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Today was a very special day – rainforest day! This is my favorite small world! I have been diligently trying to build this is my head for some time, but couldn’t quite visualize the backdrop. I was looking for inspiration and I found it – good ol’ Martha Stewart – of course! I was so inspired after seeing her jungle, I finally was able to conceptualize it and build our own. C’s reward for the week was picking out a new set of miniature animals and thankfully, he picked the Rainforest Animals.
What is a rainforest?
It’s a dense evergreen forest with an annual rainfall of at least 406 cm (160 inches). The Amazon Basin is covered by the Amazon Rainforest which is the largest in the world! The Amazon rainforest has been described as the “lungs of our planet” because it continuously recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen, with a significant percentage of the world’s atmospheric oxygen being produced in this region. Fact Source
Now, let’s break it down! Total cost = $15. This was our most expensive small world to date, but only because we didn’t have the animals.
First, we recycled a cardboard box. We cut 3 side off and left one remaining to extended the small world. Tip: Use a plain corrugated box, not one with a picture and sheen; took 3 coats to paint versus 1 coat on the raw cardboard. We chose grass-green acrylic paint from Michaels, $3.
While its drying we printed an image off the web for the background. This works best on heavier card stock, 65 lbs. Adhere photo to the inside, then we added a wave board to contain the mess during play. I glued 3 wave strips together in total from one piece of 12×12 paper.
Now, the fun part – the branches and moss!! This looks a lot more complicated than it really is, trust me. Locate a few sturdy branches outside. Cut them a little large than the box. Make a small hold in the box at each end. I used a pair of scissors and twisted them in a circular motion. Don’t pierce the box too much or it will just pop through the box. Fill hole with hot glue, then add more hot glue to the end of the stick. Pop in place and add a little more around the rim of the branch for extra support. I dabbed a little hot glue in a few spots and places a pinch of moss of the glue. I added a small piece of burlap before gluing it as and added detail for the gorilla, not entirely necessary. I repeated the same process minus the burlap in the opposite direction. I added two cardboard shelves. Paint, then fold down and hot glue.
Next, add the foliage. We bough 2 small bundles from the Dollar Tree, $2 and splurged on a nice plant from Michaels, $4. I used small square green plant foam to hold the foliage in place, also Dollar Tree. Lastly, we added rocks, blue gems, a lot of moss and our rainforest animals! Let’s go deep into the Amazon River Basin!
It’s a beautiful day at the basin of the Amazon River! The blue “gem” waters are sparkling and red-eyed tree frog has decided to take a ride on a lily pad!
Look out! Look out ants, it’s an anteater! The scaly green iguana is taking a rest in the shaded stick corner!
Sssssss snake is out hunting for food as he crosses the Amazon River. Watch out snake, red-eyed tree frogs are poisonous!
Gorilla had built a little cove up in the trees! Ow-ah-ow-ah! I spy a beautiful bird too!
Spider-monkey is lounging – swinging from tree to tree on a hot summer day!
The clear blue Amazon waters are so reflective and magical! Careful though animals, those waters can get pretty rough!
Hey look! It’s a Toucan enjoying a snack!! Watch out for Spider-monkey – he gets wild on those vines.
Red-eyed tree frog is taking a ride along the Amazon River.
It’s a great day to go exploring deep in the Amazon River Basin! Here’s the complete set-up!
C took a small break to admire his snail friend – too cute!
This was such a magical day full of imaginative fun ― Amazon style! With all the different foliage textures, gems, rocks, and moss ― it was a great sensory experience!
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36 thoughts on “Rainforest Small World – Amazon River Basin”
Wow Heather, you did an amazing job! I’m a huge small world fan myself and I cannot wait to show my preschooler these images in the morning … I think we’ll have our weekend project sorted! I’ll be pinning this to my small world play board!
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Thanks Ann and thanks for the pin! Happy you like it. Love to see your finished project! Be well. 🙂
This looks amazing, I love all the detail you added! We will have to try this one out sometime, it looks like so much fun!
thank you! 🙂 We love small world play. 🙂
Amazing! We are going to recreate this for James’ Year 1 project; explorers.
Hi Liz. Thank you! That’s so exciting! I’d love to see pictures! 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!
Wow – this is amazing! Such a fun and creative way to learn about the rainforest! Great job. 🙂
Hi Emma. Thanks so much! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this one. What a neat concept for sensory play! Just goes to show there are so many ways to make it sensory play! Come and share again please!
It came out wonderfully! We did something similar in the spring. Thank you for sharing on Sharing Saturday!!
Thank you Carrie! 🙂 It’s definitely C’s favorite!
My preschool students set up a pond in the sensory table and used plastic baggies on their hands for webbed feet like ducks. I like your rainforest arrangement. http://www.brennaphillips.com/pretending-to-have-webbed-feet-like-a-duck
thank you Brenna! That sounds so fun! I love the baggie idea!
This is amazing! I love it!!!!
Thank you so much! 🙂 Little C is running around imitating the spider monkey — too cute!