It was definitely a creative challenge for me to do a craft inspired by where I live, as suggested by Kim. Because I live in Dubai, and the sights and sounds here are amazing! But to most people, the word Dubai would bring images of the sand dunes and camels. The truth, in fact, is very different. This glamorous city is more of a concrete jungle (a beautiful one, though!) and to see the desert, you have to go to the outskirts.

– Life Over C's desert in a box desert diorama

Recommended Grade Level:

Desert in a Box Supplies:

  • Clear Container
  • Sand
  • Card Stock
  • Glue

The craft we made is about capturing what represents a desert. This is an activity, play, and discovery exercise rolled into one. It would be great for toddlers and preschoolers. 

Here’s what you need to make Desert In A Box:

  • A clear plastic box (takeaway containers will work well, as long as the top is clear)
  • Sand
  • Yellow card stock
  • Printout/Stickers/Drawings of camels and palm trees (I used an open-source clip art website to download and print ours)
  • Glue, Sticky tape
  • Contact paper or double-sided tape
how to make desert in a box diorama

This is how you can make the Desert in a Box Diorama:

  1. Cut out the card stock to fit the bottom of the box. 
  2. Stick cutouts of the camels and palm trees onto it. These should ideally be small, to create perspective.
  3. Put a little glue on the card to create a sand dune and sprinkle sand on it.
  4. Once the sand is dry, attach the card to the bottom of the box using glue or tape.
  5. Fill the box with enough sand to hide most of the camels in the back.

My toddler helped me stick the camels and the sand on the stock and when it was done, he loved moving the sand around in the box to watch the camels disappear! This craft also makes a good keepsake or gift. 

Do you love this activity?

Pin it for later!

– Life Over C's desert in a box desert diorama

author avatar
Kim Staten Owner and Curriculum Designer
Kim Staten is a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 16, and 12. Kim has taught at the preschool, kindergarten and early elementary levels for 16 years. With extensive experience working with special needs children, including her own children with special needs (Rett Syndrome, autism, anxiety, and ADHD), she creates hands-on curricula and activities that are great for working with children of all abilities in the classroom and at home. Hands-on, accessible activities are her passion. 

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  1. Hi. This is such a great idea. I’m thinking if I can copy all of the contents of this post. We’re going to have a summer camp and I’m thinking of doing this for the Kids. Please give me permission.
    Would really appreciate it.
    I will not forget to give you citation.
    God bless.