Popular Activities for Art Teachers to Actually Relax This Summer

floating in water

School’s out, so scream, shout, and get your planners out! No, no—not for curriculum mapping or lesson planning. You need your planners to put together a to-do list of activities to make this one relaxing summer. Every art teacher’s break looks different. Some art teachers put their feet up, while others hustle more than during the school year. No matter what your schedule looks like, you’ll want to give these ideas a try!

The final school bell of the year has rung, and it’s time to plan a summer of relaxation! So add some of these activities to your summer to-do list for the ultimate refresh.

floating in water

Before diving in, whip up some Frida Frescas to sip on while deciding which activities to add to your list.

Gather these ingredients for one drink:

  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • ¼ cup guava juice (or 2 tablespoons of guava paste)
  • 1 medium pear (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup sparkling water
  • 1 mint sprig (for garnish)

To make your drink, blend the sugar, coconut milk, guava, and pear until smooth. Pour the mixture over ice and add the sparkling water. Garnish with a mint sprig, and keep reading!

frida fresca

1. Luxuriate in the freedom of life outside the art room.

Your Frida Fresca is one of many things you can drink in over the summer! For several glorious weeks, you are off the clock and ready to recover from the year you’ve had. First, take pleasure in the simple joys of a life not dictated by class periods. As you settle into your summer routines, spend some extra time appreciating your flexibility to do everyday activities. You can go to the bathroom multiple times daily, wash more dishes than paintbrushes, or invite your besties to share some adult beverages at noon. The sky’s the limit, and you get to call the shots!

Here are some normal activities you can try:

  • Spice up your afternoon Frida Fresca with a splash of white liquor.
  • Spend precisely zero minutes of your lunchtime cutting paper.
  • Take a bathroom break as needed and for as long as you want.
  • Wear all of your non-paint-spattered clothing on repeat.
  • Show off your marker and paint-free hands for days on end.

diy project

2. Take advantage of the unstructured time you have.

Goodbye, 4:45 a.m. alarm! Hello, sleeping in until at least 8 a.m. Now that it’s summer, your life is no longer run by the grueling constraints of a school schedule. Unstructured time is not everyone’s friend, though. If you’re not careful, wasting your summer days on trivial pursuits is far too easy. Set yourself up for success by creating a list of goals you want to accomplish with your extra time. Yes, you have to take your car to the mechanic, ferry your children to summer camps, and get in a dentist appointment. But you can also make time for some fun tasks that were put on the back burner.

Here are some activities to fill up your time with fun:

  • Obsessively thrift items that you “just might need next year.”
  • Pick a series to binge-watch from your never-ending watchlist.
  • Get around to one of the DIY projects you keep meaning to do.
  • Curate a gallery show with the trinkets from your apron pockets.
  • Return your sanity by organizing in your art room or at home.

3. Intentionally rejuvenate the artist within you.

Are you really an art teacher on summer break if you don’t have some grandiose thoughts about taking time to create art? Though there’s no shortage of roadblocks to your artmaking endeavor, it only takes a bit of intention to make it happen. Set up a dedicated space in your home to leave out your supplies and work in progress. Regularly share artwork with a fellow artist friend to keep you accountable. Involve your whole household in artmaking to make it a chance for connection. No matter what you use as a motivator, now is the time for action!

creativity artwork

Here are some creative activities to inspire you:

  • Break into the school (with permission, of course!) to use the art room as a personal studio.
  • Take on an art medium you’re curious about with the Nourishing Your Inner Artist Playlist in PRO Learning.
  • Trick your friends and family into doing something artsy with you.
  • Spread all of your paint materials out and never put them away.
  • Join AOEU’s Make Art with Me on Instagram Live each Monday.

Nourishing Your Inner Artist

4. Revel in the experiences you can fully enjoy.

Not only do you have more space in your schedule over the summer, but you have more space in your mind! It’s no secret that your job is a tough gig at times. Since you are free of your art teacher responsibilities for the moment, get out of the house and go somewhere you enjoy. You’ll have more mental energy to be fully present on your outing. Make your excursion even more pleasant by incorporating art. After all, art is your passion, and summer is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with it!

Here are some creative activities to get you out and about:

  • Listen to Art Ed Radio and other podcasts on a walking tour through a park.
  • Knock out some of the books you keep adding to your reading list.
  • Go hiking to exercise your muscles from running around the art room.
  • Regularly drag anyone you can to an art museum to get some culture.
  • Use “art room research” as your excuse to plan a trip with your household.

museum looking at art

Now that you finished selecting activities, you’ve completed your plan to relax more this summer. Start off strong by enjoying an adult Frida Fresca in the middle of the day. Spend an afternoon taking up a DIY project you’ve been dying to get to. Then, convince your family and friends to make art with you before taking them on a trip. No matter what you choose, these activities will refresh your paper-cutting spirit for another year!

Which of these art teacher activities will you try this summer?

How do you plan on relaxing over summer break?

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.

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