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Making a Diorama for Imaginative Play

By Eliot Kersgaard

Making a diorama is a fun and easy way to extend the activities in Journey to Cloud City beyond the pages and into hours of open-ended imaginative play. Even without the book, this activity is a great family crafting opportunity, and you can create your own stories and challenges to accompany the diorama. In this example, we’ll be showing the creation of a forest-swamp diorama, but you can create whatever environment you like!

Print this printable at home as your template for this activity:

Step One: Assemble Your Materials

Be creative! Ask your child what their favorite art and building supplies are. Some of our favorites are:

Construction Paper

Cardstock

Cardboard

Foam Core

Pipe Cleaners

Styrofoam sheets

Packing peanuts

Binder Clips

Popsicle Sticks

Legos, Brackitz, Plus Plus, KNex, or other building supplies

Plus any other miscellaneous arts and crafts supplies you have at home! We recommend reusing materials that you might throw away otherwise, or repurposing items that you never use. We get a lot of our materials from upcycled stores Art Parts and RAFT Colorado.

Step Two: Decide What to Build

Next, decide what it is you want to build! In this activity, we’ll be building a landscape containing mountains, a forest, and a swamp. This landscape will be used to act out the story and build different inventions to help characters solve their challenges in later steps. We know that these environments contain:

-Mountains

-Rocks

-Trees

-Water

-Snow

-Shrubs

-Flowers

-Animals

-Mud

-Dirt

What else can you think of that we might find? Use the printable above to come up with more ideas.

Step Three: Bring It To Life!

In this step, we decide how to use our materials to build the elements we want to create.

When building a landscape, we want to start with the bottom layer, and build up from there.

-Use foam core or cardboard as your base (ie the Earth)

-Glue colored foam or paper flat on your base for major landscape features (ie water, dirt, mud, rocks)

-Make or find 3D objects such as folded paper, rubber pieces, or foam pieces to use as topography (ie mountains)

-Use skinny pieces such as popsicle sticks for trees, and glue paper as leaves

-Use pom poms for other vegetation

-Use bottle caps as mushrooms or other features

A post shared by MyraMakes (@myramakes) on

Z showing off the landscape he created at a fundraiser for Queer*.

Next, make some characters for your landscape. What kind of creatures live there? What do they like to do?

Step Four: Tell the Story and Add Your Flair!

Now it’s time to let your imagination run wild! Make up totally new features for your landscape, real or made-up! In the world of Myra Makes, there is no limit to what’s possible to build.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your child to get started:

-What do your characters like to do?

-Where do they live?

-How do the different elements of your landscape interact with one another?

-What materials do you have left? What could they be used for?

-What’s happening on the landscape? What challenges could be solved?

A fun landscape, with a forest and a slide!

With the landscape built, it’s time to act out some stories and solve challenges! Stay tuned for a follow-up post about how to build an invention to help Myra and friends in their adventure.

What did you think of this tutorial? Please leave a comment below or reach out at Contact@MyraMakes.com to let us know how this guide has worked for you and share what your family has created!

2018-10-01T09:51:47+00:00

About the Author:

Eliot Kersgaard is an artist and educator creating spaces in which people can pursue their creativity. He is the cofounder of Myra Makes LLC and the Assistant Director of Solutions Voyage.

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