Inside: 10 Back to School bulletin boards based on picture books, perfect for preschool, kindergarten, and primary grades.
If you’re reading this in the middle of getting your classroom ready, and meet-the-teacher is two days away, and you’re already SO stressed out — stop and take a deep breath. I’ve got 10 different back to school bulletin boards here for you to choose from. Plus, I’ll let you know which ones you can make quickly, and which may take a little more time.
RELATED: Print off these back to school hats for your preschool or kindergarten class to practice their own names and get to know their friends’ names.
On the other hand, if you’re reading this in the middle of the summer, maybe you’re just sitting by the pool, scrolling through your phone, idly thinking about fall. For you, these bulletin board ideas can be a jumping off point for your own creativity.
Either way, you might also like the free Bulletin Board Planning sheets and Idea List I’m sending to subscribers. They’ll help you feel super organized! (Click the link above or the picture below to sign up and get yours.)
Back to School Bulletin Boards Inspired by Picture Books
Confession: I love the neat and fresh look of a new bulletin board display! It’s one of my favorite things about back to school time.
Our classrooms can make students feel comfortable and ready to learn. A setup you love can make YOU feel calm and happy too. After all, you’re going to be looking at it all day every day for at least a month, if not longer.
So I was excited to brainstorm ten brand new back to school bulletin boards for you. Each of these is based on a picture book you can read aloud and even display near the board. I got a lot of the book ideas straight from my back to school book list. Then, I added in a few all-year favorites as well.
Back to School Bulletin Boards That Can Stay Up All Year
If your time is limited (and whose isn’t), these back to school bulletin boards can stay up all year long. Of course, they can also just go up only for back to school season.
(Disclosure: Books and Giggles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.)
Llama Llama Misses Mama
Llama Llama Misses Mama (affiliate) by Anna Dewdney is a preschool and kindergarten favorite this time of year. You could also tie in any of the other Llama Llama books, or change them out as you read them aloud.
Title: Preschool is Wooly Cool!
Design: I used adorable clipart llama I bought from Creative Clips, but you could also just draw your own llama. Then glue cotton balls on it and decorate with strings of pom poms.
Student Work: You could have the students glue cotton onto smaller llamas, and display them all.
Time to Assemble: medium to long
Okay, on to the next book and board . . .
The Panda Problem
You may want to re-read The Panda Problem (affiliate) by Deborah Underwood a little later in the school year. It’s perfect for lessons about plot and problem/resolution. But go ahead and read it at the start of the school year too, just for the fun of seeing that anything is possible in books.
Then, you can talk about daydreams versus realistic goals. You could also make this board with other animal themes – any critter with paws will work.
Title: Anything is PAWssible in __Grade!
Design: I used Literacy for Lunch’s adorable free clipart panda and paw prints from Whimsy Clips. You could draw your own if you prefer.
Student Work: Have each student write one goal for the year on a pawprint and staple to the board. You can use my free Paw Print Goal Template.
Time to Assemble: fast
Here’s what it could look like:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Everyone loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar (affiliate) by Eric Carle. Children and parents alike will recognize this well-loved character.
Title: We’re Hungry for Learning!
Design: Make hungry caterpillars with student photos on the heads. Then, hole punch a variety of bulletin board letters and numbers and display them too.
Student Work: Alternatively, have students make a hungry caterpillar craft and hole punch the letter that their name starts with.
Time to Assemble: medium to long, depending on whether you already have student photos
I didn’t make a mockup of this one, but I think you can handle it 🙂
Pete the Cat
Do your kids love the Pete the Cat books by James Dean as much as mine do? Then, they will love this bulletin board! Plus, Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes (affiliate) goes perfectly with the first week of school
Title: Reading is Cool
Design: Simply, create the famous cat out of paper (it’s really easy).
Student Work: Have students write their favorite book on a pair of shoes or sunglasses template and hang them around the words.
Time to Assemble: Medium
If you need help creating Pete, I have some tips in my Pete the Cat Valentine’s box post.
Bulletin Board Ideas for Back to School Season
These next six back to school bulletin boards are all about welcoming children and getting them excited about school. You’ll want to pull them down by the end of September, but they’re awfully cute while they last.
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School
Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs Go to School (affiliate) is a great book for the first weeks of school. This dinosaur themed bulletin board will match it perfectly. You could display a variety of other dino books with it as well.
Title: Roaring into a New School Year / Let’s Roar into Kindergarten
Design: Make a large roaring dinosaur cutout with a speech bubble for the board title.
Student Work: Have students color and write their own names on small dinosaur cutouts.
