State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell this week offered his top 10 tips to help parents keep their children active and engaged in learning during the summer recess. Per O’Connell, “Instead of letting economic pressures burden already hard-pressed families, we should take advantage of low-cost activities to do as a family. Here are my suggestions for parents to help keep their kids’ minds and bodies active, so they will be ready to learn when school resumes in the fall.” These 10 tips are as follows: turn off the television and computer and play outside (teamwork teaches children about the values of helping, sharing, listening, respecting and participating); watch educational programs, such as those on PBS; set aside time each day to read (age-appropriate reading lists are available online via this link); volunteer with a non-profit or by helping an elderly neighbor; encourage children to create their own job (such as pet sitting); start a scrapbook (even of family vacations past); visit local museums (the Historical Museum is open weekends and Wednesdays); go grocery shopping with your children (and let them help plan meals, while teaching them about nutrition); cook dinner together (and practice math while doing so); and let your kids teach you how to use a computer (thus fostering conversation and patience). Adds O’Connell, “When children are inactive mentally and physically during the summer, they often have to take time to get back up to speed in the fall. This wastes students’ valuable learning time and schools’ scarce resources. So, get up and go read and play.” The 2009/2010 school year for Bear Valley Unified School District students begins on August 4.