Netflix & SPC: Get Crafty for Earth Month with Our Easy Diorama
Walking home from school the other day with Julian, I stopped suddenly when he gasped. What?! I looked around for what had surprised him. “Mom! You littered!” And sure enough I had, but not on purpose! The wrapper for the snack I’d brought for him had slipped out of my overstuffed pocket and onto the sidewalk. I quickly picked it up and apologized. Littering is a very big offense to Julian (and Esme, too). Kids are just natural environmentalists, aren’t they? They love nature and think anything that harms it is stupid. Which is pretty much the truth of it.
Because Laura and I work with Netflix, we got a sneak peak at the titles they’ll be featuring for Earth Month. There are few things I like more than a good nature documentary so this is pretty thrilling to me. I’m really looking forward to watching The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Ocean and Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
The other morning, Julian and I started our day curled up on the couch with the iPad and Sesame Street. In a way that only Sesame Street can do, they brought to life one of Julian’s favourite concepts from nature: camouflage! In The Camouflage Challenge, Kyra Sedgewick and Elmo do a hilarious hide and seek number on the city streets and it gave me an idea for a great craft. It’s a classic diorama with an Earth Month twist. Plus a little Elmo thrown in for good measure – because, really, what does Elmo not make better? This is a fun and easy project that comes together pretty quickly. It’s a nice way to talk about our favourite parts of nature and what we can all do to look after it for Earth Month (and every month!).
photos by Maya Visnyei
What You Need
The only thing you’ve got to have to make a diorama is a box. I used a packing box, but you could use a shoe box or whatever you’ve got around. The rest is really up to you. The kids loved foraging through our neighbourhood for bits of nature to include. Here’s what I used:
Bit of twigs and branches
What You Do
Decide whether you want a horizontal or a vertical diorama. I decided on vertical. I cut away the side and top flaps of my box and left the bottom to extend the “ground”.
I had the kids paint the pine cones in shades of green, yellow and brown.
Esme and I painted the inside of our box. Blue for the sky and green for the ground. You just need to decide where your horizon line will be. Ours was pretty high.
I tore tissue paper into strips and used glue stick to create a waterfall. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty proud of my glitter highlights! I used a bit of white glue on the paper to hold the glitter.
I dabbed a bit of glue around my river and we placed stones onto it. It will dry invisible.
I took a small ball of playdough and placed it along the back wall. I stuck a twig into it. Then I cut out pieces of red tissue to make a big red tree on the back wall. I held in place with glue stick.
Working forward I used white glue to fix my pinecones to the ground.
I went online and found a cute image of Elmo and printed him out, cut him out and then used the glue stick to press him in front of the big red tree. Get it? He’s camouflaged!
Then the kids and I placed a few extra little critters throughout our forest. We also tucked a few more branches here and there to fill it out.
You can really make anything you want in a diorama – I think an underwater version would be really cool. I’m pretty proud of this project. And I’m almost ready to let the kids play with it. Almost.
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