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60+ Themes for Classrooms at the Elementary Level in 2021

This post will be all about themes for classrooms, but let’s be honest. Having a colorful, themed classroom is not as important as classroom organization, classroom management, and research-based teaching practices when it comes to student academic success.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put time and effort into designing your learning environment with purpose and craft. Creating a space for your students that is optimized for student learning is important (and fun)! 

Setting up my classroom each year was always something I considered to be a job perk and not a chore. It was a chance to express my creativity before the real work begins at the start of a new school year.

If you are like me and love carefully crafting your space, then keep reading because this post is for you! I dive into everything you need to know about themes for classrooms and suggest resources you may find helpful.

a collage of classroom theme ideas including circus, flamingo and bee

This post will answer the following questions:

  • What is a classroom theme?
  • What are the benefits of implementing a classroom theme? 
  • How do I choose a classroom theme?
  • How do I create a classroom theme?
  • What are good themes for classrooms?

What is a Classroom Theme?

A classroom theme is a topic or idea that the decorations and components of a learning environment are centered around. The possibilities for a themed party are practically endless and limited only by the teacher’s imagination. Some example of classroom themes are a beach theme classroom, camping theme classroom, and jungle theme classroom.

5 Benefits of Implementing a Classroom Theme

Over the years, I have set up classrooms both with and without classroom themes and each had their benefits. Here is what I have found to be beneficial about using a theme:

  • It enables a teacher to create a cohesive, well-planned look that is exciting to students. 
  • Teachers who use them report that the parents and administrators have taken notice and complimented them on their efforts. 
  • Themes can be developed over time with elements added slowly.
  • Using a classroom theme as opposed to simply decorating with a color scheme (or no plan at all) enables teachers to incorporate items they may already have at home or items that are readily available at party stores and dollar stores. 
  • A classroom theme shows creativity in a time when it feels like standards and testing are taking over.
a collage of classroom themes including nautical, bees, jungle, beach, camping, and movie star

How to Choose the Best Classroom Theme for You

There are many factors that can help you decide what type of theme you want to use in your classroom:

Geographic Area

Teachers on both coasts find that using a beach classroom theme or a nautical classroom theme ties in with the area in which they teach. I’ve also known a lot of teachers in Texas who implemented a western classroom theme with their design.  

Subject Areas

Reading teachers may gravitate towards a genre-based theme such as a fairy tales classroom theme or mysteries classroom theme. Social studies teachers may find a patriotic classroom theme complements their lessons while those setting up computer labs or STEM / STEAM labs find value in a technology classroom theme. Science teachers love a space classroom theme. The rock and roll classroom theme is popular in all classrooms, but especially with music teachers. 

School Specific

I’ve had teachers use my construction classroom theme resource because their schools were remodeling or expanding and they were literally teaching at a construction site. Schools that are focusing on going paperless or simply being more environmentally aware like the recycling classroom theme. School-wide themes such as teamwork or being the best you can be gravitate toward a sports classroom theme or a superhero classroom theme respectively. Another popular, school-specific option is to select a classroom theme based on your school mascot. I often see teachers decorate with a dog classroom theme or even a frog classroom theme for that reason.

Thematic Units or Units of Study

I used to begin each school year by reading Charlotte’s Web paired with a non-fiction unit about spiders. A farm classroom theme provided the perfect backdrop. An apple classroom theme or a garden classroom theme are great for a unit on the life cycle of plants depending on what time of year you are teaching it.

Special Events

I often used a specific theme for the annual open house when families would come to view student work. I found it helped to create a cohesive look. Over the years, I did open houses that had camping classroom themes, Hollywood classroom themes, and Wizard of Oz classroom themes.

Just for Fun

You don’t need a reason to pick a certain theme. Many teachers pick them just because they sound fun. This is true for things such as a pirate classroom theme, circus classroom theme, monkey classroom theme, owl classroom theme, safari classroom theme or a monster classroom theme. Some base them on student interests such as racing classroom themes or dinosaur classroom themes while other teachers share their own hobbies or passions such as a cooking classroom theme or a travel classroom theme

To Match The Space

While some classrooms are truly a blank slate, others start off with a less than ideal color backdrop. Teachers have used these to their advantage. I’ve had teachers use a bee theme because they were given a classroom with black furniture and yellow walls or a ladybug theme because there was so much red in the classroom.

a wall of classroom bulletin board borders in a store

How Do You Create a Classroom Theme?

I suggest following these steps in order to plan and implement a classroom theme of your choice:

1. Pick a theme.

Browse the list of more than 60 classroom themes at the bottom of this post for inspiration!

2. Download the free planning pages.

Download these Clutter-Free Classroom Theme Planning Pages and print the three organizers that are specific to the classroom theme you selected.

3. Check out the blog post related to your theme.

The Clutter-Free Classroom Blog has published over 40 individual posts dedicated to our classroom themes. Visit the blog post pertaining to the theme you chose to find ideas for color schemes, bulletin board trims, decor, bulletin boards and decorative accents, a list of related books to complement the theme, and tons of printable and digital resources to bring the theme to life for you. 

