It happened this past week-end, the school project that I knew would eventually come. The school project that strikes fear in many parents. A shoebox turned on its side. A shoebox filled with objects arranged to form a particular scene; the diorama.
Being that I am a crafty person, the diorama was a welcome challenge. The note that was in Monkey’s backpack specifically said that parents should assist their child in creating their masterpiece but the student is to do the majority of the work. Ha-ha!! This is a project for parents. Seriously, I must say that Monkey did an extensive amount of work on her diorama.
Even though I didn’t fear this project, it still posed two challenges for me. First, there was the issue of the shoebox. We needed a shoebox. I’m a self-proclaimed shoe-aholic and except for tennis shoes and slippers, all my shoes are kept neatly in their original boxes. Which pair of shoes would lose their “home”? Which shoebox would be donated to Monkey’s school project? Would I have to buy a new pair of shoes, a pair that I wouldn’t keep in the box?
The second challenge that I faced was Monkey’s choice as to what she wanted to depict in the shoebox. The diorama needed to match the animal on which she did a report for her class. Even though she is referred to as our Monkey, actually her favorite animal is the lion. The easy choice for her project would have been the lion or even the monkey. There are plenty of lions and monkeys in her room. We could have used any of these plastic figures for her project, even the yellow, red and blue Barrel of Monkeys toy monkeys could have been used – well, maybe not those.
Of course Monkey didn’t go the easy route. She chose a different animal, the cheetah. The only cheetah in our house is a picture of Chester Cheetah on the bag of Cheetos that is sitting on top of our refrigerator. We could have cut out this picture and made a diorama around Chester Cheetah but something tells me that this is not what her teacher had envisioned. I’d have to search for toy cheetahs.
After Monkey explained to me what she wanted her diorama to look like, an African savannah, on came the hunt for cheetahs, materials for the project, and a new pair of shoes.
Our safari took us to several stores hunting for toy cheetahs. After finding no toy cheetahs, my mind briefly went back to the thought of Chester Cheetah. Maybe we would need to resort to using him?
Monkey and I decided to focus our efforts on looking for the materials needed to create our shoebox scene. We journeyed to Michael’s, the perfect store for craft supplies.
First stop, the scrapbook paper aisle. Right away, we found blue paper with clouds, perfect for the African sky. As we further roamed the aisles, Monkey found a display of plastic toy animals. Imagine that, a kid finding the toys! Our hunt was a success. Monkey took the last two cheetahs.
We trekked through the aisles to see what else we could get to decorate the shoebox. Jackpot! A diorama section; Michael’s has a section devoted to the diorama. Everything we needed was there. Monkey found a kit that gave us all that we needed to make grass, brush, trees, and more. The perfect African savannah was in this box. Also in the diorama section, a large plastic base on which to put everything and a cardboard backdrop on which the blue cloudy paper could be easily attached. Oh wait, buying the diorama in a box would mean no shoebox and no shoes. I guess that’s okay; it’s not like I needed the shoes. I think I have a pair or two or three or . . .
This past Sunday, Monkey and I were stuck to the kitchen table – literally. With paste, glue, and other sticky stuff, Monkey and I created trees, grass and bushes from our kit. It truly became a mother-daughter bonding experience.The diorama project was a success but one thing was missing, a new pair of shoes in my closet. Oh well, I’ll have to buy a few pairs this week-end; shoes that I won’t keep in their “homes”. Who knows when we might need to build another diorama and I want to have plenty of empty shoeboxes ready for that moment.