Children everywhere are counting down the days until the end of school. It's so close they can smell that summer vacation. It's an exciting time.

But the end of school for two or three months doesn't mean the end of learning. Or at least, it shouldn't. Sure, it's perfectly healthy to give your kids some time to decompress after a grueling school year. But you should have a plan in place to keep your child's education from stagnating over the summer.

It's a fine line. You don't want to be the overbearing parent who harps on their child every morning and night about doing their homework. That happens enough during the school year! It's time for everyone to get a break. But there are some things you can do to encourage your child's learning all summer.

1. Read

Whether you read to your child or they read to themselves, it is critical that you build reading time into each day. Remind your child that this is a time for them to read books that they want to read and you can help them discover new books by taking trips to the library and speaking to librarians, or going online to discover age-appropriate books for them. If your children are young enough, you could do a family story time with a classic book where you read a chapter each night. You could also pick a book that each member of the family could read over the summer and discuss together.

2. Write

This does not mean that you should be demanding your child write a book report every two weeks or turn in a term paper at the end of the summer. However, it's not a bad idea to encourage your child to keep a journal or to work on their writing skills over the summer. There is so much competition for admissions to college or other educational programs and, while you do not want to place undue pressure on your children, helping them to hone their communication abilities is always a good idea.

3. Go Camping

What is your child interested in? Do they love science or the arts? Are they budding engineers or sportswriters? Take some time to investigate summer camps that help them lock in on some necessary attributes for a possible career in a field they are passionate about. These camps can be pricey, but it can't hurt to look around and see if there are opportunities close to home. Your child will not only enjoy the camp and learn a lot, but he or she might also meet industry professionals or educational contacts that could help them down the road.

4. Learn New Skills

All knowledge does not come from the Internet or from books. There might be great learning opportunities for your child at places you never considered. Maybe there is a family business that they can begin to assist with. Maybe a family friend owns a construction company and your daughter can spend time helping out there. In other words, by challenging your child with new opportunities and new skills to learn, you will be enhancing their lifelong education.

5. Talk to His Previous Teacher

If you want to get a feel for things that your child needs to work on, ask his current teacher about his strengths and weaknesses. You probably know most of this information, but it can't hurt to have a conversation with his teacher and ask for recommendations on skills that he should be fine-tuning over the summer.

6. Talk to His New Teacher

What is going to be expected of your child in the next school year? If you can get a feel for what academic challenges he'll face in the upcoming school year, you can possibly tailor some summer educational opportunities around them.

7. Ask Your Child

Your child's voice should be included in whatever summer education experiences you are putting together for them. If they have a say in the process, they will be more invested and more likely to get something out of them.