Professional Learning

10 Ways to Get Summer Break Started Off on the Right Foot

Summer is almost upon us! Although it’s tough to stay motivated if you start thinking about summer too soon, I think we’re officially in the “safe zone.” In fact, some of you have already finished the school year (congrats, you made it!).

Today, the AOE team I want to bring you 10 ways to spice up your summer plans.

Some of them are art-related, some of them will challenge you, and some of them are just plain fun!

summer break

1. Take your family on a surprise day trip.

“My kids (10,7,4) and I will be going to a secret location. We’ll get in the car and they will have to figure out where we’re going and what we’re doing by following the clues and asking questions.” – Writer, Jen Carlisle

2. Take an art teacher “field trip” that goes beyond the museum.


“Maybe check a landmark off of your “Art Teacher Bucket List” like a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or Monet’s Gardens at Giverny (we can dream, right?!). When we fuel our own passions in this profession, it will translate to our students quickly.” – Founder, Jessica Balsley

3. Speaking of passions, take some time to rejuvenate your creative spirit!

Join AOE’s Class Creativity in Crisis where assignments include personal creativity exercises!

4. Incorporate nature into your art this summer.

“Go for a hike, find some natural materials and get creative!” – Instructor, Molly Wiste

5. Spruce up your yard with a fun garden.

“Below is a photo of ours from last year. The fence was very inspiring. This space will be filled with flowers and food again come August!” – Instructor, Nic Hahn


6. Get a head start on those school initiatives.

Learn why the Common Core doesn’t have to be scary in the Connecting Art to the Common Core class. You’ll be amazed at how a few small tweaks will allow you to create even more meaningful experiences for your students.

7. Create an outdoor art space.


“This summer, I’m going to build my kids a plywood chalkboard. I really want a drawing surface outside that I–um, actually, that they–can play around with when the weather is nice — just a piece of plywood, covered with a couple coats of chalkboard paint and propped up outside. I am going to hang mine on my wooden fence, but there are a million ways to make it work.” – Writer, Tim Bogatz

8. Create useful tools in order to best teach your hard-to-reach learners.

Students in the Autism and Art class will head back to school with thorough action plans to help all students reach their full potential.

9. Join a local studio.


“I join a pottery open studio at my local art museum every summer. Three hours once a week where I can forget everything but the clay spinning on the wheel in a studio that’s not mine to clean, organize, stock, manage, (did I say clean?!)…True Heaven.” – Instructor, Johanna Russell

10. Explore your local scene.

“My summer bucket list is all about wandering through the farmer’s market, seeking out new parks and trails and enjoying some Iowa festivals.” – Educational Director, Heather Crockett


However you choose to spend your summer, make sure you build in some time for yourself. It’s been a long year, you deserve it!


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What are your summer plans? 

What are you most excited about doing once school is out? 


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Amanda Heyn

Amanda Heyn is AOEU’s Director of K–12 PD & Media and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She enjoys creating relevant and engaging professional development just for art teachers.

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