4. Fill out the free planning page for your theme.

Use the organizer to make notes of ideas from the post.

5. Visit the Clutter-Free Classroom Pinterest boards.

Check out the Pinterest boards to find additional photos and ideas for inspiration. I have set up separate pin boards for each of the themes featured on the blog. As you look through the pins be sure to make more notes on the planning pages to keep the ideas organized.

6. Inventory what you already own.

Inventory fabrics, trims, and other decor elements you already have available in your classroom to determine what you can repurpose. 

7. Make a shopping list and set a budget.

Begin purchasing things as time and money allow and set them aside for when you can get into the classroom to set up. If you are using any of my classroom decor resources you can start printing and preparing them.

8. Reach out to family and friends.

Ask friends and family for items they may be willing to part with that will complement your theme.

9. Set up the essentials in your classroom.

When you can get into your classroom, begin setting up the essentials. Put bulletin board fabric and trim up. Add the essentials and management tools like calendars, job charts, alphabets, and number charts, and assess how the classroom is coming together. 

10. Decorate your space.

I caution you not to add too many things just because they “fit the theme.” Try to be purposeful in what you select to include and find that perfect balance of beautifully decorated without being cluttered or distracting. Leave plenty of space to display student work and anchor charts for learning.

What are Good Classroom Themes?

Here are some good classroom themes:

