Professional Practice

5 Fun Things to Do Before Summer Ends

Art Supplies

You taught over a hundred students, you were patient, kind, and educated each one of them. Now, it is time to renew YOU. The reward of summer vacation is here. You have the gift of time to enjoy.

Here is a list of 5 recommendations to squeeze in before the summer ends:

1. Read

Image of The Art Forger Book

One of the joys of summer is having time to indulge in a book for pleasure. Enjoying books that are art related, but not academic is a wonderful way to feed your artist self.

Here are the three books that can provide some art teacher nourishment:

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro—a suspenseful tale of forgery and judgment.

The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel by F. G. Haghenbeck—a fictional reconstruction of Frida Kahlo’s life.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert—a look at creativity through the author’s eyes.

Seeking some additional recommendations? Check out Book Riot’s list of Books About Art That Aren’t “Art Books.”

2. Turn Off Your Alarm

Delete your alarms from your phone or turn them off completely. In school, our lives are ruled by bells, time pressures, cleanup songs, and prepping for the day. Take a much-needed break from the clock,  and be sure to sleep in as much as you can! Giving your body the physical rest it needs during the summer is a reward we all deserve. Allowing your body to return to a natural sleep rhythm can be restorative and healthy. So, sleep in and even enjoy a pajama day!

3. Eat a Leisurely Lunch

Image of a sandwhich

Our daily school schedule is tight. We don’t get to enjoy long, drawn-out lunches. It is an absolute miracle what we can squeeze into our twenty-minute lunch break. This summer, treat yourself to a long overdue lunch with zero time constraints. Enjoy the quiet. Savor the moment and the meal without any interruptions.

Here is a simple and delicious salad recipe from artist Louis Bourgeois. It is the perfect summer salad served with hot french bread. Yum!

Louise Bourgeois’s French Cucumber Salad
6 cucumbers, peeled
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 ½ tbsp. tarragon vinegar
½ tsp. tarragon
chopped chives or green scallions

4. Create and Tinker

Art Supplies

We are artists, and we need time to create and explore. Tinkering is a way to enjoy the artmaking process and not worry about the end product. It is an activity that does require time; something we have during our amazing summer break.

If it’s been a while since you had a chance to tinker, here are a few suggestions to jump-start your creation time:

  • Sift through your old art supplies and play with some items you haven’t used in quite some time. Don’t worry about making anything specific; just go for it!
  • Purchase a kit from Kiwi Co. Their Eureka exploration kits are geared to ages 14-104! Each one contains items to spark creativity—many are functional as well as inspiring.
  • Raid your “junk drawer” and create. Pile and play with random items slated for the trash can anyway and create an assemblage.
  • Empty your recycling bin and create a sculpture with tape and no glue.

There are no rules for tinkering and creating, except to create and explore. Enjoy the open-ended approach and having no timeline to restrict you. This is the core of artmaking and can get lost in the confines of the educational system and school day. Make time to explore with no restrictions this summer. We all could use more playtime in our lives.

5. Visit a Museum or Art Gallery

There are so many amazing museums and galleries to explore. Seeing art in person is much more rewarding than seeing it online. Experiencing the scale of a large sculpture or viewing the layers of paint on an impressionist painting is something that can only be appreciated up close. This summer, get out and see art in person.
Admission to many museums is free or discounted for educators. Check out this list of free and discounted museums for teachers to enjoy this summer.

Many cities offer summer tours of galleries and gallery nights. Some cities even have trolleys that tour the different galleries. It is a great way to see art, get to know artists, and connect with patrons of the art community.

Summer is a fantastic time for educators. We need the restorative time. We are responsible for large numbers of students and supporting their creative growth. It is essential to restore, nurture, and support ourselves this summer. So, take time to enjoy and relax!

What books are you enjoying this summer?

What museums are you visiting?

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.


Christina Chang

Christina Chang, a high school art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She enjoys building a welcoming art classroom for all students to create in.

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