Summer is here, and school is out - but that doesn't mean kids should stop learning.

Sure, all kids (and teachers, for that matter) need a break from the classroom. But the nine or 10 weeks before school starts again can be like not exercising for several weeks - eventually the muscles go flabby.

In fact, many teachers spend the first few weeks of fall classes not introducing new materials but reviewing what was taught the previous school year and since forgotten by students.

Summer also is a great opportunity for students who've struggled in school to work on their skills. They can catch up, and with bolstered math or reading skills, get off to a good start when classes resume this fall.

There are a lot of ways parents and guardians can keep their children (especially elementary-age kids) learning this summer. Among educators' suggestions:

?Continue reading - Reading to preschoolers and reading books together with older children help sow their interest in language and communication. Ask questions about plot and characters. Go online to find recommended titles and activities for those stories.

?Plan a meal together - Have your children shop for the food and help prepare the dishes. Using money and recipes is a great way to practice math skills.

?Keep a journal - Buy your child a journal or diary. This will help them develop their writing skills, even if what's penned isn't corrected for spelling and grammar. Getting your child a pen pal is another good way to develop writitng skills.

?Head to a museum - There are plenty of science and natural history museums for day trips to Eureka, Medford, Ore., or Ashland, Ore. If traveling on vacation, make a museum part of the itinerary. This will help foster knowledge of and interest in science and social studies topics.

?Visit a library - Sometimes the best way for a child to learn is to let them explore topics they're interested in all on their own. The local library contains a variety of materials on thousands of topics that a child might read.

?Get outside - Sign up for swimming classes or participate in local nature hikes. These will keep kids physically fit.

A little effort can go a long way in furthering our children's education. At the very least it's bound to be a fun activitity that you and your child are bound to remember years from now.