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No matter where you live, fall is a magical time of year. For most of the US, fall means the leaves changing colors, the weather cooling down, and a sea of pumpkins and scarecrows and all things harvest are ushered into the world. Decorations for fall abound, and whether you want to follow the Halloween theme, Thanksgiving trend, or just stick with general fall décor, the internet is full of endless ideas to get you ready for the best season of the year. As a teacher, you most likely have a crafty side, but if you don’t, you can at least appreciate the Pinterest-worthy fall decorations that some teachers utilize for each changing season. If you want to put your students to work creating amazing fall decorations or completing fall-related activities, we’ve gathered some great ideas. If you would rather spend the time crafting yourself and decorate your classroom with your own labors of love, we have some ideas for you too. No matter how creatively inclined (or not) you are, embrace one or all of these fall creative ideas for the classroom.
Fall Door Décor
Decorating your door can be fun no matter what grade you teach, and there are so many different themes you could go with to have the coolest fall-themed door in the school. Consider making your door an adorable scarecrow, a wise owl, a giant pumpkin, a massive apple tree, a leaf-centered work of art, a turkey complete with feathers, or something spooky for Halloween. You can personalize the decorations with your students’ names or artwork, and you can even expand the design onto the walls surrounding the door and doorframe. Think about doing something both inside and outside your classroom door to make it even more festive and fun.
You can make adorable pumpkins with scraps of fabric from home or from the discount bin at your local craft store. These can be three-dimensional pumpkins that you set on a shelf or hang from the ceiling, or you can wrap pumpkin-shaped cardboard pieces in fabric to display on the wall. You could even turn this craft into an activity for your students and use their hand-made pumpkins into wall or door decorations for your classroom. The internet has a lot of tutorials on different ways to do this, and you can make it as simple or complex as you want. If fabric is too much, consider using scrapbook paper and having your students write something they’re thankful for on their pumpkins and then display them in your room.
This can be done any time of the year, but when it comes to the fall season, there are countless opportunities to put an encouraging note on a banner in your classroom. Imagine a gorgeous banner of reds, yellows, and oranges that reads “Give thanks,” or “Always be thankful,” or something along those lines. Each letter would be on its own separate piece of scrapbook paper, meaning you can assign one letter per student or per group of students and have them collectively create a festive banner for your fall classroom decorations.
Paper Strip Thankful Pumpkins
This activity can work for students of all ages, from kindergarten through high school seniors. Each student gets around eight strips of orange paper and two green leaves. Students should write “I am thankful for…” on each strip of orange paper and then complete the sentence. Younger students may need more assistance, but most elementary students should be able to complete this part of the activity independently. The leaves should have the students name and year on them, and then you can staple them all together to form a paper strip pumpkin full of what your students are thankful for. They can be hung all around your classroom during the fall and sent home in time for Thanksgiving.
Felt Leaf Garland
This could be an enjoyable activity for older students to just relax with during class, or it can be a great motor skill activity for younger students. You’ll need a large number of felt leaves for this activity, so you can either have students cut them out or you can do this ahead of time. Be sure to make them festive in shape and fall colors, like red, brown, orange, and yellow. You’ll also need some fall-colored yarn to string the pieces together. If older students are doing this, you can use a few extra large sewing needles and have them stitch the yarn through the leaves to connect them all. If younger students are doing the activity, you should cut a few holes or slits in the leaves and allow them to string the yard through the leaves to connect them. The result will be a beautiful string of fall garland to hang anywhere in your classroom.
This one is sure to delight the younger students. You’ll need several balloons, orange string or yarn of medium thickness, glue, and some brown and green pipe cleaners. Once you blow up the balloons to the size of pumpkin you want, you’ll dip the string or yarn into the glue and wrap it around the balloons. Let them dry overnight and pop the balloons the next day, pulling the deflated balloons out through a hole. You can then twist the pipe cleaners to make stems and leaves, and then hang your string pumpkins from the ceiling!
Nature Hunt Decor
This one may take a little more planning and preparation, but it is a great learning opportunity for your students and will result in some stunning decorations. Take your students on a nature walk as soon as the fall weather starts. Have them collect leaves, sticks, flowers, and more that they think are fall-related. When you get back to the classroom, look up the different things you found to identify them, and then attach them to the windows of your classroom. The leaves especially will cast stunning light into your classroom and get you into the mood for all things fall very quickly. If you don’t have a window or don’t want to hang what you find on a window, you can put it on a bulletin board, create garland with it, or make a mobile type decoration to hang from the ceiling.
Mason Jar Crafts
There are about a million things you can do with mason jars to create some stunning décor, so it’s all a matter of what specifically you want in your classroom. Maybe you select a few different ideas and let each student pick one to do. You can put a flameless battery-operated candle in the mason jars to make them classroom-safe while you enjoy the glowing ambiance they put off. Maybe you want to have your students use mod podge to attach fall leaves to the mason jars. Maybe you have them paint them all white and attach googly eyes for “ghost” jars. Some more creatively inclined students may wish to paint the jars with decorative patterns or designs, and you can then put flowers, pencils, or something other than a candle in them. If you have enough mason jar lids, you can have some students paint the lids orange and tie them together to create a lid pumpkin. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to fall mason jar crafts.
Handprint & Footprint Art
If your students are younger and love doing handprint and footprint art, you have a huge variety of fall project ideas at your disposal. You can do leaf handprints where each hand is covered in several colors of paint or you can make apple trees with handprints and footprints. You can also make corn cobs, spiders, bats, pumpkins, candy corn, thanksgiving turkeys, ghosts, and so much more. These can serve as cute decorations for the fall and great things to send home to parents to help them remember how big their children are at their current age.