apple classroom decor ideasideas for elementary teachers setting up a classroom with globeschool classroom decor ideas
APPLE CLASSROOM THEME IDEASAROUND THE WORLD THEME IDEASBACK TO SCHOOL THEME IDEAS
BUY APPLE CLASSROOM DECORBUY AROUND THE WORLD DECORBUY BACK TO SCHOOL CLASSROOM DECOR
beach classroom decor ideasbee classroom decor ideasbird classroom decor ideas
BEACH CLASSROOM THEME IDEASBEE CLASSROOM THEME IDEASBIRD CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY BEACH CLASSROOM DECORBUY BEES CLASSROOM DECORBUY BIRDS CLASSROOM DECOR
board game classroom decor ideascactus or succulents as classroom decor
BOARD GAME THEME IDEASCACTUS CLASSROOM THEME IDEASCAMPING CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY BOARD GAME CLASSROOM DECORBUY CACTUS CLASSROOM DECORBUY CAMPING CLASSROOM DECOR
chalkboard classroom decor ideascircus classroom decor ideasconstruction classroom decor ideas
CHALKBOARD CLASSROOM THEME IDEASCIRCUS CLASSROOM THEME IDEASCONSTRUCTION CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY CHALKBOARD CLASSROOM DECORBUY CIRCUS CLASSROOM DECORBUY CONSTRUCTION CLASSROOM DECOR
cooking classroom decor ideascrayons classroom decor ideascupcakes classroom decor ideas
COOKING CLASSROOM THEME IDEASCRAYON CLASSROOM THEME IDEASCUPCAKE CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY COOKING CLASSROOM DECORBUY CRAYON CLASSROOM DECORBUY CUPCAKE CLASSROOM DECOR
detective classroom decor ideasdinosaur classroom decor ideasdog classroom decor ideas
DETECTIVE CLASSROOM THEME IDEASDINOSAUR CLASSROOM THEME IDEASDOGS CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY DETECTIVE CLASSROOM DECORBUY DINOSAUR CLASSROOM DECORBUY DOGS CLASSROOM DECOR
eucalyptus as a classroom theme for elementary teachersfairy tale classroom decor ideasfarm classroom decor ideas
EUCALYPTUS CLASSROOM THEME IDEASFAIRY TALE CLASSROOM THEME IDEASFARM CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY EUCALYPTUS CLASSROOM DECORBUY FAIRY TALE CLASSROOM DECORBUY FARM CLASSROOM DECOR
farmhouse classroom decor ideasfox classroom decor ideas
FARMHOUSE CLASSROOM THEME IDEASFLAMINGO CLASSROOM THEME IDEASFOX CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY FARMHOUSE CLASSROOM DECORBUY FARMHOUSE CLASSROOM DECORBUY FOX CLASSROOM DECOR
frogs classroom decor ideasgarden classroom decor ideasgnome classroom decor ideas
FROG CLASSROOM THEME IDEASGARDEN CLASSROOM THEME IDEASGNOME CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY FROG CLASSROOM DECORBUY GARDEN CLASSROOM DECORBUY GNOME CLASSROOM DECOR
hollywood classroom decor ideasjungle classroom decor ideasladybug classroom decor ideas
HOLLYWOOD CLASSROOM THEME IDEASJUNGLE SAFARI CLASSROOM THEME IDEASLADYBUG CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY HOLLYWOOD CLASSROOM DECORBUY JUNGLE SAFARI CLASSROOM DECORBUY LADYBUG CLASSROOM DECOR
lemons as a classroom theme for elementary teachersllamas as a classroom theme for elementary teachersmagic classroom decor ideas
LEMON CLASSROOM THEME IDEASLLAMA CLASSROOM THEME IDEASMAGIC CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY LEMON CLASSROOM DECORBUY LLAMA CLASSROOM DECORBUY MAGIC CLASSROOM DECOR
mermaids as a classroom decor theme for elementary teachersmonkey classroom decor ideasmonster classroom decor ideas
MERMAID CLASSROOM THEME IDEASMONKEY CLASSROOM THEME IDEASMONSTER CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY MERMAID CLASSROOM DECORBUY MONKEY CLASSROOM DECORBUY MONSTER CLASSROOM DECOR
a mountain classroom theme for elementary teachersnautical classroom decor ideasspace classroom decor ideas
MOUNTAIN CLASSROOM THEME IDEASNAUTICAL CLASSROOM THEME IDEASOUTER SPACE CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY MOUNTAIN CLASSROOM DECORBUY NAUTICAL CLASSROOM DECORBUY OUTER SPACE CLASSROOM DECOR
owl classroom decor ideaspatriotic classroom decor ideaspirate classroom decor ideas
OWL CLASSROOM THEME IDEASPATRIOTIC CLASSROOM THEME IDEASPIRATE CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY OWL CLASSROOM DECORBUY PATRIOTIC CLASSROOM DECORBUY PIRATE CLASSROOM DECOR
racing classroom decor ideasa bright colors rainbow classroom theme for elementary teachersrecycling classroom decor ideas
RACE CAR CLASSROOM THEME IDEASRAINBOW CLASSROOM THEME IDEASRECYCLING CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY RACE CAR CLASSROOM DECORBUY RAINBOW CLASSROOM DECORBUY RECYCLING CLASSROOM DECOR
rock and roll classroom decor ideassports classroom decor ideassunflower classroom decor ideas
ROCK AND ROLL CLASSROOM THEME IDEASSPORTS CLASSROOM THEME IDEASSUNFLOWER AND BURLAP CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY ROCK AND ROLL CLASSROOM DECORBUY SPORTS CLASSROOM DECORBUY SUNFLOWER AND BURLAP CLASSROOM DECOR
superhero classroom decor ideastechnology classroom decor ideastravel classroom decor ideas
SUPERHERO CLASSROOM THEME IDEASTECHNOLOGY CLASSROOM THEME IDEASTRAVEL CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY SUPERHERO CLASSROOM DECORBUY TECHNOLOGY CLASSROOM DECORBUY TRAVEL CLASSROOM DECOR
a bright colors tropical classroom theme with decor for elementary teachersan under the sea classroom theme for elementary teacherswestern classroom decor ideas
TROPICAL CLASSROOM THEME IDEASUNDER THE SEA CLASSROOM THEME IDEASWESTERN CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY TROPICAL CLASSROOM DECORBUY UNDER THE SEA CLASSROOM DECORBUY WESTERN CLASSROOM DECOR
wizard classroom decor ideaswizard of oz classroom decor ideas
WHIMSICAL CLASSROOM THEME IDEASWIZARDING CLASSROOM THEME IDEASWIZARD OF OZ CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY WHIMSICAL CLASSROOM DECORBUY WIZARDING CLASSROOM DECORBUY WIZARD OF OZ CLASSROOM DECOR
woodlands classroom decor ideasThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SQUARE-IMAGES-CLASSROOM-DECOR-SOCIAL-1024x1024.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SQUARE-IMAGES-CLASSROOM-DECOR-SOCIAL-1024x1024.jpg
WOODLAND CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY WOODLAND CLASSROOM DECOR
AQUA CLASSROOM THEME IDEASBLACK AND WHITE CLASSROOM THEME IDEASBLUE CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY AQUA CLASSROOM DECORBUY BLACK AND WHITE CLASSROOM DECORBUY BLUE CLASSROOM DECOR
GREEN CLASSROOM THEME IDEASGREY CLASSROOM THEME IDEASORANGE CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY GREEN CLASSROOM DECORBUY GREY CLASSROOM DECORBUY ORANGE CLASSROOM DECOR
PINK CLASSROOM THEME IDEASPURPLE CLASSROOM THEME IDEASRED CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY PINK CLASSROOM DECORBUY PURPLE CLASSROOM DECORBUY RED CLASSROOM DECOR
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SQUARE-IMAGES-CLASSROOM-DECOR-SOCIAL-1024x1024.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SQUARE-IMAGES-CLASSROOM-DECOR-SOCIAL-1024x1024.jpg
YELLOW CLASSROOM THEME IDEAS
BUY YELLOW CLASSROOM DECOR

Read our Other Classroom Decor Blog Posts

Grab the Free Classroom Decor Guide!

We hope you found this information about themes for classrooms was helpful! Next, we would love for you to download this free classroom decor guide for elementary teachers. It has more helpful tips and ideas to assist you in setting up your classroom!