Igniting Critical and Creative Thinking

10 Reasons Why I Love an Ocean Theme Classroom

Have a new classroom and can’t decide on decor? Looking to freshen up an outdated theme in your room? Deciding on posters, labels, classroom library organization, and overall classroom decor can feel overwhelming. There are lots of things to consider when choosing a classroom theme. After all, you and the students will be spending many hours in the room. Here are 10 reasons why I love an ocean theme classroom and why it is a favorite theme for kids of all ages.

1. Kids Love the Ocean

The ocean is one of the most magical places on Earth. It is filled with wonder and mystery and so many amazing ocean animals. No wonder kids are drawn to it. I know I sure am!

Harness this love and curiosity through an ocean theme classroom. Incorporating images of ocean animals, the ocean, and beach scenes into your table signs, calendar set, bulletin boards, and a welcome sign will help to create a happy place that your students love coming to.

2. Sharks!

Let’s face it, even before Baby Shark was a phenomenon, kids thought sharks were cool. But now, they think they are beyond cool! Making an ocean theme classroom is the perfect way to incorporate student interests into your decor.

Your room can be filled with images of all different kinds of sharks that serve a purpose. Broken pencil jar, add a great white shark to the label. STEM tools bins, add a hammerhead shark to the label. Classroom first aid kit, add a nurse shark to the label. So easy and meaningful!

Besides sharks, there are many amazing ocean animals that students love. Dolphins, killer whales, and sea stars are just a few that can easily be incorporated into the ocean-themed classroom.

3. Calming Colors

Blue, is the perfect calming color to have in your classroom. And . . . the perfect color scheme for an ocean themed classroom. While the color blue is calming you don’t have to use pastels to create a calming classroom. Don’t be afraid of vibrant colors in your classroom decor. Your classroom can have a calming feel even with brighter colors.

Many elementary teachers cannot paint the room and are stuck with off-white or yellowing walls. Don’t worry! You can strategically place your posters and instructional tools to minimize those old and dreary walls.

You can easily frame out any bulletin boards in the colors of the ocean with some blue border or even add light blue light covers to feel like the class is under the sea.

Beyond that, many ocean-themed posters feature various blues that can help contribute to the calming nature of your ocean theme classroom.

4. Soothing Sounds

I love that having an ocean theme classroom allows you to easily carry the theme across the whole school day while also creating an optimum learning environment. For example, you can easily listen to the soothing sounds of waves while students are working independently.

There is a lot of information out there to show that background music and sounds can affect student engagement and concentration. Simply transport your students under the sea during each work session. There are hundreds if not thousands of YouTube videos of ocean waves. Pandora and Spotify also feature many options for ambient ocean wave tracks.

5. Connects to Science

As teachers, we are always looking for cross-curricular connections. What better way to showcase cross-curricular connections than by having a classroom theme rooted in science!?

Your ocean classroom theme will be filled with examples of different sea animals, plants, and more. Pointing these out to students can get them excited to dive into science. You can even open your science lessons with fun facts about creatures seen in the room!

6. Perfect for Animal Classification

Not only can ocean decor get students more excited for and immersed in science, but you can also directly use it for instruction! If you teach about animals or animal classification, you will have a plethora of examples right on your walls and labels and bulletin boards for students to explore.

The ocean is filled with mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish. As a fun activity, you could have students label each of the sea creatures present around the room based on their classification. Talk about a no-prep activity!

7. Timeless

Not many classroom themes can span grade levels. Themes used in kindergarten seem babyish by the time students reach 3rd or 4th grade. I’ve yet to have this problem though with an ocean theme classroom. Primary students through upper elementary students love the ocean theme. These popular designs are timeless for a reason!

This theme can easily grow as students grow to make it perfect for any age classroom. In younger grades, you can use more clip art and cartoon representations that they might be drawn to, and in older grades, you can use more real-life depictions or even real photos as part of your decor.

This timeless theme is great and can be used again and again, even if you change grade levels.

8. Appeals to All Students

When choosing a theme for your classroom it can be difficult to find a gender-neutral theme that appeals to both boys and girls. But the ocean seems to have something to appeal to every learner which is a big reason why it is a favorite theme.

Having a theme that all students find interesting or connect to makes your classroom an inviting space for all. It says, everyone can find their place here. That’s a great message to send at the beginning of the school year.

9. Decorating is a Breeze

To bring the beachy, ocean feel into your room you can simply use a palette of blues and whites making it very easy to find decor! Utilize blues in table numbers, desk name plates, multi-use labels, alphabet cards, word wall letters, and so many other places in the classroom. Then use white containers and organizers. No searching for specific colors or trying to find enough of each color container to make your theme work.

Beyond that, you can easily find some accents to tie the room together simply by heading to the beach (or craft store if the beach isn’t close). Use seashells and driftwood to really make the theme come to life. Plus, you can sprinkle some live plants around the room for a pop of green that will feel just like kelp against your other decor.

Some other accessories that really add to the feel of an ocean theme is fish net that can easily be strung from the ceiling or in the corner of the room in your class reading area. You can also use an inexpensive sand bucket to hold supplies around the room. In fact, at the end of summer, you can find many ocean and beach themed items on clearance!

Classroom themes can get complicated but an ocean theme classroom is clean, simple, and won’t break your wallet! You can do a great job setting up your classroom for the first day of school without spending a lot of money or time searching for theme resources.

10. Fantastic Picture Books

Again, an ocean theme classroom has so much potential to carry across your curriculum.

There are many amazing picture books about sea life that you can display in your classroom and students can peruse when given time for independent reading.

Also, many of these sea life picture books are great for teaching important reading and social-emotional skills.

With main characters like Pout-Pout Fish, Big Al, and Rainbow Fish you can’t go wrong bringing an ocean theme into your classroom.

Want to Turn Your Classroom into an Underwater Wonderland?

No need to spend hours searching for ocean-themed decor for your classroom. Create an ocean theme classroom easily with this Ocean Theme Classroom Decor Bundle! This bundle of decor is editable so that you can easily customize it to meet your needs.

Could you use some more classroom decor tips? I’ve got a whole post that will help you take your classroom from blah to awesome.

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hey y'all

I'm Susan!

I’m Susan Morrow and I help overwhelmed teachers create thinking classrooms where students discover the joy in learning and achieving.

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