Getting a child to learn something is often a process of tricking them
into paying attention. This can be done by creating games and
activities that are fun for the child, and slipping the knowledge in when they
aren’t looking. One activity that will both engage a child, and
literally immerse them in learning, is to work with them to decorate their
room, using an exciting science based theme.
Oceans are huge bodies of flowing water that cover most of the earth’s
surface. They are a world unto themselves, full of exciting adventures,
strange looking creatures, and beautiful formations just waiting to be
explored. Beneath their dark waves, everything becomes mysterious. The
ocean also provides an opportunity for children to learn a great deal
about nature, and science. If presented in the correct manner, a water
based theme for a room can provide an excuse to engage your child in the
world of marine science, getting them excited about it in such a way
that they never imagine they are actually learning. Lead them into an
underwater adventure, while gently floating little snippets of knowledge
past them every once in a while.
Research should be the basis for this project, and as you proceed you
should be certain to have many books about marine life on hand,
preferably ones that contain large colorful pictures. Use these books as an
inspiration for your work. With your children, learn the names of the
different plants and animals, as well as the different levels of the ocean.
Engage the child in conversations about what you learn, and encourage
them to use their imagination to envision the places you are referring
To create the feel of an underwater world in the room, you want to
start with the walls. If you have anything except blue, green, or white
walls, you may want to consider painting or wall-papering them. It’s
difficult to create an underwater illusion with yellow or red as the major
theme in the room.
An alternative is to cover the walls. This can be done by purchasing
some large blue or green sheets of paper. Draw wave patterns on the backs
of the sheets in black marker, and then cut the tracings out with
scissors. As always, be careful when using sharp instruments around a child.
When you have the sheets cut, attach them to the walls overlapping one
another using thumbtacks. Clear or double sided scotch tape can help to
keep limp waves from flopping the wrong way. Slightly different shades
of blue or green makes it easy to create the various levels of the
Another way to achieve the look of being immersed in water is to use a
large piece of cloth draped along the wall as a mural, with paintings
of waves and sea creatures on it. This method allows you or the child to
add to the wall as you like, and change it whenever you want.
If the room already has a blue or green carpet then the underwater look
will be enhanced. Simulate this by buying several large rugs and
covering the floor with them. Rugs with underwater patterns or bubbles can
also be used.
Bedrooms for Cool Kids
The Big Book of Kid's Rooms
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There are many accessories you can add to the room to compliment the
marine feeling you are trying to achieve. A blue light bulb placed in an
extra lamp can bathe a room in a wavering blue glow. This kind of
illumination is not conducive to reading or seeing very well, and should
only be used in conjunction with a regular light, as an occasional
Translucent flat marbles in blues, greens, and clear colors can be
glued to almost anything to create the look of bubbles. Gluing them along a
door frame, around a light switch, or on furniture or other personal
items will increase the underwater effect you are trying to simulate.
These beads can also be taped or glued to pieces of string, and hung from
the ceiling. Combined with a blue light this will create a shimmering
colorful effect. However, these beads are very small and should not be
used for any room of a child, where it might present a choking hazard.
Always use caution when decorating a child’s setting.
To create sea life, trace pictures of your favorite fish onto large
pieces of construction paper. Cut the figures out, and write their proper
names on the back. Fill in the details, eyes, scales, as much or as
little as you like. Then attach these images to your walls using thumb
tacks. This method is also great for creating artificial waves, or
underwater structures such as coral reefs.
Additionally, figurines of various sea creatures can be purchased and
displayed around the room. Whenever you purchase the child a new
underwater decoration, the two of you should sit down and research the animal
and its characteristics, before deciding where to put it in the room.
Position them in the room in a logical way, such as putting predators
near their favorite prey.
Blue and green bedding should be matched to the rest of the room. An
underwater themed bed spread is a great gift and will further the
illusion you are going for. Blue pillowcases or throw pillows can also be
purchased to add to the effect.
Another aspect of the ocean that may interest your child, and provide
further chances for learning, is boats. There are a huge variety of
different boats, and they have a long and famous history. From pirates to
battleships, boats can be an exciting icing to the watery adventure you
are taking. This gives you countless other options to be as creative as
you like in what you and your child research and how you decorate.
Be certain to base the room as much as you can on real research done by
you and your child. You want to give them an experience where looking
up facts is fun and useful for them. Maintain the idea that this is an
adventure into a mysterious world, and help them explore with books and
other reference materials. If you excite their imagination, they will
pursue the knowledge themselves.
Children should not try any of these ideas out themselves without the
consent and supervision of an adult. Caution should always be used in
any activity that involves a child. Make certain that none of your
decorative efforts causes any damage to the child’s safety.
Joey Lewitin is an artist and interior designer who has always advised
the use of creativity in decorating ones home. For many years he has
been one of the premier Pebble Artists working with PebbleArt Inc to
create unique home décor accessories using
natural stone. These designs can be seen at PebbleZ.com.