The Grand Imaginarium (by Kids Own Publishing)

What is The Grand Imaginarium you ask?  It’s creative, kooky and a place to be inspired and inspire.  From nonsensical ideas, stories, visiting artists and an opportunity to create – children go on a publishing adventure.

When:  Tuesday 28 June to Friday 1 July 2016, various times.  Sessions go for 3 hours

Where: Ironing Room, The Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street ABBOTSFORD

Cost: $40 per child (children under 8 must be accompanied, adults are FREE) book here

We attended the very last session of The Grand Imaginarium last school holidays and so three days of creativity had preceded us – meaning the space we entered was visually exciting and filled with the works of other groups.

Our session started off with a bit of a briefing – to the grown ups in the room it didn’t make much sense but the children were encouraged to take part and were enthralled.  They then moved through the room exploring some of the visual cues along the way and moved into the story reading space which was accessed by a cardboard tunnel structure.  After stories, the kids returned to the workshop area and were shown how to go about building their book.

Bookmaking was enthusiastically embraced by all the junior (and adult) participants – with some going into a bit of a publishing frenzy!  Each time a book was published the trumpet was sounded and we all paused to pay respect to the new author.

At about the half way mark the guest artist arrived to share their project for the day with the kids.  Inspired by a recent trip to Venice and gondolas the children were tasked with each painting a panel of a mural which was then assembled at the end and added to the wall of art (somehow a spare spot was found!).

All up the whole session was three hours – and it was mostly a fairly loose running order (with time and space to allow for conversations and ideas to flow).  We finished the project with the guest artist at about the 2.5 hour mark, leaving 30 minutes or so to enjoy free time.  Immi used this time to help the two program leaders with a few tasks while Charlie rummaged through the pile of materials and made himself a cardboard sword.

Of the books that were published we were able to keep the original as well as a colour copy – and another colour copy was added to the Kids Own Publishing library.  My kids were both really proud of their little books and copies have been added to our bookshelf at home and read over and over.

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