My 4th grader Leila was given her latest project for school and this time, she was assigned to do a tropical rainforest diorama to support the lessons they are learning now on ecosystems. Since her teacher encourages these kinds of projects to become sort of “family projects,” – I mean…isn’t that how it always ends up anyway? – we all ended up learning a lot and putting our creativity to the test. The result –Leila’s own vision for what she wanted to call “The Soleil Rainforest.” Best of all, we managed to complete the entire project for under $20! Here’s how…
How to make a DIY Tropical Rainforest Diorama for under $20!
Items needed for a Tropical Rainforest Diorama
- Shoebox – found around the house (my hubby’s a bit of a sneaker head)
- Assorted Rain Forest Animal Figures – found on Amazon (4.95)
- Moss SCP Foliage Bushes – found on Amazon ($7.89)
- Moss stones – found at Dollar Tree
- 1 bag of blue marbles – found at Dollar Tree
- 1 bag of tan rocks – found at Dollar Tree (or in your backyard)
- Any foliage, sticks, etc. from your backyard or around the house
- Glue gun (if you have one). If not, clear drying glue will work as well.
Directions for putting together the Tropical Rainforest Diorama
The order in which you put the tropical rainforest diorama together really doesn’t matter, so I’ll share how we put together the different elements of the diorama. Honestly, we continued to add more and take things away as we saw fit.
1. Start with the shoebox turned upside down to maximize space of the rainforest.
2. Paste a color photo of a tropical rainforest to use as a backdrop for the diorama. Print out this free image of a tropical rainforest.
3. Create a simple river design by carefully gluing the tan rocks into the shape of a river. Then fill the “river” design with the blue marbles. For the best effect, place the river in a location near the waterfall in the rainforest backdrop image.
4. Glue the green foliage and moss stones to surround the river.
5. Place various animals, trees and other “tropical” looking items from the backyard around the diorama.
How to make the trees in a Tropical Rainforest Diorama
We saved a lot of money making our own trees rather than attempting to buy them online or at the craft store. All we did was to find bare tree branches in the backyard and glue the moss foliage onto the branches. The best way to keep them sturdy in the diorama is to just stick them into the moss stones. Here’s a video of Leila putting these together.
Facts about a Tropical Rainforest to include in your diorama:
Tropical rainforests are located in a band around the equator (0° latitude), mostly in the area between the Tropic of Cancer (23.5° N Latitude) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° S latitude), where temperatures stay near 28°C/82°F throughout the year.
Animals in a Tropical Rainforest (included in assortment of rainforest animals)
- And many more…
The warm, moist environment is also an ideal habitat for reptiles and amphibians. Many types of frogs, salamanders, snakes, and lizards can be found in almost every layer of a tropical rainforest.
Precipitation of Tropical Rainforests
Tropical rainforests are wet and humid. The yearly rainfall ranges from 80-400 inches. It can rain as much as 2 inches in an hour.
Plants in a Tropical Rainforest
- Ceiba Trees (displayed)
- Cacao trees
- Rubber trees
- Misting Orchids (displayed)
- Passion fruit
- Passion flowers
- Venus flowers
Examples of Tropical Rainforests
Amazon Rainforest (South America), Congo Rainforest (Africa), El Yunque Rainforest (Puerto Rico).
If you try this out, please come back and share with me how they turned out for you! Our next project will probably be for the upcoming science fair. If you need ideas for that, be sure to check out these easy science fair projects for elementary school kids.