How to Make an Ocean Project Out of a Shoebox

Ocean life can be portrayed within a shoebox.
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Elementary school students might be required to study various animal habitats in a science course. Such habitats include oceans. When students have a full grasp of which plants and animals are found in the ocean, they can create an ocean project to demonstrate their newly found knowledge. Projects such as dioramas can be constructed within a shoebox to recreate the ocean environment.

    Tape several newspaper sheets to your school desk to protect it from paint and glue.

    Remove the shoebox lid and paint the inside of the entire shoebox blue. Set aside the shoebox until the paint dries.

    Turn your shoebox on its side so that you are peering into it -- in either a vertical or horizontal position.

    Glue plastic ocean animals inside the shoebox. Include sharks, lobsters, jellyfish, starfish, dolphins, corals, octopi, oysters, seals, angelfish, clams and striped marlins. If you do not have any plastic ocean animals, you can cut pictures of them out of a magazine or construct them out of clay.

    Add plastic ocean plants or pictures of ocean plants to the shoebox. Coralline algae, kelp, seagrass and red algae are examples of ocean plants that can be added to your diorama.

    Things You'll Need

    • Tape
    • Newspaper sheets
    • Shoebox
    • Paint
    • Paintbrush
    • Craft supplies
    • Plastic ocean animals and plants
    • Pictures of ocean animals and plants
    • Clay
    • Glue


    • Sand, seashells and pebbles can also be added to the bottom of your shoebox to give your ocean floor a more realistic appearance.

      Hang your ocean animals from the shoebox ceiling with a piece of string and some tape instead of gluing them in.

      If you want to show someone exploring the ocean habitat, add a scuba diver figurine.


    • Hot glue guns might be needed instead of school glue if heavy figurines are used. Younger children should allow an adult to handle the glue gun, as serious burns can occur if the glue gun is not used properly.

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