As part of our unit study on Singapore tales based on the book Attack of the Swordfish and Other Singapore Tales (text by Charlotte Lim; illustrations by Alicia Tan Yen Ping; published by National Heritage Board), my kids made dioramas of their favorite tales.

Of the 6 tales in the book, my 5-year-old son picked Attack of the Swordfish, a story about how a young boy’s cleverness helped to save his seaside village from attacking swordfish and how this same cleverness led to tragedy.  In his diorama, he depicted the scene where the swordfish came to the coast and attacked the villagers (he loves fight scenes).

My 10-year-old daughter picked Sisters’ Islands, a story about two sisters who, not wanting to be separated when a tribe chief forcibly claims one of them to be his bride, chose to drown together in the sea.  Two small islands formed where the sisters had drowned.  In my daughter’s diorama, she depicted the scene where the tribe chief comes on a boat to the village where the sisters and their uncle lived.

My kids started out by painting the sea, the shore and the mountain backdrop and glueing the cotton clouds on their shoe boxes.

Diorama materials

Then, using cardboard and craft match sticks, they made kampong houses.  Finally, for the last and their favorite part, using clay, pipe cleaners and craft match sticks, they made people, trees, swordfish and a boat.

It was my kids’ first time to make dioramas and we all enjoyed it.  Making dioramas is a fun art project and a good way to reinforce learning about other people’s lives and stories :)

Attack of the Swordfish diorama

Sisters' Islands diorama