gleeful grandiva

creative living for big and little kids

gleeful grandiva

Category: Child friendly crafts to make Page 2 of 10


easy puppets picture

Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – easy puppets to make.

Kids love to play with puppets and I think it’s empowering for them because they are the manipulators.

Puppet play is also a wonderful way to foster imagination and creativity.

You don’t have to break the budget to offer your children an array of puppets to play with.

These ones are made from paper and cardboard.

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play jungle picture

Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – how to make a play jungle.

This is a favourite with the grandchildren and my private students.

The mystery, danger and magic of the jungle and its creatures have captured the imagination of people for centuries.

The jungle is a magical setting where anything is possible. From a man with extraordinary talents who was brought up by apes (Tarzan) to a place filled with thought-to-be-extinct dinosaurs (The Lost World: Jurassic Park), the jungle setting offers an abundance of opportunities for the imagination to go wild.

Even better, this creativity project becomes its own wonderful game to keep the children entertained for hours.

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koalas picture

Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – cute koalas to make.

When it comes to celebrating Australia and all it has to offer, it’s hard to go past the wildlife.

Australia has more than 378 mammal species and 828 bird species as well as thousands of fish and hundreds of snake and lizard species.

More than 80 per cent of our plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to Australia and are found no-where else.

Among the most famous and well-loved mammals is the koala, often referred to as a bear, though they are related to kangaroos and wombats.

Their cute and cuddly appearance, like a teddy bear, is what prompts people to refer to koalas as bears.

Australia is also renowned for its dangerous animals. We have more deadly snakes than any other country on the planet.

Not content with our notorious reputation for reptiles, spiders, insects and sea creatures that can kill, Aussies created a legend about the drop bear (closely related to the koalas) as a joke to scare tourists.

The drop bear is a predatory version of the koala that is said to drop from the treetops onto the heads of unsuspecting tourists walking below.

Advice to save yourself from these vicious creatures includes placing forks in your hair and smearing Vegemite behind your ears.

The truth is, koalas are docile herbivores, unrelated to bears, and can sleep up to 22 hours a day.

The destruction of their habitat has resulted in a 90 per cent drop in koala population within the last 10 years.

Other dangers include the roads that cross their habitat, resulting in road kills, as well as attacks by dogs and disease.

How much can a koala bear? 🙂

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no sew Scandinavian Christmas gnome

Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project, a no sew Scandinavian Christmas gnome.

Scandinavian Christmas gnomes have become increasingly popular during the past few years.

You can find instructions all over the web for how to make your own. However, I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t require sewing. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sewing, if you enjoy it. But it seems a big use of time considering you barely see the gnome body as the beard is so long.

So, I came up with my own version of the Christmas gnome – no sewing necessary. Plus, it uses recyclables, which is even better.

As a bonus, I’m including instructions for another project that uses recyclables. Read on to find out what it is and how you can make it.

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beautiful art without a paintbrush picture

The thought of holding a paintbrush to create art can make some people quiver with fear and send them running away screaming.

Sounds dramatic, I know. But I’ve actually seen this. Especially with adults and teens who don’t believe they are artistic or creative in any way. We all know that’s not true!

For some, the paintbrush is a wand of colourful magic. For others, it’s an intimidating weapon just waiting to defeat them.

The fear is caused because the onus to create lines and shapes is totally on the person manipulating the paintbrush.

Much of this fear can be taken away by removing the brush and focusing on stamping and printing techniques.

While the fearful artist still has to manipulate tools to create a picture, some of the work (and therefore, some of the fear of making mistakes) is taken away. Once they have played around with these various techniques and experimented with colours and patterns, they gain confidence and the dreaded brush can be reintroduced.

In fact, it is easy to make beautiful art without a paintbrush.

These techniques are ideal for young children who don’t yet have the dexterity to create the pictures they want. They help with fine motor skills, but also promote experimentation and confidence.

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magical moving picture picture

The Wacky Workshops student loved all things dinosaur and wanted to create a picture that featured them.

We found a piece of cardboard – just the side of an old carton and he started painting the blue sky and green grass.

I suggested we make the picture 3D – it gave me the opportunity to explain to him what that meant.

He loved the idea, so we cut cardboard rolls in half lengthways to form the trunks of trees. Later we added green paper cut into leaf shapes.

He wanted one of the dinosaurs to be 3D as well so we discussed the various types, looked at pictures of them and chose the perfect one.

This was the tricky bit – especially for a six-year-old – so I formed the basic shape for him out of newspaper then had him help me wrap it in plaster bandage so it would set hard.

That’s when the idea hit me. We should make it a magical moving picture. Why should Harry Potter have all the fun?

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magnetised puppet theatrepicture


Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – how to make a magically magnetised puppet theatre.

Pinocchio taught us the dangers of lying. Kermit the Frog taught us how to love ourselves for what we are (It’s Not Easy Being Green). He gave us hope with the thought we will find The Rainbow Connection


magnetised puppet theatre picture


As a form of artistic expression, puppetry has been around for a very long time.

Puppets have been used for more than 3000 years. Some believe they were used in theatre before human actors took to the stage.

Ivory and clay articulated puppets have been discovered in Egyptian tombs. Puppets are mentioned in writing as early as 422BCE.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from the life-size Bunraku puppets of ancient Japan to water puppets and shadow puppets which are silhouettes that use light to achieve various effects.

Marionettes, string puppets where dolls are suspended and controlled by a number of strings, are one of the most common forms of puppets.

Puppets make amazing teaching tools, but when you put them in the hands of a child they can promote emotional growth, among other advantages.

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A meaningful Father's Day gift to make


Welcome to another Wacky Workshops project – a meaningful Father’s Day gift to make.

Do you ever get the feeling Father’s Day is less about celebrating dads and more about rewarding retailers?

In fact, it was retailers who ensured the continued success of the day, which originated in America in 1910.

Like so many of our cherished special days, Father’s Day is a boon for retailers but its original ideal is often lost in the frenzy of what to get for dad.

Instead of a heartfelt gift created to recognise the contribution made by dads, Aussies are set to spend millions for the September 2 (2018) celebration and often the children involved have little or no input into the gift selection and purchase.

If you want to get the kids involved, here is a meaningful Father’s Day gift to make.


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children's games picture

Most of us have experienced the fun of visiting the local bowling alley and testing our skills against those pins.

Or trying to win a huge stuffed animal at the ring toss game in a carnival sideshow.

Some of us have even experienced the frustration of hitting a tiny golf ball towards an unseen target.

They are all fun activities, but they cost money and require you to tackle traffic and parking.

Guess what? You can turn your yard into a bowling alley, a sideshow ally or even a mini-golf course. Even a fun fishing lake.

The best part is, it will cost virtually nothing as you can make these games and more using recyclables.

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cultural creativity picture

What makes us mean?

I believe that every hateful act stems from a foundation of fear. It could be fear of feeling powerless or inferior. Fear of change. Or even fear of something different that we don’t understand.

As adults, we need to conquer those fears in order to achieve inner peace and then, hopefully, world peace.

If we could raise fearless children, we would be creating kinder kids.

How do we do this?

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