There is a question many parents, myself included, deal with whenever school vacations are coming: how do I keep my kids active? The answer begins by choosing the right fitness activities and sports for their age.

This effort is worthy, because exercising will not only keep your kids active and healthy, but it can also have back-to-school benefits, such as contributing to their performance in the classroom. Higher physical activity levels have been associated with improved concentration and memoryamong students.

The key is to plan ahead. Here are some tips that I follow with my own kids:

Skip, Hop, and Jump (3-6 years)

For younger kids aged three to six, it’s important to keep sports and activities fun and filled with lots of opportunities for them to build body confidence and master large motor skill movements.

Skipping, hopping, jumping, and climbing as well as using balls and hoops are all great ways to promote motor skill development. The summer is also a perfect time for younger kids to learn to swim. And if they’re not a fan of water at this stage, trips to the playground to navigate the monkey bars and play with other kids is a great option for playful activity too.

Team Sports and Individual Activities (6-12 years)

At this age, your children are becoming more aware of their individual interests. It is crucial to take this into account and guide them towards sports that suit their age, personality, and abilities.

If your kid likes healthy competition and team sports, basketball, soccer, or volleyball are great options. For children who might be more introverted or simply like better going at it solo, consider dancing, running, or track field exercises.

Whatever your kids prefer, make sure to guide them towards activities in which they feel they can succeed. This will help them develop their self-esteem, as well as their critical thinking skills.

Organized Sports (Teens)

For teens who play high school sports, summer is a great time to get fit and work on conditioning. Many high schools offer sports exploration camps, so teens can learn what sports they enjoy and are skilled at.

For swimmers, the junior lifeguard training offered by many cities is a fantastic healthy program—it focuses on conditioning as well as lifesaving skills.

Often times, teens just need to get outside and bike or hike—these are fun options that provide essential cardiovascular work.

Be Safe and Present

To enjoy the sunny days in a safe manner, make sure you and your kids follow these tips:

One final suggestion: unplug! Summer is a wonderful opportunity to spend time as a family. In place of TV, tablets, and smartphones, plan active days to the park, a walk on the beach, or a hike on a local trail.

With just a little planning, you and your kids can enjoy a healthier summer together.

Samantha Clayton

Samantha ClaytonOLY, ISSA-CPT – Vice President, Sports Performance and Fitness Education

Samantha Clayton serves as the vice president of Sports Performance and Fitness Education at Herbalife. She is also the Vice Chair of the Fitness Advisory Board. Clayton represented Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. She is a certified personal trainer with specialty certifications in group fitness, youth fitness programming, senior fitness and athletic conditioning. Clayton has an associate degree in pharmaceutical science and studied chemistry at the University of Wolverhampton. She then went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in public health and a master’s in medical nutrition from American Public University and Arizona State University, respectively. As a mother of four, she enjoys cheering for her kids at their sporting activities. Her favorite Herbalife product is Herbalife24® Rebuild Strength.