Time to Assemble: If you have a projector you can use to help you draw a large dinosaur, this could be pretty easy and quick to make. Instead of cutting out scales, you could cut glue on die-cut semi-circles.
Here’s some inspiration for you:
The Most Magnificent Thing
I love The Most Magnificent Thing (affiliate) by Ashley Spires. It’s the perfect book to read before talking about persistence and growth mindset.
Title: Let’s Make it a Magnificent Year!
Design: Decorate the board with pictures of tools and loose parts like bolts and washers. You could even hot glue on real loose parts, but if you have younger kids be sure to consider that the parts may fall or be torn off.
In addition, you could add photos of each class member on a scooter similar to the one on the book cover.
Student Work: Have older students write about a time they were or plan to be persistent. For younger kids, you could post photos of them doing an engineering challenge.
Time to Assemble: Medium to long, depending on your choices
I didn’t make a mockup of this one. If you create your own, feel free to share it and tag me on social media, or add it as a “tried it” image on Pinterest.
Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten
I got a sneak peek at this brand new book, Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten (affiliate) by Lisa Robinson. It’s about a girl hesitant to move from her pirate theme preschool classroom to the space-themed kindergarten down the hall. It would be a lot of fun to read aloud if you enjoy doing character voices. (I know you do!)
Title: Welcome to KindergARRten
Design: Treasure chest overflowing with coins and letters – punch out circles from gold foil paper, and use metallic letters. Or just buy the cute clipart I used from the Whimsy Clips store.
Student Work: Have students each decorate a mini treasure chest containing the first letter of their name, small gold circles for coins, plus some stick on jewels. Alternatively, you could have them make paper plate pirates.
Time to Assemble: quick to medium, depending on your choices
Of all of these back to school bulletin boards, I think this next one is my very favorite . . .
Little Blue Truck
Who doesn’t adore Little Blue Truck (affiliate) by Alice Schertle? Everyone is welcome to hop in, making it just right for a back to school message.
Title: Beep! Beep! Hop in for a Ride!
Design: Cutout of a blue pickup truck with the teacher name, grade level, or school name on the side. Add some farm animals in the truck bed.
Student Work: Make a small truck cutout for each child to paint blue. Then label it with the child’s name.
Time to Assemble: medium
I don’t like how my truck turned out. If I had to do it over again I’d project the profile of the truck from one of the pages inside the book, and trace it. I think this will give you the idea though:
Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (affiliate) by Bill Martin Jr. is another preschool and kindergarten favorite that can make a fun back to school bulletin board.
Title: I See KINDERGARTNERS Looking at Me!
Design: Staple on a copy of the book cover or re-create a large brown bear. Then add rows of photos of each child labeled with their names.
Student Work: Have the kids draw self-portraits instead of using photos.
Time to Assemble: Quick if you already have student photos or plan to add those once school starts.
Finally, the last of my back to school bulletin boards for you:
Make Way for Ducklings
This sweet nostalgic book won the Caldecott way back in 1941, and it’s still beloved today. Even visiting grandparents will smile at this one.
Title: Make Way for Kindergartners!
Design: Add darker blue “water” to sky blue background paper. Then staple on duck cutouts with teacher and student names on them.
Student Work: Have students decorate their ducks and write their names on them.
Time to Assemble: Quick
You could also use this idea for an end of the year bulletin board with the upcoming grade level proclaimed.
Still looking for more ideas? You could try more of a social-emotional angle with a low prep affirmation bulletin board.
Tips for Implementing Your Bulletin Board Ideas
I know putting up an actual bulletin board can be time-consuming and challenging. I always struggled to get everything straight. If you do too, I found a great post that gives some tips on that.
Next, I do have a couple organizing tricks for you:
- Organize smaller letters into the sleeves of a dollar store photo book. (I also used one of these for calendar pieces, and it worked really well.)
- Keep extra borders in rolls in shoebox sized plastic boxes. They’ll curl some, but it’s nothing a few extra staples won’t cure.
- Take a picture of your completed boards so that you can reproduce them easily in the future.
- For even more inspiration and tips check out my Pinterest board about bulletin boards.
Sadly, I lost all my own bulletin board supplies to Hurricane Harvey. If I go back to the classroom I’ll have to start again fresh – which may actually be a lot of fun!
More Back to School Bulletin Boards!
My friend Karen at ABC’s of Literacy has put together ten more picture book-inspired ideas you can use. Go check out her post too! She has adorable ones for Clark the Shark, Scaredy Squirrel, and more.
I hope you enjoyed seeing these classroom bulletin board ideas for back to school, and that you found the perfect one for you!