How to Make a Model Cave for Kids

You can make a model of this cave.
••• ice cave 2 image by Juraj from

Socrates used a cave to illustrate his point that we don't really know what is real and true and what is not. Archaeologists participating in the Western Belize Regional Cave Project's ongoing exploration and documentation of Mayan ceremonial cave use speculate about the meaning and purpose of drawings, bones and artifacts found within underground chambers. Geologists form theories about the forces that form and transform the caves themselves. Creating a model cave provides opportunity to test theories of cave formation and recreate the conditions that existed when cave artifacts were in use.

    Fill a round balloon with air until it has a 12-inch diameter.

    Mix plaster of Paris with water in a shallow plastic dishpan, according to package directions.

    Mold the balloon with soaked burlap.
    ••• sunny burlap background image by joanna wnuk from

    Dip coarse-weave burlap into the plaster mix. Mold the plaster-soaked burlap over the balloon in wrinkles and folds. Allow to dry for 10 minutes.

    Once plaster has begun to set but has not completely hardened, poke a sharpened awl through the burlap in multiple places to break the balloon and to create small holes all over the outer surface of your cave model.

    Carefully enlarge some of the holes on top of the cave model to 1/8-inch diameter or larger, but less than 1/2-inch diameter.

    Mix a second batch of plaster of Paris. Pour the plaster mix over your cave model so that it runs through the holes on top and into the cave. Allow to dry overnight.

    Stalagmites and stalactites result from mineral flows.
    ••• cave,stalactite,stalagmite,rocks,rock formations, image by Earl Robbins from

    Use scissors or a utility knife to cut a viewing hole in the side of your cave model. The flowing plaster should have become simulated stalactites and stalagmites.

    Place your cave model on an 18-inch square of unfinished 1/4-inch thick plywood or Masonite. Use Spanish moss, sisal fiber, twigs, coffee grounds, sand and sawdust to create a textured landscape for the approach to your model cave's entrance.

    Things You'll Need

    • 1 round balloon, 12-inch diameter
    • Plaster of Paris
    • Water
    • Plastic dishpan
    • Burlap cloth
    • 1 sharpened awl
    • Scissors
    • 18-inch square of 1/4-inch plywood or Masonite
    • Spanish moss, sisal fiber, twigs, coffee grounds, sand and sawdust

Related Articles

How to Make a Realistic Erupting Volcano
How Can I Build an Igloo for a School Project?
How to Make a Volcano
How to Make Famous Landmarks for a High School Project
How to Make a Dinosaur Diorama
How to Build a Boat for Science Class
Fun Science Experiments for Teens
How to Make a River Basin as a School Project
Smithsonian Volcano Kit Directions
How to Make a Model of Mars for 5th Grade
How to Carve Limestone
How to Make a Plateau With Clay
How to Make a Compass for Younger Kids
Fossil Hunting in Idaho
How to Make a Volcano for Kids Using Mud
About Minor & Major Landforms
How Was Devils Tower Formed?
How to Make a Model of Earth's Layers for 6th Grade
How to Make a 3D Volcano for a High School Project
How to Make a Whirlpool Science Project