Desert Diorama
Planet Earth

Planet Earth
Pictures are great two-dimensional souvenirs, but a shoebox diorama is another alternative that allows you to capture your memories in 3-D. This activity will show you how to make a Desert Diorama so that you can keep a little piece of the Arizona landscape in your room!


While visiting Arizona, collect sand, a few favorite rocks, and other memorabilia to use in a diorama construction once you return home.

Sit a shoebox on its side inside the lid to form an "L" shape. This forms a deep window into your desert mini-world and gives you ample room to decorate your "landscape."

Inside, paint the big desert sky with a brilliant orange sunset and your favorite Arizona mountain view--from the Superstition Mountains to the Grand Canyon.

Carpet the box with sand and rocks (larger ones in front) to create the desert floor. For a more realistic effect, cut out pictures from your vacation of saguaro cacti or desert wildlife to add to the scenery: bend each picture at the bottom to create a tab and then glue the tab to the diorama to keep your picture upright and in place.


Your Arizona memories will spring to life when you look at your desert diorama. The diorama also provides a perfect visual reminder of the geology, plants, and wildlife that make Arizona so unique. Once your diorama is finished, you can reenact Wild West stories with your desert diorama as the stage!

Supplies & Materials

-shoebox & lid
-paints & brush
-sand and rocks
-Arizona vacation pictures of desert flora and fauna

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My Trip

est. visit time: 0.0 hrs

Best Audience

Age: Children (4-8yrs), Pre-teen (9-12yrs)
Duration: 45-60 minutes
Cognitive Level: 1-3 Grade, 4-6 Grade
Activity Level: Low
Attention Span: Med
When to do it: During Your Trip, After Your Trip