How to Make a Southern Plantation Project

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Bring the history of the American south alive to children with a southern plantation project. According to Scholastic, studying life on a southern plantation is an entryway into learning about slavery and the American Civil War. Create a southern plantation project by creating a simple diorama from a cardboard box. Elements, such as the mansion or main house, slave quarters and crop fields, need to be included.

    Tape the bottom of a medium-sized cardboard box to secure. Cut off the top flaps with a utility knife. Adults need to perform this task. Paint the exterior of the box white with a paintbrush, and paint the inside of the box a light blue color. The interior is where the diorama is constructed. Allow it to dry completely.

    Plantation houses were ornate and usually had several stories.
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    Glue two 8-oz. milk cartons together side-by-side, to form the base of a mansion or main house of the plantation. After it dries, wrap the two cartons with white paper to hide the writing on the cartons. Cut off any excess paper and glue down.

    Fold brown construction paper in half and place it on top of the cartons to form a roof. Cut off any excess roof and secure with glue. Draw rows of windows on the main house with markers. Add a door to the front of the house.

    Turn the diorama box onto one of its long sides, with the opening facing out. Apply glue to the bottom of the main house, and place it inside the diorama box to one side. You need room for the crops and the slave houses.

    Wrap red construction paper around the sides of another 8-oz. milk carton for the barn. Cut off excess paper and glue down. Fold another piece of brown construction paper to form the roof. Cut off excess paper and glue to secure. Draw a barn door with markers, and glue the barn in a back corner of the diorama.

    Cut an empty juice box in half lengthwise to create two slave homes. Wrap the exterior with brown paper and cut off excess. Glue down and use brown paper to form roofs. Draw a door and two windows for each slave house.

    Glue the slave houses near the barn, away from the main house. Brush glue onto the floor of the diorama near the barn, to create a square area for the crop field using the paintbrush. Sprinkle on model dirt.

    Brush glue everywhere else on the ground for grass. Sprinkle model grass throughout the floor of the diorama. Glue model trees around the main house.

    Things You'll Need

    • Medium-sized cardboard box
    • Tape
    • Utility knife
    • White paint
    • Paintbrush
    • Light blue paint
    • 3 8-oz. milk cartons
    • Glue
    • White paper
    • Scissors
    • 5 brown construction papers
    • Markers
    • Red construction paper
    • Empty juice box
    • Model dirt
    • Model grass
    • Model trees


    • Create rows of crops by alternating model grass and dirt for the project.

      Cereal boxes, large match boxes and craft sticks can be used for this project to form buildings.

      Plastic farm animals can be glued down too.


    • Adult supervision is needed for young children.


About the Author

Charong Chow has been writing professionally since 1995. Her work has appeared in magazines such as "Zing" and "Ocean Drive." Chow graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. She also received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the California Institute of the Arts.

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