Nature has always been a great source of inspiration, peace, and harmony. Integrating natural elements into the classroom has several benefits. It not only creates a serene and calming atmosphere, but it also encourages children to learn more about the world around them.In this blog, I share six simple and practical nature-themed classroom ideas that will help your learning space bloom. From using found objects and creating learning stations to incorporating nature into your existing displays, these ideas will inspire you to bring the beauty of the outside into your learning. So, read on to get inspired to create your own nature-themed classroom and watch your students thrive!
Tip 1. Make the most of the occasion
There are *a lot* of globally recognized nature-themed events throughout the year. Like, A LOT! So – why not make the most of it and use them as the basis for some lessons and activities?
These events are recognized worldwide but there are also plenty more that are specific from country to country and they are a perfect opportunity to start important conversations with your students.
And even better? Most of these occasions have associated organizations who put a lot of time and effort into creating resources for kids, so you’ll have activities sorted too – winning.
Take Earth Hour for example – it’s a simple concept 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. As we know, teachers are experts when it comes to making a lesson out of just about anything. (As my kids discover every family holiday!)
One of my favorite 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 biased!)
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 open-ended it is. Nature-themed classroom ideas could 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, ahh well, pretty much 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 collectible items that are completely free that can be used in the classroom. Think – 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!)But 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. There are also LOADS of similar finds available from Target or Amazon.
Here are 12 current picks from Kmart that can be used and reused to bring your nature-themed classroom ideas to life.
Nature Finds Activity $3
Slow Down Book: 50 Nature Stories $15
Faux Grass Tiles $19
Ivy Garland $5.50
Artificial Plant Tile $13
Ivy Trellis $35
Fairy Garden $12
Mini Green House $15
Bug Atlas $12
My Green Activity Book $4
Artificial Fiddle Leaf $32
Leaf Decorations $5
Tip 3. Set up nature-themed learning stations
Whatever you call them – workstations, zones, provocations, or play stations – there are so many brilliant ways you can apply your nature-theme classroom ideas in zones throughout your space.
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 some fun. Print out little questions to guide their thinking and you’re done!MJLL brand ambassador @teachingwithmissamanda has an exceptional example of this kind of thing, and it’s safe to say I’m obsessed! And let’s be real, 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.
Love the use of the Modern Boho Vibes bunting. Love your work @acraftyteach!
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.
Amazing how the littlest things make the biggest impact!
Much like layering perfume over scented moisturizer (it’s an obscure analogy, but trust me on this), it’s the layering that brings a theme to life.
For example – you’ve got your designated nature play stations (where the lesson is nature related), and you’ve got your large-scale decorations (that support the nature aesthetic) but it’s the little spritz of smaller details that bring it all together.
Perfume analogies aside, here are 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!
Tip 5. Get by with a little help from some nature-themed classroom activities.
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 Inquiry Units and Lesson Plans. If I do say so myself. (And I do!)
Don’t take my word for it, check out all the reviews!
These resources have been carefully designed to make sure they’re Common Core Aligned and differentiated to fit students at varying levels. You can find units of work to 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.
Tip 6. Create a nature-themed classroom in 3 easy steps with a decor bundle.
If you’re short on time (and which teacher isn’t) a nature-inspired decor bundle could be the answer! As one of my most popular decor themes, I have four (yes FOUR!) collections dedicated to helping you add a touch of mother nature into your classroom.
First up is the OG Botanical collection – it’s been a long-time crowd favorite for a reason! With simple and elegant leafy designs, your students will feel like they’re learning in a peaceful garden oasis.
And for teachers who want to add a little boho flair, the Boho Plants collection is just the ticket. Think earthy tones, animal illustrations, and a whole lot of charm.