16 Great Shoebox Float Ideas for Students

Here you will find the best shoebox float ideas for classroom projects. If you’ll be showing off your float in a school parade, you absolutely want it to be good.

You’ve come to the right place.

While you can create a float about any subject or related to any theme, a surprisingly frustrating task may be coming up with good ideas that you actually want to do. 

So I have compiled a list of the best ideas for shoebox floats that I have used over the years with students. 

Though a Mardi Gras float is a popular option, there are so many more ideas to consider. 

Check out this collection of ideas for shoebox floats, and get the inspiration you need to let your imagination run wild.

Shoebox Float Ideas

1. Dr. Seuss

Honor one of the most popular children’s authors with a Dr. Seuss float theme.

Students can choose their favorite Dr. Seuss book and decorate it according to the theme of that particular book. 

Items that can be used as decorations include Dr. Seuss quotes, bookmarks, green eggs/ham model, a Dr. Seuss miniature hat, pencils, and anything else related to literacy.

Dr. Seuss shoebox floats are a great way to celebrate literacy week, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, or any other literacy-themed event. 

2. Favorite Nonfiction Book

Have students choose their favorite nonfiction book, and then they’ll create a float based on the book. 

Floats will reflect cool facts that they learned from their books.

3. Shoebox Mardi Gras Float

One of the most popular shoebox float ideas is Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a popular festival in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

An exciting thing to see is parades with all of the different floats. Each float is extravagant, unique, and vibrant. 

Why not recreate the experience in the classroom by creating a miniature Mardi Gras float to celebrate this fun occasion? 

Items that you can use to decorate include beads, masks, feathers, gift tissue paper, doubloons, mini crowns, and anything else related to Fat Tuesday. 

The colors of Mardi Gras are green, gold, and purple. 

See examples of Mardi Gras shoebox float ideas.

4. School Spirit

For school spirit week, ask that students make a float that shows how much they love and appreciate their school. 

Items for decorating include pictures of the school’s mascot, books, pom poms, pencils, mini backpacks, pencils, miniature sports items, etc. 

This idea allows students to go deep into their imaginations to create something unique. 

5. Black History Month

Black History Month is a great opportunity to do a shoebox float parade. 

Have students choose a famous black person in history and decorate a shoe box that showcases something significant about them.

Ideas include famous quotes, speeches, inventions, songs, etc. 

For inspiration, see specific black history shoebox float ideas

6. 100th Day of School

Use 100th day of school sunglasses, the actual number 100 (birthday candles work well for this), or anything else that represents 100 as decorative items for the float. 

This 100th-day shoebox float idea will really stretch your creativity!

7. End-of-Year

Reflect on the school year by creating a shoebox float that highlights the most memorable times of the year.

Events that you may want to emphasize include the talent show, field day, science fair, favorite field trip, special classroom events, classroom parties, and holiday performances. 

Additionally, consider including somewhere a symbol that represents looking forward to what’s ahead. (e.g. arrow or steps to represent moving up)

8. Subject-Area Topics 

What are you currently studying in class? Whatever it is could serve as good inspiration for a shoebox float idea. 


  • Make a shoebox float with a theme of shapes and solids. (math)
  • Create a float about the solar system. (science)
  • Decorate a shoebox that showcases animals in a certain habitat. (science)
  • Make a float that shows the three branches of government. (social studies)
  • Design a float that summarizes the main idea of a favorite picture book. (reading)

9. Music

Music is a language that everyone understands, and it brings people together in special ways. 

What’s great about this idea is that it can be used by just about anyone because one simply decorates the shoebox according to his/her favorite songs or musicians. 

As a result, each shoebox float outcome will be very different even if several people use the same theme. 

10. Seasons

Celebrate winter, spring, summer, and fall with a shoebox float dedicated to one or more of the four seasons. 

This delightful idea is great for younger students who are still learning about the characteristics of each season. 

11. Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day, create a float that encourages citizens to take care of the planet.

For this fun craft idea, students can get very creative by using grass, sticks, rocks, play animals, and other “earthy” materials to decorate their shoebox floats.

Consider using Play-Doh to make models of the Earth and/or sun. 

12. U.S States

Choose a U.S. state, and decorate a float that reflects the state.

For example, for Texas, one could use cowboy hats, barbeque, bayous, warm weather, football, and the Alamo as decoration ideas. 

If you are a teacher doing this as a class project, assign each student a different state to represent. 

13. Positive Affirmations

If you’re seeking original shoebox float ideas, this one is for you. Make a shoebox with a theme of positivity.

Use positive affirmation quotes, smiley face stickers, the peace sign, and any other decorative items to reflect the message of confidence, intelligence, and uniqueness. 

14. Favorite Sports Team

Cheer for the home team with a shoebox float made in honor of it. Students could also do a float of a favorite team, even if it’s not local. 

This idea is a great way to show pride and loyalty. 

15. Local Events/Regional

If your city or state hosts events native to the location or is known for something unique, that makes for a good shoebox float theme. 

Think Fiesta (San Antonio, TX), Mardi Gras (New Orleans, LA), and the Statue of Liberty (New York, NY).

16. Dinosaurs

Create a Jurassic-themed float using dinosaur toy models, rocks, grass, and any other items you can brainstorm.

Make trees from green construction paper, and consider positioning the dinosaurs in a way that shows them interacting.

See an example of a dinosaur shoebox float.

Final Thoughts

Now you have a helpful resource of shoebox float ideas for school that are fun and unique.

With a little creativity and effort, you’ll have a dazzling float to show off.