By now, we’ve all heard about the children’s obesity crisis and we know that our kids need to be more active. Luckily, fitness trackers for kids make things a bit easier with fun features that make exercise seem more like a game. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best fitness trackers for kids, plus we’ll provide some tips for picking the right activity tracker for your child.
Tips for Choosing the Best Kids Fitness Tracker: What to Look For
If you’ve already started shopping for kids fit watches and bands, you know that there are tons of options to choose from. Here are some key features to keep in mind as you consider your options.
Fit: Is it Sized Right for Your Child?
Most children’s fitness trackers come in sizes to fit little wrists just right but a few are either too small or too large. It’s a good idea to measure your child’s wrist and compare your results with the tracker sizes offered. Some trackers will carry out pedometer functions and general activity tracking when the back of the unit isn’t in contact with the wearer’s skin, but other features call for skin contact. Additionally, a good fit is essential for comfort. If the tracker causes chafing or other issues, your child probably won’t feel like wearing it.
Appearance: Does it Look Cool?
When it comes to electronic wearables, looks matter. When you’re shopping for your child, be sure to pick something they’ll like the looks of – if they hate their tracker’s appearance, they’re probably not going to feel like using it. The good news is that some of the best fitness trackers for kids also happen to be at the top of the heap when it comes to appearance!
Activities: What Does it Track?
Some trackers are basically step counters, while others count other types of activity as exercise. Unless your child is a dedicated walker or runner, it’s probably a good idea to pick a kids fitness tracker that does more than simply count the number of steps your child takes in a day. Some wearables also track sleep habits.
Rewards: How Does it Motivate?
In some kids’ activity trackers, competition and the ability to see progress is its own reward. Others let parents add rewards, or offer game progress in virtual adventures. Unless you’re getting your child an activity tracker as a surprise gift, you might want to narrow down your options and then have a quick talk about two or three different reward systems to find out which one is most appealing to your child.
Durability: Will it Stand Up to Heavy Use?
Most kids fitness trackers are built with durability in mind. Even so, it’s important to double-check to ensure that the tracker you’re considering has the ability to withstand bumps and dings. Some trackers are waterproof, which is great for swimming and other activities that might expose the unit to water.
Compatibility: Does it Work with Your Device?
Just like activity trackers for adults, kids fitness trackers work with the help of downloadable apps, usually with parental controls. Most are versatile, but be sure to read the fine print to make sure that the tracker you’re considering will work with your device.
Price: Is it a fit for your budget?
When you compare the price of a kids fitness band vs. an adult model, it’s clear that most kids’ trackers are far more affordable than similar gadgets built with adults in mind. Prices vary widely though – the cheapest options are usually around $30 and the most expensive are over $100. Pick something that works for your budget but be sure to keep quality in mind. This is one of those product categories that brings the old adage that “you get what you pay for” to mind. Cheapest definitely isn’t best!
Best Activity Tracker for Kids: 5 To Consider
With all the most important factors in mind, here are our top five picks for the best fitness tracker for kids.
LeapFrog Leap Band: Best for Little Kids age 4+
LeapFrog is famous for its interactive toys, and the Leap Band delivers a fun experience that younger kids can’t seem to get enough of. The fun begins when you preload the LeapBand with challenges that are fun for kids to carry out. You can add up to 50 things at once. After that, your child chooses one of eight personalized virtual pets. The more active your child is, the healthier their pet becomes and the more the child can do with the pet. The free games app adds even more motivation, but you’ll need to run it with either a LeapFrog wireless tablet, an Apple device with iOS 6.0 or higher, or a Google Android device running 4.03 or higher. This tracker gets loads of applause for its innovative, youthful design and its fun features. On the downside, it’s water-resistant but not waterproof, the battery life isn’t the best, and kids tend to lose interest in it after about age 6 even though it’s marketed as appropriate for kids up to age 7.
Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2: Great for Kids 5 to 8
Even though it’s among the most affordable kid’s fitness trackers out there, the Vtech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 delivers – big time! Just like smartwatches for grownups, this cool unit lets your child take photos and record videos. It includes a few fun games, including motion-controlled games that get kids excited about moving. A built-in pedometer tracks steps. A micro USB cord is included – this lets you upload photos and videos to other devices and it is used for recharging the battery as well.
This unit isn’t waterproof but it is “splash-proof.” It only comes in blue or purple, but most kids don’t seem to mind. This tracker appeals to kids in the 5 to 8 age range, although it’s less exciting for tech-savvy kids who are used to tons of features.
Garmin Vivofit Jr Kids Activity Tracker: Waterproof Fun for Kids up to Age 12
We like the Garmin Vivofit Jr. Kids Activity Tracker so much that we’re tempted to use it ourselves! This option costs a little more than some others, but it really delivers in terms of versatility and rewards. It’s waterproof so kids can shower and swim with it on, and the app lets you add rewards for chores, along with chore reminders. Not only are kids more active with this cool band, they’re also more motivated to help out around the house!
You can choose from a variety of awesome bands and replacement bands to change up the look, and the battery never needs charging – it’s easy to replace at home after the one-year lifespan is up. There are a few reports of manufacturing defects but overall, most users are very happy with the unit’s performance and the way it motivates their kids to get up and move. This activity tracker fits in adult-sized Garmin bands, so larger kids can enjoy a comfortable feel.
Letsfit Fitness Tracker: Great for Older Kids
After about age 12, kids’ fitness trackers and kid-centered games tend to lose their appeal and often, wristbands can be too tight for older kids. The good news is that activity trackers for small adults usually fit kids around age 12. The Letsfit Fitness Tracker is a great example – and older kids will appreciate the fact that it doesn’t look like a children’s toy. There are tons of wristband colors to choose from and best of all, this tracker works with most major smartphones. Be sure to check details for compatibility.
Even though marketing materials say that this tracker is waterproof, it isn’t; instead, it’s water resistant. It can easily withstand sweat but your child should not swim or shower while wearing it.
A built-in USB makes it easy to plug this tracker into any USB charging port. Recharge is required every five to seven days, and charging takes just about 2 hours on average. A one-year warranty is included, along with a 60-day replacement or refund guarantee in case you’re dissatisfied.
Waterproof Fitbit Flex 2 Smart Fitness Activity Tracker: Ideal for Teens
Teens who prefer minimalistic styles will appreciate the Fitbit Flex 2 fitness tracker. Waterproof for swimming, showering, bathing, or even playing in the ocean, this unit motivates by tracking steps, active minutes, and calories burned. The tracker arrives housed in a flexible bracelet, but it’s easy to hide inside a bangle or pendant, if preferred. This fitness tracker comes in different colors and is compatible with a variety of Fitbit bands, clips, and jewelry. The Fitbit app syncs with more than 200 devices including options from Android, Apple, and Windows.
There’s a lot to love about this Fitbit including activity alerts, alarms, and a sleep function. On the downside, it doesn’t track stair climbing, and it doesn’t have an alphanumeric display. A few Android users report some trouble syncing with phones, making it necessary to sync the unit with a tablet or laptop instead. All in all though, it’s a fantastic piece of tech that teens like just as much as adults do.
Whatever your budget and whatever your child’s age, it’s easier than ever to find a great fitness tracker for kids – one that helps them get up and get moving, and one that’s appropriate for their age as well as their personality. We hope this guide makes your choice a bit easier. Happy shopping – and remember to get your steps in, too!