Five Tips for Creating a Nature-Themed Classroom

We’re getting to that point in the race where the oranges come out - where our energy reserves are waning, and we’re silently counting down to the next term break. With Term 1 almost over in Australia and spring break almost arriving in America, we’re nearly there BFFs!

Much like those mid-match oranges, today I thought I’d give you a little burst of inspo (minus the Vitamin C). I’ve gathered up some of my favourite tips, examples and ideas for a nature-themed classroom. Get ready for loads of links and lots of real-classroom inspiration! 

 

Tip 1. Make the Most of the Occasion

There are *a lot* of nature-themed occasions at this time of year. Like, A LOT! So - why not make the most of it and use them as the basis for some lessons and activities.

A pink graphic with a white background lists upcoming nature-themed holidays and occasions. It includes: 1st of March, First day of autumn. 3rd March, World Wildlife Day. 6th March, Clean Up Australia Day. 22nd March, World Water Day. 26th March, Earth Hour. 3rd April, World Aquatic Animal Day.
Add these dates to your calendar BFFs and don’t forget to check out the relevant websites for a veritable gold-mine of resources!

While some of these occasions or holidays vary from country to country, they’re an easy way to start important conversations with your students. 

And even better? Most of these occasions have associated organisations who put a lot of time and effort into creating resources for kids. And BFFs, you know we love a good-quality resource around here! 

Take Earth Hour for example - it’s a simple occasion that invites people across the globe to turn their lights off for an hour. Designed to spark conversation about climate change, it acts as an accessible entry point for kids to discuss complex issues. The Australian site even contains resources that are curriculum aligned - how good is that!

And don’t forget - your nature theme can flex throughout the year too, so use holidays and changing seasons as unit fodder. I mean, I know you know this already! Teachers can make a lesson out of just about anything. (As our kids discover every family holiday!)

One of my favourite examples of occasion-related decor comes from the gorgeous @abcswithmissb. Don’t you just love how she’s incorporated pumpkins into her classroom? (Though I will admit, her use of my Boho Rainbow Bundle makes me slightly biassed!)

A teacher stands in front of a whiteboard filled with display items in a neutral palette with orange highlights. We see a diagram of a pumpkin, and a poster with the words ‘PUMPkin up good behaviour.’ There’s also a TV screen with the Halloween scene from Harry Potter.Using the Boho Rainbow Classroom Decor Bundle Halie from @abcswithmissb has created a stunning fall display.

 

Tip 2. Keep it Simple - use Found Objects and Decor that can be Reused

One of the things I love most about a nature theme is how versatile and open-ended it is. A nature theme can include everything from animals, to ecosystems, forests, deserts, camping and more. The sky's the limit! (Then again, the sky would fit into the theme too!)

If you’re anything like, ah, all of the teachers I’ve ever met - chances are you don’t have a huge budget for classroom decor and displays. That’s where this theme really comes into its own. There are so many collectable items that are completely free that can be used in the classroom. Think - pinecones, rocks, shells, autumn leaves, sand and even soil. (If there’s anyone that can find 86 uses for a pinecone, it’s a teacher!)

If you do have a little budget to play with, here are some current items from Kmart Australia that can be used (and reused) in a bunch of different ways. While I have no affiliation with Kmart (#notspon) I am a teacher and therefore I love it.

A pink graphic with a white background shows a range of different items that fit into a nature theme.Here are 8 current picks from Kmart that can be used and reused for your nature themed classroom. 
  1. Artificial Grass Table Runner $5
  2. Easter Fence Crate $5
  3. Artificial Ivy Garland $5
  4. Artificial Lavender in Seagrass Basket $4
  5. Tall Artificial Palm Tree $29
  6. Wooden Farm Animals $5
  7. Artificial Ivy Trellis $35
  8. Artificial Dollar Gum $6

 

Tip 3. Set up Clever Learning Stations

Whatever you call them - work stations, zones, provocations or play stations - there are so many brilliant ways you can apply your nature theme in zones throughout your classroom. 

For example - you could set up a sensory table with found objects and ask kids to record their observations. Add a magnifying glass, a mirror and a clipboard to add to some fun. Print out little questions to guide their thinking and you’re done!

The very clever @teachingwithmissamanda has an exceptional example of this kind of thing, and it’s safe to say I’m obsessed! And I can’t lie - the way it pairs with my Modern Boho Vibes Alphabet Posters? Also obsessed.

