Draw different kinds of sea animals, including corals and bottom dwellers (e.g. starfish, crabs, clams, etc.) on white construction paper. You can also find animals from old magazines or print out animal pictures. We have these animal printables that you can print out on cardstock:
Color and cut out the animals.
A box positioned standing up emphasizes depth, giving you more space to include a variety of creatures that live in different ocean zones or depths.
Glue some animals and corals onto the background. You can also paint the details, if you like.
*A vertical box orientation is just a general guide. You can always change it depending on which part of a coral reef habitat you are focused on. For instance, if you are highlighting the bottom dwellers, a horizontal position is probably better.
Make side, bottom, or center tabs for your sea creatures. These will allow the animals to be attached to box walls and floor. There are a number of ways to make the tabs:
a.) L-shaped tabs - make an L-shaped paper tab and glue this at the back of the animal. Position the tab at the bottom edge of the animal to make a bottom tab or at the sides for a side tab.
As an option, you can add real rocks or other objects that can break the flatness of your diorama's ocean floor and provide ledges for the animals to rest on. Besides real rocks, you can make fake ones out of small paper bowls (cut into quarters), egg carton sections, or small boxes. Paint them, if you like. Glue them on with white glue or a glue gun.