Create an Underwater Scene. PART 2. The Diorama

Mar 31, 2012

Since making our fish we've been excited about making the Underwater Scene for them to live in.

This activity would work best as a follow up or precursor to an excursion to the aquarium or beach, as an activity to complement an interest or in conjunction with a book about fish or the ocean.

Before starting the diorama we researched, using the Internet and books we had about what we might find on the bottom of the ocean.

fish craft, activities for kids, under the sea craft

Here is how we made it:

 Here are the materials we used. Cardboard box (we found one that was already blue inside but if you're using a shoebox etc, you might want to paint the inside or cover with cellophane paper etc), rocks (can collect from outside or use river rocks), fishing line (to hand the fish), fish (see how we made them here), PVA glue and brush, things to make coral and seaweed (we used, pipe cleaners, shiny green paper and can use whatever you can find around the house), sticks, tape and sand.

 Tearing the green shiny paper in strips to make the seaweed. Good fine motor skill practice

 Twisting and manipulating the pipe cleaners to make coral and underwater plants

 Taping a pipe cleaner to a strip of green paper so that it can be bent into a shape for seaweed

 Poke holes in the bottom of your cardboard box for your child to poke their seaweed, coral and plants in

Pouring glue over the bottom of the box. Being careful to avoid the plants

 Spread the glue so it covers the entire bottom of the box

 Her FAVOURITE part. Sprinkling the sand all over the bottom of the box

Allow the glue to dry and shake off excess sand. Then add your rocks

 Almost finished! Time to add the fish. I taped a loop of fishing line to the back of the fish so they could hang over the sticks

 Hang the fish on the sticks and then place over the top of the box

The beautiful underwater scene in finished. We had a lot of fun creating this. Hope you do too

Some tips:

- You don't have to use all these same materials. See how we did it and then hunt around your own house for things that would work as well

- Take the time to focus on improving particular skills with your child and help them to practice, ie. Carefully pouring glue so that it goes where intended.

- Extend this activity by letting your child attempt some of the more fiddly parts like poking holes where they want their plants and taping fishing wire onto the fish. Ensure that you have talked about and researched the bottom of the ocean so that your child gains a better understanding of what you are doing and why.

- Making things that look visually pleasing as the end result help your child feel proud about what they have created.

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "coral" This will help with their language development.

-Ask questions to help connect their understanding and use vocabulary to give them words to describe what they're creating, eg. "How are we going to get the plants to stand up in the bottom of the box?" etc

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests.

-ENJOY spending time with your child :)

Debs :)

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  1. Stopping by from the Kids Co-op. So glad you shared this post! Diaramas are a fantastic learning tool but rarely attempted because they seem hard, take too long or take up too much space. But your blog explains clearly how to go about making one and I love the tips. I am pinning this AND I am featuring you in my Kids Co-op Showcase on Thursday!

    1. Wow, how fabulous! Yes, they can seem a little daunting or just too much work but I figure, if my 3 year old can do it, anyone can :D Like all our crafts etc, we leave it sitting around for a while and once we're over it we take it apart and recycle all the usable bits again.
      Thankyou for choosing to showcase this activity. Very excited lol :)

  2. Hi Deb,
    I Loved your Underwater Scene. I am dying to make one with my 3 year old too. I have featured your post from the Kids Co op on my blog.
    Have a look, it might put a smile on your face:). Thanks for inspiring.

    1. You're welcome Mansi and thanks for choosing to feature this activity. We had a lot of fun making it and look forward to seeing what you and your daughter come up with :)

  3. That is a very cool diorama. I love the cupcake liner fish

    1. Thank you! The fish were the most fun to make I think :D

  4. Ooh- pouring in the sand would be my favorite part too! Fun! Thanks for linking to Kids Get Crafty! Alissa and Maggy

  5. We did one a few holidays ago with snails (mainly coz Turbo was out and my stepson was obsessed!!). What did you do with your diorama? I struggled to find a home for mine.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment! I love reading them all.