Shoebox, small plastic toy animals, old magazines and catalogs (or paper and markers), scissors and glue, optional: popsicle sticks, pom-poms, and pipe cleaners
Almost all kids have little plastic animal figurines. This project gives your child something new to do with them. Take some old magazines and catalogs, and cut out pictures of scenery -- mountain ranges, jungles, forests, etc. Alternatively, your child can draw his or her own scenery. Then glue your scene to the bottom of the inside of a shoebox, and turn the box on its side so that the image is facing out. Your child can then take her little animals and create a scene. This is a great project for an afternoon after you've visited the natural history museum. You can also, if you're really creative, use pom-poms, popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners to create rocks, trees, flowers, and other scenic elements for your diorama.