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It’s that time of summer when the kids are looking for something new and interesting to do. Thanks to its Office of Communications headed by Elizabeth Emmett, Napa Valley Unified School District (www.nvusd.k12.ca.us) has put a selection of links on its home page to help parents find great summer activities. Here’s a sampling.

First there is a link to summer camps and other local programs for kids from preschool through 12th grade. You’ll find information about the Napa County Library’s summer reading program, a fee-based program for instrumental music, and ideas for doing science experiments at home (Sylvan).

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) offers a summer safari with ideas for making family trips and restaurant meals fun and educational. These are just a few examples from 30 resources given at the first tab.

Next, from Common Sense Media, is a guide to apps and games for many subject areas, rated by age. For example, for tinkering and technology for 2- to 6-year-olds, the site gives five computer games rated from 1 to 5 with descriptions. For ages 7-12 under “hands-on science,” there are almost 20 suggestions. “Journey North” has a set of activities where young naturalists can choose an animal and track its migrations.

Do you have a teen who is eager to change the world for the better? Under “learn together,” I found an organization called the Harry Potter Alliance, a real- world club for teens and college kids who want to do good. There is a chapter in Davis. Other categories are explore the world, get creative, and multi-media memories. Many of the games and activities can be downloaded from iTunes.

The next tab takes you to a blog on Fun and Free Summer Learning Resources from Edutopia. Here you will find summer reading lists, math games and more. I tried a game where you zap a piece of flying cheese to give the correct answer to a math fact; I learned once again that my math skills far exceed my clicking speed.

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The last tab takes you to an Educator Labs list of online resources, where your kids of all ages can read about space flight, world cultures, geography, even about preparing for the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). At the link called Engineering the Future, kids can learn how beavers build dams, about biodomes or can design a school.

If all you do is require your youngsters to spend an hour every day reading, playing educational games online or checking out one of these websites, they will be using rather than losing their reading skills. They will also be practicing what they know, learning new information, and perhaps finding a whole new area of interest.

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Lenore Hirsch is a retired school principal living in Napa. Send questions to lenorehirsch@att.net. Please include your child’s age or grade.

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