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Visual Arts in Education

When a nutcracker has a headache

What to do when a giant nutcracker has been spending many Christmas seasons outside and its head begins to collapse? This is the story of Larry, one of the first builders of my nutcracker model. Actually, I should count him double because he made not one, but two giant nutcrackers that stand guard on either …

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Basic skeleton surgery

After moving three times, my skeleton lost its head and badly broke one leg! But luckily, with some basic surgery, I was able to fix it. Let’s start with the broken leg, near the hip. I cut a piece of cardboard of the right width and glued it to the back of the leg with …

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Reading and craft activities

Suzanne Gohier of Éditions Caméléa informed me that their website has free activities targeted at kids in grades 1 and 2, that are perfect for keeping children busy while they are confined to their home. These activities are based on books about Camelea, a very active little girl, her brother Carl and their friends. Reading …

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Nutcracker Parade

The nutcracker tradition probably originates with the story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, written by German author E.T.A. Hoffman. This story was adapted for ballet by Alexandre Dumas and the music was created by the famous composer Tchaikovsky. Since The Nutcracker story takes place during Christmas, it’s easy to see how the elaborately carved …

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Camper’s Christmas

For most people, Christmas weather is too cold for camping in Canada. So why not create the magic of Christmas in July? In fact, that is a tradition in many campgrounds across Quebec. This year, a group of campers, inspired by my book How to make a Giant Nutcracker, created not just one but four …

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Gift boxes with all kinds of decorations

I made a lot of gift boxes using the pattern that you can find here, and I had fun decorating them all in different ways. I had to stop when I ran out of boxes… Let’s see what I did with buttons. First, a heart. And then, balloons. Why not? And a flower: Now, let’s …

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Jean-François Faucher at Santa’s Workshop

An interview with Jean-François Faucher, author of Panic at Santa’s Workshop, by Holly Ivy the Elf. Jean-François, what gave you the idea to write a Christmas story? Well, ou could say that the idea came to me by itself. One night in December, a few years ago, I was in my chicken coop, putting winter …

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Be inspired

One of the things I love most about the Animaplates website is the feedback that I receive from you, my readers. Especially when it includes pictures of your work. Creativity can be expressed in many ways, and that is very visible in a big project like my giant nutcracker. I feel very honoured to be …

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Monkey puppets in action

Although monkeys are apparently our ancestors (speaking in evolutionary terms), they often behave in ways that make us laugh. Have some fun making faces with the Animaplates monkey puppet in this video.  Then, make the puppet and invent a silly story yourself! The Year of the Monkey Maybe it’s not surprising that the Chinese Horoscope …

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Giant Nutcrackers Around The World

Here is a map showing the locations of the people who took up the challenge to build a Giant Nutcracker. Where available, I have added a picture of their nutcracker.  If your nutcracker picture isn’t here yet, please leave a comment below and attach your photo!     It had long be my dream to build a …

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What’s that elf doing on the shelf?

Ten years ago, an enterprising mother-daughter team (Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell) created a story that explains how Santa Claus knows whether kids have been naughty or nice. This story was based on their own family Christmas tradition according to which each year, Santa sent an elf to their home to watch over the children …

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