Classroom Themes on a Budget: Tips & Ideas

It's that time of year. I'm getting excited for summer. I'm getting nostalgic about the current year. And my mind is spinning with how I will set up and decorate my classroom for the new school year. I kind of love a classroom theme. For years I painstakingly changed it up every. single. year. 

I started with a beach theme
It made me happy. 
Especially in the winter. 

After that I did camping, western, jungle/safari, detective/mystery and Hollywood themes. I was the first to create classroom theme packets on Teachers Pay Teachers and have blogged about a wide variety of featured themes for several years now. 

{Be sure to check out my classroom themes page for ideas and photos for just about every theme you can think of.}

While I often get the itch to do another theme (I know my 3rd graders would love a sports or rock and roll theme), I am loving being more focused on color schemes and patterns in the classroom. My current classroom uses the printables from the Blackline Design Bundle printed onto bright cardstock.

However, since I'm still a bit of a theme addict, I like to live vicariously through others. I know a lot of people are hesitant to take on a theme because of the cost. Admittedly, it can be a very expensive process. BUT, it absolutely doesn't need to be.

While I was at Dollar Tree yesterday I came across so many things that could be used to turn a classroom into a themed environment. I wanted to post a few today to give you some ideas.

Pick a theme that is easy to gather "artifacts" for. 
When I did my camping theme I brought in coolers that I would normally need to store in my garage for the winter to use as seating in my group area and placed flashlights, lanterns, and sleeping bags around the room. I also used lots of sticks, rocks and other free bits of nature in my decor.

My friend Jill once did a board game theme. So cute! Old games and puzzles make great decor for this theme and are readily found at yard sales during the summer.  Think creatively!

Pick a theme that offers "Seasonal Clearance."
Gardening supplies, beach things and camping gear all get discounted at the end of the know, right around the time you will be setting up your classroom.

Share with a friend.
Do you have friends that teach in other districts or at other schools? Box up all your borders and decor at the end of the year and make a trade.

Ask for donations.
Tell people what you are planning to do and see if anyone wants to donate to the cause. I'm sure there are lots of Pinterest-loving Crafty moms who would love nothing more than to create something for your room.

Follow my Teacher Store so you don't miss
Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

Check out CFC's Helpful Series for Teachers: 

By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.

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