3 Ways to Inspire Students Over the Summer

It is my hope that when students leave the art room at the end of the year, they will continue to create art over the summer. Today I’d like to share three simple ways to inspire students to do just that.

1. Send them home with a sketchbook

Making sketchbooks is a great end-of-the year project. It can be as simple as stapling computer paper into a construction paper cover, or as fancy as creating special batik paper for a more professional look. Either way, a homemade sketchbook is a great resource for students to have. Here is an example of a sketchbook project I did with my fourth graders.



2. Use your classroom website to post art activities

If you’re already communicating with students online, consider continuing over the summer! Whatever platform you use, your students will love keeping up with you when school is out. Last summer, I ran a fun program through my classroom blog, which I called Masterpiece Monday. The premise was simple. Each Monday I created a post that told a bit about an artist and one of his or her masterpieces. I also developed a simple, inexpensive project inspired by each piece that students could do at home. They loved it! Here is a screen shot of one of the Masterpiece Monday posts I created about Roy Lictenstein. If you’d like to see the project that went along with it and view the rest of the Masterpiece Monday posts, click here.



3. Provide students with a list of places to make or see art in the community

Providing students with opportunities to connect with local artists is extremely valuable. A quick Google search should be all you need to get started compiling a list of galleries and art studios in your area. You could distribute your list at the end of the year or post it on your classroom website or blog. Last summer, I ran a feature called Free Art Friday, which highlighted free places to view art around Wisconsin.

 Tell us, how do you inspire students to continue with art over the summer?

Do you keep in touch with students, or do you prefer to take a break?

Amanda Heyn

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 


  • Toby

    I challenge my kids to do art all summer ( art makes you a smarter student with the higher level- problem solving – thinking skills) and give them examples of what my family has done….(our last day in art class for the year preps them for this…) I tell them of my story as a kid going to the grocery store with my mom, if I was good I could get a treat at the end…. I would be allowed to pick something and I didn’t want candy or ice cream, but rather a small Rainbow tablet so I could draw things around my house and neighborhood. So for them during the summer… I tell them to bring small sketchbooks with them on trips, to restaurants while waiting for your food ( besides you will be quiet), freezer paper murals, ( this stuff is great because if the kids soak it with paint the waxy back keeps it from bleeding through and it’s cheap), art camps held in our community, library resources, PBS art shows, then I ask them if they have to have a sketchbook? No. They can even use… And we brainstorm materials they can create on…brown paper bags, recycled paper from the copy machine at home, newspapers, etc.
    As we work on our last project for the year… The classroom teacher arrives and I ask them… “What’s your challenge”? They all say do art all summer to make you a smarter student! We do this every year and they even bring in for me to see the things they worked on over the summer. By the 4th & 5th grade they do this naturally. They bring in their sketchbooks and show how well they have improved. Or where they went on their family trip….

    • Wow, Toby. So many great ideas. I love how you just devote your entire last class to this topic. I’m so curious- what is a rainbow tablet?!

  • Claire

    Amanda, Could you tell me more about the way you created the sketchbook covers shown above? Thanks! Claire