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5 Elementary School Classroom Decoration Ideas, Just in Time for Back-to-School

young children in classroom no teacher

Decorations turn a boring classroom into a lively learning environment, especially for elementary school kids. But doing it without breaking the bank can be a challenge.

Here are some cheap ways to decorate a classroom. And we’ve got some great ideas if you’re drawn to a jungle theme or Hollywood theme for your elementary school students.

1. Pick a Theme

Choosing a theme can help you keep your spending under control, because you’ll be able to plan everything from the bulletin boards to the door decor and will never have to wonder if you have enough stuff.

You might want to change up the theme every now and then to stave off boredom. Here are some popular ones:

  • Jungle
  • Neon
  • Hollywood
  • Camping
  • Wizard
  • Frog
  • Bee
  • Ocean
  • Woodlands
  • Beach
  • Space
  • Subject-based themes, i.e. music for a music classroom.

These make good classroom decoration ideas for kindergarten and 1st-grade students.

You can also go with changing out the theme every month to reflect the time of year and the holidays. Seasonal decorating is also some of the easiest, as there are always cut-outs available to reflect everything from St. Patrick’s Day to Christmas.

2. Shoot for a Festive Classroom Atmosphere

You want your kids to feel like this year is going to be fun and exciting from the moment they walk through the door.

Example 1: Turn Your Classroom into a Jungle-Themed Forest

toucan with jungle leaves and flowersStart with green party streamers. Get them hanging from the ceiling! Most classrooms are pretty big, so it helps to create a centralized point. You could use some large specialty paper in alternating shades of green to create huge jungle fronds in a whimsical circle, then stream from there.

Now, look at the windows. Try adding more jungle fronds over those. Don’t forget some fun cut-outs of tropical flowers and animals like monkeys, toucans, or silly snakes that you might find high in the trees. Layer your leaves and your cut-outs to give your classroom a lusher, more 3-dimensional look.

You can adorn the walls with more animals, along with palm-tree cut-outs and different tropical-themed decorations. Animal print bulletin board borders can be combined with a few more giant leaves to fit your announcements into the theme, along with letters that match the colors of your flowers.

A big solid piece of paper can give you a nice backdrop for your exterior door. Yellow or a paler green might work well here, as would sky blue. Add some more cut-outs and some cheerful lettering, such as “Welcome to Our Study Safari!”

For an extra touch, many teachers won’t think of, set your desks into a table arrangement and add vases full of artificial tropical flowers, and add some blue and green hanging lanterns.

Example 2: The Hollywood-Themed Classroom

clapperboard classroom decoration ideaYou can do a lot of different things here. Cut-outs of clappers, popcorn, stars, and sunglasses are all a lot of fun. For color themes, think red, yellow, white, and black.

You can use black paper, white paper, and yellow paper to create a movie kiosk. You could even change out the lettering every week to give sneak peek’s at the week’s lessons. Want to assign seating? Give every student his or her own Hollywood Star to mark their place.

You could use a huge red banner to create a “Red Carpet Recognition Wall.” You can add a black-and-white photo of each kid. Add a yellow star with a description of what they’re being recognized for under each photo. You can add multiple stars throughout the year detailing all kinds of great behavior.

You can create a “Now Showing” bulletin board to showcase student work. And a “Lights, Camera, Action” bulletin board for assignments.

Don’t forget to showcase your whiteboard or chalkboard. Border it with red paper, and add more stars. If you’re really feeling ambitious you could use red cloth with yellow ties to make a theatre-style grand-premier curtain border.

You can do all sorts of stuff with your door. A red paper carpet stretching back to the door’s window insert is a fun possibility, along with a black backdrop and yellow lettering. You could also create black and yellow paper spotlights and use cut-out letters to spell out something like “Spotlight on Success.”

You could even swap out your normal desk chair for a Director’s chair!

You might check out our Oscars post for even more classroom decorating ideas.

3. Consider Reward Items Based on Your Classroom Theme

hollywood star classroom decoration ideaWant to give your classroom an almost party-like atmosphere that stresses the idea that learning is fun? Extend the theme to little giveaway items you can pass out for good behavior or outstanding academic performance.

Kids love decorative pencils and fun erasers in all kinds of shapes. If you’ve chosen a jungle theme you can grab animal erasers, for example.

Got a space theme or a Hollywood theme? Star stickers for A papers are great! If you’ve taken your classroom to the jungle you might want to pick up happy little animal stickers instead.

4. Find a store that will treat you well.

You can save even more money by making sure you use a store which acknowledges and honors the fact that you’re using your own funds to go the extra mile for your students. For example, we offer a 10% discount to teachers. Just tell us you’re a teacher when you check out.

Pick up folders, notebooks, journals, marking pens, and craft supplies at the same time you’re getting your decorations and you’ll be well ahead of the game, and prepared for the students whose parents don’t have the means to pick up the full school supply list.

5. Have fun decorating your classroom!

Starting a new school year is usually exciting for the kids. Hopefully, you’re excited too. The best way to create a classroom kids will love (even curmudgeonly high schoolers) is to unleash your own sense of fun and play.

Do that, and the kids will pick up on your energy and drive, giving you a chance to build their own in turn.

Speaking of energy, we’ve got lots of it here at Paper Plus, along with all the supplies you could possibly need to make your classroom look amazing this year. Head on over to 1629 San Pablo, Berkeley, CA to stock up.

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