Ocean Diorama:
Fun Crafts For Kids With Ocean Creatures

Making an ocean diorama out of a shoebox creates a secret world which you can fill with all sorts of fabulous ocean creatures. 

We loved the way adding a secret peephole in the back of the box gave you the feeling that you were entering a real undersea world.

You can use exactly the same idea to make a:

  • rainforest scene
  • dinosaur world
  • whatever subject fascinates your kids!

The free crafts skills you'll need for this homeschooling project are basically easy and fun if a little fiddly.

We've made ours while homeschooling our children William and Catherine at High School age, but you can adapt the project for younger kids.

You'll still get great results; you just need to help more yourself with the crafts skills and go with the flow on whatever fantastic ocean creatures your kids come up with!

ocean diorama
make an ocean diorama
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Making An Ocean Diorama

You'll need:

  • A shoebox or any free rectangular box with a lid
  • Small square of blue tissue paper
  • Blue card stock for the ocean floor
  • If possible, blue iridescent paper for the sides of the ocean; otherwise more blue card stock
  • Homeschool crafts paper and pens for drawing your ocean creatures
  • Black yarn for hanging your sea creatures
  • Glue stick

cardboard box

Free Crafts For Kids

You'll have fun with your kids making this homeschool ocean diorama in a box.

In case you're wondering, 'diorama' just means a miniature scene.

  • Take the lid off your shoebox. Line the inside bottom with blue card stock and stick it down with glue.
  • Cut a square peephole 2.5cm x 2.5cm (1in. x 1in.) in the end of your box. This is the fun bit!
  • At the other end, you'll need to cut a larger hole 7.5cm x 5cm (3in. x 2in.) which will let the light in.
making a whale
  • Tape or glue a piece of blue colored tissue paper 10cm x 7.5cm (4in. x 3in.) over the larger hole. This is where you'll use a lamp to shine light through to reveal the wonders of your homeschool ocean world.
  • Finally, line the sides of your box either with blue card stock or, better still, blue iridescent paper and glue it down.

Our homeschooling ocean diorama crafts project was great for letting William have a go at practical homeschool Math skills like measuring. You can see him having fun cutting holes in our homeschool shoebox!

Ocean Creatures

fish drawing

Now's the time for trying out some free homeschooling art skills as you draw all the creatures who are actually going to live in your ocean diorama.

You can get lots of free sea creatures to color in and print out at FirstPalette.com.

sea creatures free printables

Fun Crafts For Younger Kids

If you want to enjoy homeschooling fun crafts for kids with younger children, I suggest you get them to start here by with making fun fish pictures and prepare the shoe box yourself.

You could even dangle plastic sea creatures from the lid!

With younger kids, it would also be a great idea to add in suggestions from our free homeschool unit studies Ocean Creatures project creating an ocean scene with real seashells and fingerprints for wave crests.

If you have a look you'll see there are lots of free and fun crafts you can do with kids aged 5-7, including trying a homeschooling science experiment in the bath and watching a free live web cam from Monterey Bay Aquarium.

kids whale drawin

You can choose any sea creatures you want - just remember they've got to be the right size to dangle from the homeschool shoebox lid without disappearing through the sea floor!

See if you can spot William and Catherine's homeschool hatchet fish, clown fish, and blue shark. There's even a homeschool lantern fish, which seems very appropriate!

I have to say we haven't been too scientifically accurate in our choice of ocean creatures! You'll see bottom-living tripod fish co-existing quite happily with their surface, saltwater and freshwater chums.

In fact, our homeschooling ocean diorama is a happy jumble of ocean creatures but who cares? Think how many interesting facts your kids will learn about underwater life as they choose the ocean creatures they want to draw.

aquarium fis

You can spark your kids imagination by looking at ARKive: Fish which has great free images of the TOP 50 endangered fish, including fascinating species like the great white shark, anglerfish and pygmy seahorse.

And how about comparing your diorama with the real thing by going on a field trip to your local aquarium?

Fun Crafts For Kids

Homeschool Jellyfish


There are lots of ways to practice fun crafts in this free homeschooling ocean diorama! See how we've used homeschool orange acetate to make this jellyfish? Acetate is great for letting the light through and adding a different 'feel' to your ocean creatures.

Free weed is fun to make if you cut it out of some homeschool green card stock and stick it onto the sea floor.

Homeschool origami crab

origami cra

William loves homeschool origami. There are lots of free crafts for kids' books which show you how to make ocean creatures. This crab came from one of them and adds a 3-D aspect to our free homeschooling diorama.

Your Homeschooling Ocean Diorama

lid of ocean dioram

Catherine is showing you how to attach your ocean creatures.

This is the fiddly bit of your homeschooling fun crafts.

You need to thread a needle with yarn. Tape one end onto your sea creature and take the other through the lid of your shoebox where he's going to hang.

We found most homeschool sea creatures needed to be suspended by two pieces of yarn at the front and the back to keep them level.

Tape down the yarn which you've pulled through onto the top of your shoebox lid.

shoebox ocean diorama

Shine the light through the back of your homeschooling diorama, look through the peephole and get drawn into your own free undersea world.

You could use this fun homeschooling project to create free dioramas for all sorts of subjects.

Our free homeschool science Rainforest for Kids Activities would make a perfect candidate. You'll see we show you lots of fun homeschooling crafts skills, including making the biggest spider in the world and a foldout pitcher plant.

You could easily make a fun rainforest diorama to go with it!

Don't forget the dinosaurs! Our free homeschool dinosaur activities would be great turned into a diorama. Imagine spotting a T-Rex roaring through the peephole!

I hope you can see how successful our homeschooling ocean diorama was. We'd love you to have a go too!

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