Thinking INSIDE the box–A duck habitat diorama.

When I was in first grade, we happily learned our alphabet via The Letter People, and accomplished other amazing tasks like jumping rope across the playground at recess.  (uphill both ways!)

Fast forward *ahemwaytoomanyyearsahem* and first graders are writing 2 page stories and reports about animals with accompanying habitats.   Of course, we found out about this habitat half way to it’s due date, thanks to unchecked Friday Folders over spring break, but that’s another point entirely.

I think she did pretty well (insert parental bias here).  Not only did she research the mallard duck habitat, she also decided to insert depictions of facts she learned about the ducks into the project.

There are no male ducks anywhere to be found in this habitat “because it is spring (note the flowering spring tree) and the drakes fly away after the moms lay the eggs”

All the ducks are painted as accurately as a first grader can, and the duck dabbling for food can just be seen behind the mama duck’s head in this photo.

And the nesting duck can be removed to show the 1-13 eggs that are laid in the grass-lined nest.

Aside from the scooping of the Styrofoam, the molding of the birds and a quick tree painting tutorial, she did it all herself.  Crafty and detail oriented.  That’s my girl!

Until next time…

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  1. nikimeiners says:

    Very impressive!!!

  2. See Carla there are families like yours that got the crafty-gene
    and then ones like mine that did not. She’s and you are so talented!


  3. I love this idea, my daughter has to do one for her project. What materials did you use to create the ducks? It looks like you used Styrofoam to set the scene of the land and lake.

    1. Wanda, the ducks are air-dry clay. I helped shape them, and once they were dry she painted with acrylic paint to add some detail. Styrofoam for the land/lake, and artificial plants poked in for the reeds. Have fun creating!

  4. How did you make the water look real? What materials were used?

    1. Hi Michelle, the lake is carved out of the Styrofoam base, then painted with acrylic paint. She used a cheap sponge brush to dab the paint into the styrofoam to get all the white spaces covered. The water doesn’t look “real” like a glassy surface, but a deep blue base color and a slightly lighter blue brushed over a few spots does give it some depth. I hope that helps!

  5. Jessica Toler says:

    It’s so neat! What about the “grass”? Is it also styrofoam dabbed with paint. My daughter researching for her 3rd grade diorama and loves the water, shoreline, and grass.

    1. Hi Jessica! The grass is also acrylic paint, with some tall grass-like pieces of faux floral greenery used around the water. I hope that helps!