Creating an Ocean Theme in Your Elementary Classroom

When it’s time to teach your elementary kids about oceans and sea life, it’s a great idea to decorate your classroom in an ocean theme.  There are lots of ways of doing this.

Here are a few favorite ones:

Give the children a preview of the types of sea creatures that they’ll be learning about starting next week. Ask them if they have favorites. If so, write on the board each of their name and their favorite sea creature.  Give them a day or two to find out as much as they can about their favorite. Have them write interesting facts about the creature on index cards.  You can provide magazines or books to help them.

  • Have the students draw their favorite fish and cut it out, as you hang green and blue crepe paper across the classroom, simulating seawater.
  • During the week when you begin teaching about ocean life, continue decorating the room by having the children make jellyfish out of paper plates that they color.  Give them glue or tape to hang yellow, red and / or pink crepe tentacles from their “jellyfish.”  Hang these from the ceiling near your crepe “waves.”
  • Spend some time brainstorming with your students things that could be found on the floor of the ocean. Some ideas include a sunken ship, a clam, a starfish, an octopus cave, etc.  You can decorate areas of the room as these landmarks.  For instance, you could decorate a bookshelf to look like a sunken ship.
  • At the end of the week, ask the children what they’ve learned about the ocean and the creatures that live in it.  There are also several good educational films and film strip series that you can show, as a way of finishing your ocean unit.
  • Finish the week with some sea-related treats to eat.  For instance, you could make starfish-shaped cookies.  Or create an “edible aquarium.” Make this by adding some blue food coloring to soft cream cheese, which you put on melba toast.  Top it off with a few goldfish crackers.

By the way, be sure to let your students take home the sea creature that they created earlier in the week, as a memento of the fun and educational time they had.  Their parents are sure to enjoy displaying these!

Here is our fantastic card deck for identifying and describing facts of many Ocean Creatures.  It contains 4 games in one complete with all instructions:

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