Schools are closing, workplaces are closing—and you’re ready. You have food and hand sanitizer. You have technology set up to work from home. You have milk, bread, and eggs. But have you thought about…free time? On a typical day off, do you (or your kids) get bored? What will the kids do if school is closed for weeks? Don’t panic. It’s not too late to prepare. We suggest assembling a “Cabin Fever Emergency Kit.” You guessed it—diorama supplies!
Now, we don’t expect you to come out on the other side of coronavirus with an 11-foot-long Little Round Top. But when the kids have mastered every video game level and you’ve scrolled through Facebook a dozen times and watched all of Netflix twice, you might need something else to do. So, here are some tips for the novice and for the more adventurous!
Kids Cabin Fever Emergency Kit (non-craftsy adults can use this, too)
- A box
- Green and blue paper, or plain paper and markers/crayons/colored pencils/paint
- Model trees, or reindeer moss and twigs
- Small stones
- Toy figures—animals, people, cars, anything
- White glue (such as Elmers)
- Clay (air-drying, modeling, or polymer [i.e. Sculpey])
- Anything else around your house that is useful. You’ll be surprised at what you find!
Not all of these items are necessary, of course. It all depends on what you want to do. You can find all of these around your house, at Walmart, or at a craft store like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.
Tip: if you look for animals and figures at a craft store, they usually have small packs near the diorama supplies. But they also have “Toobs” that come in a variety of options—horses, cats, sea life, dragons and knights, cowboys, dogs, farm animals, safari animals… They’re a great way to get a reasonable number of small critters for your diorama(s).
Use the box as the base for your diorama. Green paper becomes grass, and blue paper becomes water. Glue bunches of reindeer moss to a twig to make a tree. Glue stones in place as rocks or boulders. Glue animals down to populate your scene. Voila! You have a diorama!
If you want to get more detailed, you can make fences out of toothpicks. Use clay to make rocks and additional items and creatures. Make buildings out of cardboard and paper. The possibilities are limitless!
Adult Cabin Fever Emergency Kit (this is for the craftsy or really bored adults or older kids)
This kit is the same as the Kids kit with the exception of the green and blue paper. Come on, you didn’t really think you could get away with using green paper for grass, did you? If you have a higher level of skill or boredom, it’s time to bring out the turf! Basic turf comes in containers as loose specks of foam. See our “Making Little Round Top” page for more on how to use it. If you want an easier and less messy option, you can find pre-made sheets of turf at a craft store. You can also buy kits that give you instructions and supplies for making ground cover (using turf), water effects, rocks, etc. They are very useful!
Go crazy with your diorama! Find a historic photograph that you like and recreate it. Stray from the typical grassy diorama and make an ocean scene. Build a mountain or a canyon. Allow broken toys to inspire you, or use the construction toys you already have to build features. Pick just one particular object to build from scratch, such as a favorite car or a ship. Maybe you’ll even want to try your hand at a Civil War cat!!
Just remember, above all else, when making a diorama, the only person who has to be happy with how it turns out is you. Other people can give their opinions, but that’s all they are: opinions. Your diorama does not have to be perfect or spectacular. So long as you are happy with it, that’s all that matters!
Stay well, and have fun trying something new!
Oh, and if you don’t end up trapped at home and bored out of your mind? Save the supplies for later. After all, summer vacation is coming…