When I was younger I would spend my weekends putting together dioramas. There was nothing better than a fresh shoe box to put a new scene in. My action figures would line up around the box and I would spend hours and hours playing with them. While my daughter isn’t quite old enough to put together her own diorama, I thought it would be so much fun for my preschooler and toddler to put together their own “diorama-esque” safari animal habitat.
We used tons of objects that we already had around the house, and I put together a tray so she could design her safari habitat however she wished. This was such a great activity for imaginative play!
How To Create A Safari Habitat
My daughter is 4.5 and my son is 22 months; I can’t put together one thing for one kid without the other. So I put together two different, but similar, setups that they could manipulate and play with however they wanted.
For my son’s setup I placed all of the objects in a small container that had edges and sorted everything out. I also had a separate serving tray that I placed green construction paper on top of to create a scene.
For my older daughter I used a tray from the dollar store and filled it with all types of different materials. Find objects and things you already have around the house.
Our bin was filled with:
- Dried beans saved from our indoor sensory bins,
- Netting is from a bag of oranges
- Pouch caps used in sensory bins
- Rocks from our landscaping
- This animal activity set from Amazon
- Craft sticks
I gave my daughter the tray and then provided a separate plastic tray (just happened to have a green one depicting grass) but any flat surface would work. I gave no instructions except to build an animal habitat however she would like.
Quickly her imagination took off and she was building mountains and shaded areas for the animals to take a break. She even made the beans into a snow field.
My toddler wasn’t just moving the objects around, but was really enjoying touching everything, feeling the weight of different objects and emulating his big sister’s play. He also loved placing the beans in the pouch caps..
Indoor Preschool Activity
Was the setup worth it? Absolutely! We clocked over an hour of play time, and when it was time to clean up I heard some grumbles. I set everything aside, and both kids came back to playing with it again later in the day setting up new scenes.