my bag, sunnies, keys and granddaughter in the race to get out the door and pick up her older sister from school. That’s me at least once a week.

Why the pencil or pen? To go with the little granddaughter’s drawing book – something to keep her occupied as we wait in the car for school to end. The earlier we leave, the better chance of finding a decent parking spot. But then, the longer we have to wait.

Why is it so hard to find a pen or pencil in a house occupied by journalists and art teachers? No idea. I think they hide. They take the granddaughter’s little drawing book with them.

Granted, it’s not the biggest problem in the scheme of things. In fact, now it’s not a problem at all because I’ve solved it with the wacky solution to creativity. Let me tell you how.

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creative parents picture

Creativity has become a buzzword – the Holy Grail that will help us be happier, healthy, more productive and better equipped to deal with life in general.

We mourn the lack of creative programs in mainstream schools and businesses fork out thousands of dollars every year on creative thinking exercises for their employees.

There is a general recognition that advances in technology will change the way we work and live.

Already, the need for manual labour has diminished to the point many businesses are now obsolete, meaning very human traits – such as creativity – are highly sought after.

With a future that looks particularly bright for creative people and creative thinkers, and schools more focused on academic outcomes than fostering these traits, what’s a parent to do to prepare their kids for the future?

Here are some of the secrets creative parents already know and how they are using them to foster creativity and creative thinking in their children.

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honouring what we have picture

“For what we are about to eat may the Lord make us truly grateful”.

That was our pre-meal prayer when I was at school. I remember it not so much because of the gratitude I felt, but because we said it a lot and most of us raced through the little prayer, eager to eat.

In later years it struck me how remote that little sentence seemed. It didn’t thank the plants and animal life for their sacrifice. It didn’t thank the food producers, the farmers, or the school cooks who worked tirelessly. This is probably a good thing. As teenagers, we were ravenous at meal times and having to give more thanks and delay eating could have caused a riot.

It was a gesture at gratitude and I’m sure some students maybe ignored their rumbling tummies long enough to feel thankful.

But it didn’t really honour all the elements and hard work that went into providing the meals.

So how do we honour what we have?  And how does doing so help us to achieve inner peace?

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optimism in kids picture


It’s interesting that the first part of the word ‘optimism’ spells ‘opt’ because being optimistic is a choice that you can opt in or out of.

That’s probably the most important thing we can impress on our children. Optimism is a choice. And choice is a superpower.

We all become discouraged at times. For children, the frustrations are great because they’re trying to learn so much at once and often don’t have the focus, patience and wisdom to understand that practice is key to achieving their goals.

At the first sign a failure, a child may become morose and feel that they will never achieve their goals.

When we promote optimism in kids, we teach them to welcome mistakes as vital learning tools.

This in turn will give them the resilience and determination to keep trying, rather than give up.

So how do we promote optimism in kids?

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arts projects to suit all ages picture

I’m often asked by parents how I can provide art projects to suit all ages when I hold group workshops.

Many fear the older children will become bored and the younger ones will be out of their depth.

The age range for group classes is four to 12. As children change so drastically in those years, the parents’ concerns are valid.

Parents can face the same challenge when planning parties that cater to various ages and incorporating arts and crafts as part of the fun.

Here are some tips to make art projects to suit all ages.

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celebrating mums picture

As we head towards Mother’s Day and the time for celebrating mums, one thing is clear. Not all mothers are created equal. That’s the truth.

However, good or bad, we all need them – from the tiny ants that drink their own babies’ blood, to the majestic elephant who carries her huge baby for 22 months before giving birth – every living creature needs their mum.

No matter what you think of your own mother, some of these mums will make you forever grateful for the one you have.

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strong kids picture

When talking about strong kids, I’m not referring to their physical condition. I’m talking about inner strength, known as resilience.

Resilience is the word used to describe coping skills – people’s ability to bounce back from adversity.

As it’s impossible to avoid challenges in life, the only way to survive is to learn how to cope with them.

Those who don’t, end up with a whole set of new problems. Ones that could possibly have been avoided if they were more resilient.

Fortunately, resilience is something that can be nurtured in children and one of the many helpful tools to do this is art.

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drag yourself out of the doldrums picture

We all get sad but we don’t have to stay there. Here are some tips to drag yourself out of the doldrums.

It was one of those days. The sweetest little white possum was being pegged as being our first climate change extinction.

This headline was closely followed by the news that Russia was pulling the plug on a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with the US, creating fears of another nuclear arms race.

Meanwhile, Tassie was burning, parts of Queensland were flooding and parts of New South Wales were sweltering in record-breaking heatwaves.

On the other side of the planet, residents of Michigan, USA, were being warned of possible record breaking wind chills in the wake of the polar vortex.

Yet, world leaders were bickering about creating more weapons of destruction. As if we need weapons when it is so clear we are managing the murder of our planet just fine without them.

Another day in paradise. It could be any day. Depressing, right?

It doesn’t really matter how positive your attitude is, sometimes things just pile up to send you into a state of despair.

That’s why it’s vital to have a bag of tricks to drag yourself out of the doldrums.

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