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Design a Diorama!

Design a Diorama! Activity

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See more activities in: First Grade, Composition

Feel like making a scene? No, not in a public place – but how about in an enclosed shoebox? Help your child make an imaginative scene come to life by designing and detailing a diorama. Your child will be practicing two and three dimensional thinking, plus the essential language arts skill of constructing a narrative! Here’s how to get your child started building his very own 3D diorama.

What You Need:

  • Shoebox
  • Colored paper
  • White glue or glue stick
  • Colored clay
  • Craft items: pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, glitter, buttons, scrap fabric, beads, pine cones, etc.
  • Markers or crayons

What You Do:

  1. Help your child decide on what type of scene he would like to create. Some ideas might include: part of a favorite book, scene from a summer holiday, depiction of my best day ever or my birthday, or what I want to be when I grow up.
  2. Set the empty shoebox on its side, with the inside facing towards you. This is the set where your scene will unfold. You can set the box inside its top to act as an extension of the scene, if you wish.
  3. Start by setting up the background, just like a set designer. Help your child to imagine the scene. What was the setting he is trying to recreate? Is it the morning, a sunny day, or night time? Indoors or outdoors?
  4. Next, begin to create details and props. For example, if you are going to make a birthday party scene, make the table, candles, cake, guests, presents, etc. You can use any number of materials, but crafts supplies such as clay, pipe cleaners, toothpicks, and fabric scraps work well. These should be made to scale and be able to comfortably within the small box.
  5. Once all elements of the scene are constructed, have your child arrange the items to create the image he had in mind. Is everything there? Does anything need to be added?Is there too much? Encourage your child to evaluate his scene and readjust, add or edit items as he sees fit.
  6. Help your child to glue the objects in place. If you would prefer to keep it an interactive scene so the objects can move, skip this step.
  7. Share the scene with friends and family by displaying your diorama and telling the story that goes along with it. This is a great way to retell your imaginative or real life experience, and make a fun crafts project to go along with it!
Alicia Danyali, BS Elementary Education, taught primary-level students for four years at the International School of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The last four years of her teaching career, she taught at the Washington International School in Washington, D.C. She recently completed writing a series of children's picture books and is a mother of one young son.

Updated on Feb 8, 2013
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See more activities in: First Grade, Composition
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