Diorama Story-telling (We made ours for Noni the Pony)

I was recently invited to the Colorific Showroom in Clayton where I met with some other Melbourne mothers. After some product browsing, we were encouraged to find our inner child in a MasterCraft challenge.

Each group of mums was provided with a range of quality Colorific arts and craft supplies from pipe-cleaners to plasticine.  I worked with the creative mums behind Mee Too, Modern Parent, Everything is Edible and Hey Bambini to create an underwater scene. It was a fun activity and I was left wondering how we could make the most of these scenes beyond their creation.

Our pearl divers and octopus

So after heading home from a fun and colourful morning, and armed with an array of craft supplies Cam and I were eager to get creative ourselves.

We decided to make a diorama of scenes from one of our favourite picture books. As Cam is only two, we searched the bookcase for a book with limited characters and simple scenes. Noni the Pony by Alison Lester (Allen & Unwin) seemed like the perfect choice. It is an endearing, rhyming story that was shortlisted for the 2011 CBCA Early Childhood Book of the Year. If you haven’t seen the book, take a look at the book trailer below:

If you have older children you could look at creating dioramas to tell the stories of more sophisticated books.

Our Approach:

  • We found a box to act as our shell.

  • After cutting the unwanted flaps from a cardboard box, we wrapped the carcass with tissue paper.

  • The pieces of cardboard were used to make the back drop scenes. In our case: night and day. The felt, pom poms and glitter came in handy here.

  • Using straws and images of Noni the Pony, Coco the Cat and Dave the dog, we created¬†puppets for our scenes.

‘Noni the Pony is shiny and fat.

Her best friends are Dave Dog and Coco the Cat.’

  • Using felt, tissue paper, toilet rolls, pom poms and a feather, we added grass, trees, a hay bed and a creek to our scene.

‘When the leaves rustle and sigh in the breeze,

Noni thinks monsters are shaking the trees.’

It is fun to tell the story using tactile objects. Sometimes we just recount the story from memory.

But best of all I love the way my daughter plays with the scene herself to extend the story and give the characters some other interests beyond those presented in the book.

These pictures aren’t great, but they’re certainly not staged. As I prepare Cam’s breakfast, she likes to sit in the morning sunshine and improvise with the scenes and characters. Her favourite story to tell is of Coco getting stuck up a tree.

Go on, have a go yourself. Make a diorama of the scenes from your favourite picture book.

And if you’re in Melbourne, now is the time to do it because Colorific has a huge sale (up to 75% off craft supplies and toys) until 5pm Saturday 12 November, 2011. Find out more here. Along with craft supplies you might also find an array of toys and bookish goodies such as personalised library bags, face paint, dress-ups, Dough Worx and mask making kits…………

Diorama Story-telling (We made ours for Noni the Pony)


  1. Love it Jackie. I am not overly crafty but I do love to help the kids with a diorama.. And doing acscene from a favorite book is a great idea :)

Leave a Reply