For a long time, fitness trackers were just for adults. But now the likes of Fitbit and Garmin have since turned their attention to the challenge of getting kids to be more active too.
While the features and specs lists might slightly differ from fitness trackers designed for the grown-ups, the goal is the same; to keep the little ones moving.
That does, however, mean finding more interesting and fun ways to motivate younger ones to count steps and go out and play regularly.
We’ve picked out the ones that we think are a good fit for the kids right now.
Vivofit jr. 3
Buy now: Amazon | £79.99
We’ve included the Vivofit jr. 2 below, but it’s worth highlighting that the Vivofit jr. 3 is on the way. You might consider holding out for the more watch-like design, color display and new ways to keep kids moving.
It still tracks steps, sleep and active time and still let you set step challenges with other Garmin owners in your family. It’s not added more games, where progress can be unlocked through activity tracking progress.
But it has a more gamified edge, and meeting goals will unlock levels of a game inside the Garmin app – so there’s more reward for actually getting up and about, and parents can tie rewards to chores as well.
One such game is Garmin World Tour, which will unlock “fascinating new locations” with facts, quizzes and pictures, from the Pyramids to the Great Barrier Reef.
And like a sports tracking mode on a normal wearable, playtimes can be set as a timed activity – and kids will get the stats, such as steps and distance, from anything from open playtime to football practice.
There’s your pick of Marvel and Disney Princess bands here too whether they’re all about The Little Mermaid or Iron Man.
Fitbit Ace 2
Buy now: Amazon | £49.95
The Fitbit Ace 2 is designed for ages six and above, with a fun, chunky design paired with the core tracking features you’ll find on Fitbits for grown-ups.
The first Ace was very much a kids’ version of the Fitbit Alta – but without the heart rate smarts. The Ace 2, though, is a bit more playful and fun in its design. It improves on the Ace in a number of ways (including a noticeably lower price).
It packs waterproofing for swimming, and offers animated watch faces with fun goal animations. There’s a bumper to protect the device and the ability for kids to switch to Inspire bands when they grow up. There’s still no heart rate tracking, though.
The Ace 2 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 says that the device complies 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.
Wareable verdict: Fitbit Ace 2 review
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2
Buy now: Amazon | £48.95
If you can’t wait for the Vivofit jr. 3 or prefer to go for more of a band-style fitness tracker, you can still look at the second generation Vivofit Jr. 2 as well.
You’re still getting those Disney and Marvel collaborations in order to make counting steps and hitting goals more fun.
So 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 or Marvel 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 on 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
Buy now: Amazon | £30
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 blends 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 is also 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 four to seven, there are three colours to choose from: green, blue and pink.
UNICEF kids band
Buy now: $36.99 | Amazon
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. The more time your child spends running around the playground and keeping active, the more food Unicef 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.
FourFit Mini 2
£34.99 | FourFit
A UK outfit that deserves wider recognition, FourFit is into the second generation of its fitness tracker for kids aged 10 and above.
Pairing up a choice of five different coloured bands with an OLED display, it counts steps, tracks sleep and packs a water resistant design to give that extra layer of durability. You’ll also get the ability to set up smart alarms and supports inactivity alerts to keep them moving regularly during the day.
Data is stored on the band until they’re ready to sync and the rapid charging feature will get it back up to 60% off a 20 minute charge to make sure it can quickly go back on when you’re running low.