Professional Practice

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List Items for Every Art Teacher to Enjoy

looking at art at museum

Get ready to carpe diem your way through every day this summer! Instead of letting your break zip past in a blur of activities you barely register, use a summer bucket list to gather and set your intentions. Just a bit of planning and forethought will go a long way.

Making a summer bucket list doesn’t have to be complex or time-consuming. To start, consider different areas of your life you want to invest time and energy into. Then, choose a few activities that align with your vision. Finally, compile all of your activities into one list. Try designing a visual summer bucket list like the one below for a creative twist.

summer bucket list

The summer bucket list of your art teacher dreams is at your fingertips! Engage your creativity, try a new activity, or connect with people for a fun-filled break you will surely enjoy.

Engage Your Creativity

Hallelujah, summer is here, and you might actually have some time to make art! Create a visual summer bucket list for a quick artsy activity. Or, spend more time making art with AOEU’s Make Art With Me on Mondays on Instagram Live or the Nourishing Your Inner Artist Playlist in PRO Learning. However, these projects are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to getting your art on. As you think about your artmaking goals for the summer, consider all kinds of creative activities. What matters most is that you are stretching your creative muscles and engaging your imagination, intuition, problem-solving, and sense of beauty.

To engage your creativity this summer, add some of these items to your bucket list:

  • Color coordinate or redecorate an area in your home.
  • Try visual journaling the daily events of your summer.
  • Play with a new medium like fiber arts or photography.
  • Plan a themed photoshoot in your home or outdoors.
  • Adopt a creative hobby, like cake decorating or rug tufting.

stack of sketchbooks

Try a New Activity

As the inventive person you are, you probably have a mental list of things you’ve thought about doing. Take advantage of your more flexible schedule to fit some of these activities into your daily routines. Enroll in an AOEU studio course, put your voice into the world, or stock up on materials for a new project. No matter what you choose, look for new experiences to get you taking risks. Plus, you’ll have great stories to tell your students about pushing outside your comfort zone!

To try something new this summer, add some of these items to your bucket list:

  • Organize a community art project through a local organization.
  • Participate in a local contest or exhibition to showcase your art.
  • Start an art blog or social media page to share your experiences.
  • Attend a retreat or residency to focus on your artistic development.
  • Take a trip to capture new ideas and inspiration for your art.

student collaging

Connect With People

The best part about a more leisurely summer pace is having more opportunities to foster genuine connections. The relationships you maintain outside of school are essential to the support system that champions your work. Build professional relationships by attending a conference like AOEU’s NOW Conference or volunteering at a local organization. Invest in your closest relationships by simply inviting your friends and family to share what you love. Spend quality time with people for the best soul refresh a teacher could ask for!

To prioritize connection this summer, add some of these items to your bucket list:

  • Set up a Makerspace in your home to create art with your loved ones.
  • Collaborate with other artists to create a mural in a public space.
  • Take your friends and family to an art festival for a fun day out.
  • Teach art classes or workshops to children or adults in your community.
  • Convince a friend to volunteer with you at an art organization or museum.

looking at art at museum

Prepare for Next Year

Though next year is the last thing on many of your minds, some of you may be unable to let go of the mental list of tasks you want to complete before the fall. Preparing for a new school year can put your mind at ease and let you enjoy your free time more. The good news is your productivity can be fun! Listen to an Art Ed Radio podcast while walking around your neighborhood, or play an educational Pack from PRO Learning while cooking dinner. Choose activities you enjoy instead of ones that feel like a chore.

To prepare for next year this summer, add some of these items to your bucket list:

  • Attend an art workshop or conference to learn new techniques.
  • Catch up on the latest art history, theory, and teaching pedagogy.
  • Visit art museums and galleries to get inspiration for new projects.
  • Upcycle a piece of furniture from a thrift shop for your classroom.
  • Plan the first month of classes to start the year feeling prepared.

summer bucket list

A visual bucket list is a great way to plan an intentional summer you’ll enjoy. You can engage your creativity by color-coordinating or redecorating something in your home. Try a new hobby, like rug tufting, to step outside your comfort zone. Set up a Makerspace in your home to connect with your family and friends over artmaking. You can even do some preparation for next year as long as you are having fun. Now that you’ve finished setting your intentions, it’s time to start living them. Carpe diem!

What activities are making it on your bucket list this summer?

How are you intentional with your time away from the art room?

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.


Mariana VanDerMolen

Mariana VanDerMolen, an elementary art educator, is a former AOEU Writer. She enjoys teaching for creativity, with a focus on ELL and therapy in a process-based art room.

More from Mariana