It's what happens to your school-aged children during the summer months when the lessons learned during the academic year take a long and extended vacation.  Learning takes a deserved back seat as families plan vacations and take time off to have fun. But being engaged during this time can make a big difference when children are heading back to school in September. With this in mind, we've come up with some ideas to keep your kids active this summer.

1. Start with Reading

Reading brings together an amazing number of skill sets together.  For one thing plowing through a story or novel is about an immersive an experience as you can have.  You enter a world imagined by the author as he or she takes you on a journey. Readers learn to juggle large amounts of information in a sustained activity that helps with focus and attention span. Be sure to check out our lists for kids and teens or use a library resource like Novelist to make new discoveries. Younger children can download ebooks to their favorite device.

2. Watch Movies

While a story can take pages and pages to unfold and reveal itself, a really good film has a more limited window to present a story. You don't get to read about a character’s emotions--the director must reveal it through action and dialogue. Watching movies is like enjoying the art of storytelling but in a very different medium. You will find plenty of movies in our collection of over 40,000 DVDs. If you are not sure where to start, use IMDB's list of popular family feature films. Be sure to read the parental advisory section to find a film that suits your viewing needs.

3. Engage Your Inner Curiosity

Help your kids explore things that strike their fancy. Kids love being engaged with curiosities and during the summer they can do this in an unstructured way. With no tests, homework or due dates, learning can take on a whole new meaning. They can meet a mathemagician or flip through photos of what people around the world eat. They can walk through the White House in a virtual visit. How about learning a language or building things--large and small? Their explorations can continue to the Great Pyramid at Giza or to a firehouse at 181st Street in New York City.

4. Do Something

There is something to be said about doing things. Sewing. Drawing. Playing. Gardening. Cooking. And since it IS summer, a healthy sprinkling of daydreaming is a must!