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(When designing a child’s room, you want to create an atmosphere that inspires and stimulates them mentally. The room should be interesting to the child, and should reinforce both rational thinking, and creativity. One way to achieve this goal is with a fun science based theme, which will present a topic in the natural world in an exciting manner.)
The jungle is a dark and mysterious place, full of dense shrubs, towering trees, and shadows within which any number of strange animals could be lurking. It is a place of predators and prey. It is a place of exciting adventure. It is also a place that is full of the opportunity for learning more about animals, plants, and nature in general. If you present it in the right way, a jungle-themed child’s room can be an engaging, inspiring project that may encourage them to develop a long term love of learning and nature.
When preparing to develop a jungle themed décor, the first thing you should do is research. Get as many books as you can on the various animals and plants that live in the jungle. Encyclopedias and websites can provide good background knowledge, while books and magazines will give you more specific facts. Make copies of any pictures that inspire you, and take notes on anything that you and your child find interesting.
When you are ready to start applying your research to decorating the area, you will want to begin by building the jungle’s vegetation. Buy large pieces of construction paper in as many shades of green and brown as you can. Lay the paper out on the floor or a large table, and trace the various plants you learned about in your research onto the paper. If you know the name of the plant, or anything about it, write this on the back of the tracing. Carefully cut out the shapes that you created using either scissors or an exact-o knife. Always be very careful when involving sharp tools in any project that you undertake with your child. When the plants have been cut out you can use double sided scotch tape to adhere them to the walls. Thumbtacks can also be used, but be careful using them around any child for whom they may become a choking hazard. Start with just a few trees and plants, and add more until you feel that your jungle is dense enough.
Another method you can use for creating plants is to create stencils of the many different shapes that you want, and then trace them onto your walls with paint or colored pencils. This will give the room more of a finished look, and will almost certainly be more attractive than cut-out designs. The drawback to this method is that it is much more permanent than construction paper and removing the stenciled drawing when you are ready for a new look will be more difficult.
To create the look of hanging vines, dip pieces of rope into green paint and wait for them to dry. Then string them from ceiling to wall across the room. Be careful that the rope is out of the reach of the child, and doesn’t present a strangulation hazard in any way. Small monkey figurines can be hung from the rope to give it added effect.
3D plants will solidify the illusion you are creating. To create a vegetation model, buy plastic plant pots and attach long cardboard tubes, upright, to the bottom of them using tape. These tubes can be found in the center of most rolls of wrapping paper. Use construction paper to create the leaves and the branches of your plant, then cut them out and attach them to the top of the tube. If you find that the construction paper is too weak to create a solid branch, try placing two pieces of construction paper around a piece of cardboard to provide support.
An even better way to create a full jungle look is to bring in real plants. This should be done cautiously and with full consideration that a child can harm or damage a plant if they are not aware of the responsibility of having a living thing in their room. Before adding plants to the area, discuss with the child all of the implications that the plant will have. It is a life, in their room, and they are responsible for guarding the plant against harm, from themselves and others. If you feel the child is ready, you should move only one or two plants in at a time. Give the child some of the responsibility for watering their plants, and carefully monitor its health. If the youngster proves that they can handle having a living entity in their room, you can continue to add to their plant collection.
Once you have your vegetation in place, you can start to populate it with the many strange animals that live in a jungle. Using the construction paper cut out method you used to create the wall plants, draw and cut out some of the animals that you researched. When placing them on the wall, situate them slightly behind some of the leaves and branches of the plants that are already there in order to better incorporate them into the scene.
Expand on your flat animals using stuffed animals and statues. Animal toys and figurines can be arranged in action poses against the plant background. Stuffed animals can be scattered around the room, hidden behind dressers or with faces poking out of the shadows of the closet. Using items such as these makes the room more interactive, and turns the whole setting into a toy.
A simple finishing touch is to make a recording, with your child, of the various animal noises that you would hear in a jungle. Watching National Geographic and episodes of various other nature specials can give you an idea of what a jungle would sound like. You will want the recording to be at least five minutes long in order to be effective.
As you place the different elements in the room, write technical information that you researched on the back and underside of the items. That way, when it is time to change the theme, you and the child can revisit many of the facts that you learned while building the decorations. Compliment the child on any facts that they remembered, and go over the information to freshen it in their heads.
Working with your child to develop a themed room offers many chances for meaningful interaction with them. Use this experience as a way to get to know them better. Ask them questions; find out what they like, and how their minds work. As you develop the look and feel of the room, you will also be developing and deepening your relationship with the child.
Children should not try any of these ideas out themselves without the consent and supervision of an adult. Caution should always be used in any activity that involves a child. Make certain that none of your decorative efforts puts your child in danger in any way.
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