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Beach Theme Classroom Decor Ideas & First Day of School Activities

Since the beach is one of my favorite places in the world, it’s only natural that I chose it as one of my classroom themes! It’s my happy place and since I want my classroom to also be a happy place, it makes sense that I do a lot of beach decor.  Because if I’m happy then my students are happy too 🙂

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite beach theme classroom ideas as well as some fun activities for the first days of school. (If the beach is not your thing, you may want to check out my other favorite theme – DOGS here).

beach theme classroom ideas & first day of school activities

Student Welcome Letter

We usually get our new class list right after the Fourth of July, so one of the first things I prepare for my new students is a welcome letter.

I still send them in the mail even though email is easier and faster. I feel that students still get excited about receiving something special through the mail and it lets me send them their name tag to wear on the first day of school.

I have found that my young students LOVE receiving these letters each year. It helps them get excited about school and it also helps ease some of those first day jitters.

Here is an example of one I send for our beach theme:

beach themed welcome to school letter

Open House & First Day Treats / Awards

Another thing that I’ve found which eases first day or meet the teacher jitters is giving students a little treat bag either on the first day of school and / or at Open House/Meet the Teacher Night.

I make simple treats for Open House by placing some Goldfish crackers or Swedish Fish in plastic baggies and attaching a gift tag that says “Welcome! You are “o-fish-ally” a kindergartner!”.

back to school student gift beach theme

For the first day of school, I fill beach buckets from the Dollar Store with supplies & a few treats and set them on students’ desks.

back to school student gifts - beach theme

I also like to end our first day on a positive note, so I give students these fun first day awards.

first day of school award beach theme

I also use similar awards throughout the year.

beach theme student award

Name Plates & Name Tags

In addition to sending name tags to students that they can wear, I also make name tags for their cubbies. It’s important for young students to understand that they have a special place for their belongings and it also helps them recognize/learn their names.

beach theme name tags

I place longer name plates on student desks.  These name plates have an alphabet line, a number line, and left & right labels that students can use for quick reference throughout the year.and they also help them both recognize their names and learn how to write/spell their names.

I also put longer name plates outside our classroom above their coat hooks. These do not have the alphabet & number lines.

beach theme desk name plates

Welcome Display & Banners

I like having a welcome display on my door that features students’ names because it not only creates a nice classroom environment but also makes students feel they belong.  I also hang some welcome banners (one outside in the hall and one inside the classroom).

beach theme welcome bulletin board
welcome banner beach themed
beach theme welcome banner

Classroom Labels & Word Wall

It is important during the early stages of a child’s development to have literacy or language all around them; therefore, I label as many things as possible with beach themed labels such as materials, classroom centers, group areas, etc. and utilize a word wall.

beach theme classroom label
beach theme labels
classroom labels beach theme
beach theme word wall

Star Student of the Week

I love doing a star student of the week display because it helps me to get to know and understand my students better and it also helps my students get to know each other.

A different student is featured each week. I send home a letter and ask parents to help their child fill out the form and to send in some photos. When students see themselves featured along with photos of themselves in the classroom, it helps them to understand that this is their community and they are a valued member of it.

star student of the week beach themed

The star student’s answers are displayed along with any photos and each day they get to talk about one of them.

beach themed star student of the week

Classroom Helpers

Students need to learn from the very first week how to be responsible members of the classroom community.  A great way to do this is to give them classroom jobs.  I like to make my classroom helpers display visual so that students can see what is expected of them, what they are supposed to do, and their name associated with the job or task.

class helpers beach theme

Alphabet & Number Posters

Alphabet and number posters have been an important part of my classroom for as long as I can remember and I recently started creating them so that they could coordinate with my classroom theme.

alphabet posters beach theme
number posters beach themed

Colors & Shapes Posters

I also create posters for colors and shapes as well. I hang larger ones on the wall and then print smaller ones to use for group work and centers.

shapes posters for classroom
colors classroom posters beach

First Day of School Activities

Sand Play Dough

A good thing to have on hand to help young students work out those first day jitters is play dough. I make a batch of sand play dough to go with the beach theme. It is easy to make and students love it!

To make sand play dough simply mix together 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of warm water, 1 Tbsp oil, and 1 cup of sand.  If the dough is too dry and crumbly, add more oil and water. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.

Place a small amount on students’ desks or place it in a center along with some sea shells or beach toys.

Go Fish Getting to Know You

Students love this fishing activity! They use a fishing rod with a magnet as bait to catch a fish with a name on it.

When they catch a fish, we read the name on the fish and have that student say something about themselves or answer a question about themselves.

name recognition fishing activity

Beach Blanket BINGO

This is a fun way for me and my students to learn names! I show a BINGO card with students’ pictures on it and then pull a name out of a sand bucket. That student stands up and then we mark off their picture. You can also play with student names and give each student their own bingo card. When all the spaces on the card are marked it’s a bingo.

beach blanket bingo

Buckets of Fun Student Made Bulletin Board

I love having student-made bulletin boards in my classroom because hanging their art and class work conveys to students that it is valued and important. We create this display on the first day.  Students decorate a shovel and bucket, then draw something that they want to learn on the bucket. They then glue real sand in the bucket.

beach theme back to school bulletin board

We Get Along Swimmingly Sharing Activity & Display

One of my favorite books to read at the beginning of the school year is The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. Since young students can sometimes have a hard time sharing, I do this fun sharing activity after reading and discussing the book and then make a classroom display from their projects as a reminder of what we learned.

You can find more details about this activity by clicking here (I did a separate blog post on it).

Rainbow Fish bulletin board, classroom display

I have made my Beach Theme Class Decor & Back to School Activities available in my TPT store so you can save time creating a fun, beach themed classroom for your students. CLICK HERE to download and see more details.

beach theme classroom decor

Just need beach themed accents for your classroom? These are available individually:

beach theme name plates name tags
Beach Theme Alphabet Posters
Beach Theme Number Posters
Beach Theme Calendar Numbers
Editable Classroom Banners Beach Theme
Beach Theme Star Student of the Week

Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

I’m Tina and I’ve taught preK and K for 20+ years. I share fun and creative ideas that spark your students’ love for learning. 

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