Creating a science and nature display that fits within your colour scheme is no mean feat, well done Miss Amanda!

In a similar vein, the exceptional @hellormrsredfern has some brilliant and flexible zones within her classroom: her investigation zone, her reading corner (swooning over those stools!) and her story table activities are straight up inspirational! 

What is it about great decor that makes work so inviting? I want to sit at the investigation table! Brave @hellomrsredfern. The ‘Investigation Table’ letters come from the Spotty Boho range.

I mean - that’s nature themed goals right there!

And her story tables? Swoon!

Another simple idea is to set up a basket of objects like the clever Heather from @enchantedclassroom below, and invite kids to write a story including all the elements. 

Such a clever writing prompt @enchantedclassroom!

 

Tip 4. Make the Functional Fabulous

Another simple way to carry a theme throughout your classroom, is to integrate it into your existing displays. In many classrooms - if not most - you’ll find door displays, reading corners, birthday displays, visible learning goals, maths displays and space to showcase great work. 

Each of these displays can be used to flesh out your theme, even if they’re not strictly nature related. Here are some gorgeous examples of teachers who’ve done just that.

This image shows a reading corner with an ivy lined archway, a leaf-print rug, cushions that look like wood stumps and bunting that spells ‘Reading Garden’.

Love the use of the Modern Boho Vibes bunting. Love your work @acraftyteach!

BFFs, trust me when I tell you, the tiniest things will make a difference. I just love the way these teachers have paired their MJLL resources with a little faux-ivy. It’s ads the perfect oomph to the Learning Focus, Visual Timetables and Maths Displays.

Three images show three different displays. The first two images show whiteboards with learning intentions and visual timetables, and the third shows a range of different numbers, units and counting displays at a desk.
Three images show three different displays. The first two images show whiteboards with learning intentions and visual timetables, and the third shows a range of different numbers, units and counting displays at a desk.
Three images show three different displays. The first two images show whiteboards with learning intentions and visual timetables, and the third shows a range of different numbers, units and counting displays at a desk.
Amazing how the littlest things make the biggest impact!

Much like layering perfume over scented moisturiser (it’s an obscure analogy, but trust me on this), it’s the layering that really brings a theme to life. 

For example - you’ve got your designated nature play stations (where the lesson is nature related), you’ve got your large scale decorations (that support the nature aesthetic) but it’s the little spritz of smaller details that really brings it all together.

Perfume analogies aside, here’s some examples of teachers who’ve made the functional fabulous. They’ve turned their teacher trolleys, toolbox drawers and labels into an extension of their theme.

Make the functional fabulous!

Both of the images above feature the ever-popular Botanical Collection, which is a natural fit for a nature theme!

Another person who goes all out with a theme - so beautifully - is Tegan from @young.minds.bloom. Her Instagram account is filled with beautiful applications of my Botanical Collection. Every application is creative - from her ‘meet the teacher’ moments, to her ‘student of the day awards - I love it all!

Tegan, your Reels make it look so easy! Love your work. 

Tip 5. Get by with a Little Help from your Friends

While much of my focus so far has focused on the aesthetic side of the nature-theme, I think some of my *most* useful resources are my learning units and lesson plans. If I do say so myself. (And I do!)

A graphic shows a range of different lesson plans and learning units that focus on a nature theme.

Don’t let me convince you on these, check out the reviews!

They’re very carefully designed, to make sure they’re Common Core Aligned and differentiated to fit students at varying levels. They cover everything from bugs, to water, to narrative writing and beyond. They include printouts, lesson plans, lesson ideas, worksheets and so much more.

In Tegan’s Reel below you can see a few of the printouts from my unit covering bugs. While a gorgeous display like this isn’t actually created in 10 quick clicks (if only!), it’s certainly made easier with great resources. 

Tegan has done it again! Such a gorgeous extension of her classroom theme.

I’m not exaggerating when I say this - I hear from teachers all the time who tell me that these lesson plans have saved them precious hours, days and even weeks of work. And that, BFFs, is exactly what I’m here for. 

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this roundup of classroom inspo. You guys inspire me daily, so it’s only right I share that inspo around. (Like a plate of mid-match oranges, perhaps?)

Don’t forget to tag me in your classroom photos, and click pick up a nature themed resource today!

 

Miss Jacobs Little Learners Nature Themed Classroom

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