All the big name fitness tracker brands, including Fitbit to Garmin, are focusingh more on getting kids to get outside and be more active.
While the features and specs list might differ from the fitness trackers designed for adults, the goal is the same; to keep the user moving and active. That does, however, mean finding more interesting and fun ways to motivate younger ones to count steps and go out and play regularly.
Read this: Best smartwatches for kids
We’ve picked out the ones that we think are a good fit for your little ones. Got any questions about our selections or kid-friendly wearables? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The Fitbit Ace is designed for ages eight and above offering a familiar design while offering core tracking features you’ll find on Fitbits for grown ups.
Essentially a smaller, kid-friendly version of the Fitbit Alta – but without the heart rate smarts – the Ace tracks your kid’s active minutes, steps and sleep time, with all that information then thrown into the parents’ companion app for them to view. Kids can pair it with their own smartphone to receive call notifications or a parent can be in control from their phone while also sending messages of support.
Fitbit notes that the device will comply with regulations in place that apply to kids trackers, too and within the companion app you’ll be able to take full control of what data is shared or viewable by other approved Fitbit friends and family members.
One thing to keep an eye on in the future: Fitbit’s got a new fitness tracker coming for young kids, with watch faces that include monsters and googly-eyes to entice the under 8 crowd more than the more adult-looking Ace.
Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ace review
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2
Arguably the premier fitness tracker for kids, the second generation Vivofit Jr. 2 is adding help from Disney in order to make counting steps and hitting goals more fun. Garmin is also keeping things fresh, adding Disney Princess and Spider-Man options for its kid-friendly wearable.
But how does it make hitting fitness goals fun? Well, when kids hit their goal of 60 minutes of daily activity, they advance in a larger game they’re taking part in, which varies depending on which Disney IP you go with.
Parents can also log into the app to keep track of each kid’s steps, sleep and activity level. If you want to set reminders for chores, the bands will ring and vibrate and remind the kid what they need to do (for example, a paper and pen signifies homework time). Completing these tasks can earn virtual coins, which can then be redeemed with the adults for agreed-upon rewards.
There are two sizes to choose from here, a stretchy band intended for children aged four to seven, and an adjustable, buckled equivalent intended for six-year-olds and above. You can choose from five designs, based off Disney, Star Wars and Marvel characters, each coming in two variations.
You also don’t need to worry about charging every night, either, with the replaceable battery lasting up to a year, according to Garmin.
Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivofit Jr.2 review
While Fitbit does now have a dedicated fitness tracker for kids in the shape of the Ace, kids can also get in on the ground floor with the Zip.
The company indicates that its stable of current trackers are all for use by those aged 13 and above, but the Zip is hardly a complicated experience. And instead of being a wrist-worn device, this is instead a clip-on that will track steps, calories and distance, as well as telling you the time and displaying your active minutes for the day.
There’s no sleep tracking or fancy companion app work, but this will still sync to Android and iOS devices to give you a broader look at activity. The Zip also harbours a lengthy six-month battery life, and comes in a number of vibrant colours.
The big problem here is that Fitbit does not sell the Zip on its website any longer, which means it’s likely not long for this world – you can tell by it’s rising prices on Amazon. So you better get on this quick.
Unicef Kid Power Band
Looking to add an extra incentive to the activity tracking, Unicef’s Kid Power Band helps provide food packets to children in need around the globe with the more steps your child collects. The more time they spend running around the playground and keeping active, the more food they will send.
But the band goes a little deeper, with completed missions unlocking videos detailing the cultures their activity is helping. A companion app is also available for parents, which provides a look into missions and step monitoring.
There’s not the same amount of depth here as other trackers, but it’s an initiative worth getting behind. Unicef suggests that you’ll need to charge the device roughly once a week, but be aware that it may need more consistent recharging if your child is storming through their activity.
The Power Band comes in five different variations, with three of those being Star Wars limited editions.
Tamagotchis and Pokemon have been popular with kids for a reason, there’s something alluring about taking care of a little virtual pet. Leapfrog takes that idea and smashes it into a fitness tracker to get kids moving.
Kids can pick one of eight different pets – from unicorns to frogs – and have to do activity challenges to earn points and play games with them. There are 14 challenges to start, but parents can add up to 36 more for a total of 50.
Kids can use those points to nurture their pet, with the ability to feed and groom them. There’s also something called Pet Chef, which lets kids use their pets to collect food and learn nutritional fun facts along the way. It also is water resistant and has school and quiet modes so that they won’t play around while they’re supposed to be paying attention.
Intended for ages 4 to 7, there are three colors to choose from: Green, blue and pink.
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