In my part of the world, the sun will set before 8 p.m. from now until next May. Sometimes reality is just plain mean. I’m not ready to let those summer vibes go, even as we head back into our classrooms. In light of that, here are 20 ways you can make summer last, even as the new school year begins.
Watch one more sunrise
Telling teachers to make summer last by waking up before dawn might sound counterintuitive, but trust us, it works! There’s something about seeing the beautiful colors appear and change as the sun rises and the air warms that just feels summery and luxurious. Going back to bed right after you see it does too! Just can’t wrap your brain around waking up before the sun? Try slowing down and really being present for a late-summer sunset.
Be a tourist in your hometown
Check out a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try but haven’t gotten to yet. Take a hike on a local trail. Visit some of the gift shops in town you never go into. You might not have time to travel someplace totally new, but viewing your town as tourists do is an easy way to squeeze in one last vacation day.
Add some play into the school day
Before things get too serious, add a few activities that feel summery into your lessons. Can students practice each other’s names by throwing a ball back and forth? Can the classroom expectations be practiced and reviewed relay-race style? Make summer last by adding some games into the routine building. Check out these great ideas for icebreakers that get students up and moving.
Make the most of end-of-summer produce
Visit a local farmer’s market and challenge yourself to make a meal loaded with fresh fruits and veggies. Not only will the delicious flavors make for an incredible meal, but the boost of vitamins and minerals will help your body deal with back-to-school stress.
Sleep with the shades open
If your neighbors aren’t too close, make the most of the early summer sun by leaving your shades open when you go to sleep. The early morning sun shining into your room will support your body’s natural circadian rhythms, make waking up to an alarm again just a bit less upsetting.
Seek out retro entertainment
Visit a drive-in movie with your family. The slightly cooler weather makes for a more pleasant viewing experience, and watching a movie outside feels undeniably summery even if you have to go to school the next day.
Bring flowers to your classroom
Very few of us bring fresh flowers into our classrooms all year long, but we can make summer last by bringing some summer blooms into the room at the start. Bright sunflowers, colorful chrysanthemums, or other beautiful flowers will make your classroom feel like a garden.
Create a summer playlist
Heading back into our classrooms means time spent cleaning and organizing our rooms, getting materials ready for students, and more. Make a playlist of songs guaranteed to make you feel like you’re at your favorite summer spot and enjoy the endorphin boost upbeat music provides. Try playing these songs for your students too; they’ll enjoy making summer last as well.
Have ice cream for dinner
Let your kids think you’re the best parent ever by heading out for ice cream when you’d normally be sitting down to dinner. Even if you end up eating a healthy dinner afterward, starting with dessert is an easy way to make summer last just a bit longer.
Take a walking tour of your school
Sometimes just stretching our legs and getting out of the classroom can feel like a bit of a break. Take some time during those first few days back to go on a walk around the building with your students. New students will appreciate seeing the library, the nurse’s office, and the cafeteria. And even our veteran students might not remember exactly which secretary is in charge of attendance and who can help them call home if they’ve forgotten something.
Do something artistic
Whether you do it with your students or on your own, embracing your inner artist is one way to make summer last. Check out a watercolor for beginners tutorial on YouTube, or spend some time enjoying a hobby you tend to push to the side when the school year gets busy.
Eat more watermelon
With more lycopene than a tomato and more potassium than a banana, nothing says summer quite like a juicy, pink triangle of watermelon. Keep your immune system strong by enjoying this summer treat for as long as you can. Packed with Vitamin B6 and C for your immune system and vitamin A for your eyes, it’s got everything a healthy teacher needs.
Teachers tend to spend a lot of time indoors as the school year ramps up. First, we have to get into our classrooms to see what condition they’re in after summer break. Next, cleaning and set-up. Preparing for our students and finally, greeting our students and beginning to teach. Because of this, making sure we spend a bit of each day outside can do wonders for our mood. Take a walk when you get home from school, stop at a park and enjoy the scenery as you look over your students’ first assignments. Make summer last by enjoying every bit of outside time you can.
Try a “Yes Day”
Give your children a budget and let them plan what your Saturday will look like. A bit terrifying, yes, but also guaranteed to be a day the entire family will happily remember for years to come.
Read a book, just for you
Even if you only read a few pages before bedtime, reading something just for you is a relaxing way to make summer last. Don’t think you’ll have the energy for an entire novel? Try a collection of short stories!
Go camping close to home
One more night beneath the stars is a fantastic way to make summer last. The slightly cooler nighttime temperatures might actually make it more comfortable to sleep outdoors now than during the height of summer. Can’t get to a campground? No worries. Make s’mores in your backyard (or using your stovetop!). Build a small campfire and cook hot dogs. Have everyone sleep in the family room; just make sure you get the comfiest couch.
Keep on gardening
While it might be time to say goodbye to tomatoes or zucchini, there are plenty of flowers and plants that grow well far into fall. If you have a green thumb, there’s no need to say goodbye to this hobby just because the school year is beginning. Make summer last by creating a fall vegetable garden.
Plan a night out with friends
Even if the school year has begun, nothing can make a Friday or Saturday night in September feel like a summer night faster than food, drinks, and laughter with friends. Lucky enough to work with other teachers you consider friends? Make summer last all year long by making a teachers’ night out a monthly tradition.
Go to the movies old-school style
Those first few days back at school are exhausting. Planning anything beyond dinner and bed can feel daunting after spending all day in professional development sessions or a hot classroom. Keep those summer vibes going in a more energy-efficient way by introducing your kids to a movie you loved when you were their age. Add popcorn and dim the lights, and they won’t even notice when you fall asleep halfway through!
Enjoy a few mindful minutes every day
Summer for teachers is all about unwinding. As the new school year starts anew, it’s easy to feel ourselves begin to wind up again. Make a promise to yourself to spend 5-10 minutes a day just being present and loose. Breathe and remember that feeling we all get when we finally let summer in and allow ourselves to relax. Make summer last all year by spending a few minutes each day in that summer mindset. Try our 7 minute morning routines to get started.
Come share how you’re keeping that summer feeling going in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.