8 Art Activities to Put on Your Summer To-Do List

journal work

Are you looking for some fun art activities to do this summer? Look no further! This list will remind you that surrounding yourself with art in the summer is the key to staying fresh and will fuel your excitement about heading back to school this fall.

Here are 8 art activities to put on your summer to-do list!

1. Visit a museum.

What’s more fun than visiting local or out of town museums and exploring the visual imagery that documents our past? Some of my best summer memories revolve around museum trips with my family. Or, I will plan a meet up with a group of students to enjoy the museum experience together. I also recommend bringing your visual journal so you can sketch and take notes.

2. Paint rocks or shells.

The kindness rocks project is fabulous and is all the rage right now, as it should be! Imagine spending some time this summer collecting rocks or shells and painting them in bright, vivid colors. Then imagine adding some inspirational sayings to these rocks and passing them out to people to help brighten their day. I can’t imagine a more rewarding summer activity. For more info, check out their website,, and sign up.

students painting rocks

3. Get involved in arts-based community service.

I don’t think there is anything more special than bringing your creative art skills to the community! Contact your local rec center, park, or even the local police or fire station and see how you can work with them to beautify their spaces.

Here are 3 ideas:

Create a mural.
Paint a mural at their location! Better yet, gather some of your students and do it together so your students can receive community service hours.

image via, Artist: Alexandra Sorto, Photo: Cole McCauley

Paint public trash cans.
Again, how wonderful would it be to pull a few of your students in to paint trash cans in the community to help brighten up the space?

Volunteer your time.
Bring your teaching skills to your wider community. Teach a class or two at a local daycare, nursing home, or community center serving those in need.

4. Take a local gallery stroll.

I’m a huge fan of visiting and supporting my local galleries. Just like a museum visit, this offers an opportunity for you to view local artists’ work and form a bond with local gallery owners for possible collaborations with your students. I always learn so much when I take the time to visit local galleries. It’s like Pinterest come to life!

5. Take a course.

I’m all about being a life-long learner, so I am always signing up for art classes at our community art league. For example, I have never been very skilled in oil painting since my county won’t allow our students to use oils. So, this summer I’m ready to dive in and explore this fun medium! And don’t forget that the Art of Education offers so many wonderful courses, so check them out, too. Studio: Painting – Watercolor and Studio: Sculpture would be great choices to brush up on skills that aren’t heavily covered in traditional art education coursework.

6. Work in your journals.

I am a visual journal fanatic! I take my journals and art supply bag with me everywhere and try to draw, doodle, sketch, paint, collage or just write my thoughts down every day. Give it a try; I think you’ll find it quite rewarding! If you’re looking for inspiration, we have 50 prompts to get you started!

journal work

7. Check out your local library for events.

Our local library has so much going on! You may think of library events as being for young kids, but even though I am old (ha!) I have found I am renewed by the library and all it has to offer. I have even started giving monthly art history chats there as well. We’re calling them “Lunch with the Masters.”

library flyer

8. Yarn bomb a tree.

This is a super fun activity you can do with your children, your students, a group of art teacher friends, or by yourself. Grab some colorful yarn and go wrap some trees or branches to give the community a spark of color! I’ve done this several times. It’s always a wonderful experience and a great way to spend an afternoon outdoors. This is something you will want to get permission to do if you do it in the community. You might want to start with your own trees to see how fun it can be!

This is just the beginning of ensuring an art-filled summer, so go and explore the possibilities and let us know what you’re doing to refuel and stay “ARTIFIED!”

How are you using your art skills this summer?

Do you get together with your students in the summer for community events?

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.


Debi West

Debi West is one of AOEU’s adjunct instructors and a former AOEU Writer and NBCT art educator. She loves sharing with others and enthusiastically stands behind her motto, “Together we ART better!”

More from Debi