Caves provide bat colonies a safe place for them to sleep after they spend their day foraging for insects at night. Bats are able to hang from the ceiling of caves to stay out of reach of their enemies. Recreating the intricate features of a bat cave’s stalactites and stalagmites for a school project may seem intimidating, but it can be done using basic art supplies. Students can create a diorama, a three dimensional depiction of a scene, while learning about cave formations and functions.
Draw the entrance to your bat cave on the bottom of the shoebox. Use a craft knife to carefully cut and remove the opening of the cave. Make the entrance large enough so that you can get a good view inside of the diorama.
Knead and flatten your clay so you can glue it to the sides of the box. You can glue down clumps of clay to give it texture or use a craft knife to create grooves and ridges. Use brown and dark brown markers to decorate the area around the cave entrance and the sides of the shoebox.
Form stalagmites twisting clay into spirals and glue them to the bottom of your cave. While the glue dries, create stalactites by rubbing small pieces of clay in your hand until it thins out and has a pointy end. Flip your diorama and glue the stalactites to the roof of your cave. Let the glue dry for an hour.
Paint the inside of the shoebox lid blue and set it aside to dry. Create various sized bats with black felt or construction paper and glue them to the lid once it is dry.
Roll up sheets of newspaper to create the bumpy cave interior. Fill in the corners of your cave with the rolled up newspaper and tape them down to the base. Use a rolling pin to roll out a thin sheet of grey clay and use it to cover the newspaper. Shape it around the paper so that it looks rigid like the inside of a cave.
Brush glue along the top of the box and place the lid on to seal the diorama.
Do not let children use the craft knife. Adult supervision is required for this project.
Remember that stalactites hang from the roof and stalagmites rise from the floor.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images