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A Forest Diorama on Our Kitchen Table

by Jean Van't Hul
June 15, 2011

How to Make a Forest Diorama for Education and Play

This is the post we’ve been leading up to the last couple of days—our forest diorama!

When Rashmie of Mommy Labs invited us to participate in her Forest Fiesta to celebrate World Environment Day, I couldn’t say no. It seemed especially appropriate for her to host this virtual event as she lives in Delhi, India, this year’s physical host of World Environment Day. Each participant was do a forest-related art or craft with their children.

I asked Maia if she wanted to participate (yes!) and what she wanted to do.

Her first idea was to draw bare trees “all across the room” and glue leaves on them. But she lost interest and abandoned that project. A week later I asked again, and this time she decided to build a forest diorama on the table.

Here’s how…

Forest Diorama Project

A Forest Diorama on Our Kitchen Table

We used our homemade playdough as stands to hold leaves, flowers, and branches collected from the garden (much as we did with our playdough volcano).

Forest Diorama Project

Here’s one of the euphorbia “trees” with lavender and hydrangea trees in the background.

Forest Diorama Project

And here’s a stand of heuchera blossom trees, pine trees, and azaleas. There’s a lot of diversity in this forest!

Forest Diorama Project

Maia added a family picnicking in one corner, some horses at a pond (“they’re wild horses”) in another corner, and various other animals scattered around.

Forest Diorama Project

Finally, she decided that the forest needed a sun, fish, butterflies, birds, worms, and logs so she drew them on paper and either cut them out herself or asked for help cutting while she drew.

Forest Diorama Project

The sun was attached to the window with tape and the birds and butterflies were hung from the ceiling with yarn.

Forest Diorama Project

And here’s the panoramic view. The river (a scarf from her dress up box) is populated with paper fish. The mountains in the background are stuffed (like this fish).

Forest Diorama Project

I love how she pulled together so many ideas and techniques to create this. My role was mostly as facilitator (hanging birds from the ceiling, helping to cut out the butterflies, finding books at the library, etc) and also a bit as cheerleader, but she really ran the show. I’m starting to realize how much she is growing up!

P.S. If we were to do this again, I’d choose a less central location so it could stay up longer. Trying to seat four for dinner around the toddler table was not ideal. We finally cleared the diorama off on day three.

Learning About the Rainforests Series

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How to Create a Forest Diorama for Education and Play

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