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Decorating a Child’s Room with an Underwater Theme
by Joey Lewitin

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.

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 ocean.

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.


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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 experience.

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

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