If you’re looking for ways to increase your child’s activity level, an activity tracker might help. There are plenty of fitness and activity trackers on the market, and really any of them would be fine for counting steps or logging and prompting movement. But there are also a few devices made specifically for kids and they might offer a better option.
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Best Devices Designed for Kids
LeapFrog LeapBand: For Kids 4-7 Years Old
The LeapFrog name is synonymous with educational technology, so it’s no surprise that the company designed a kid-friendly and fun activity tracker. It’s fairly affordable (under $40) and it encourages activity through a system of fun movement challenges, rewards for activity time, and appealing and customizable characters.
This device is less of an activity tracker and more of an interactive device that emphasizes healthy development. Because of this, it doesn’t track steps, sleep, and other metrics that a typical wearable might. Some children might lose interest fairly quickly which essentially renders it useless. The LeapBand seems most beneficial for children who are at home most of the time.
Overall, the LeapBand encourages healthy habits and choices in a fun way. There’s a companion app available on most iOS and Android devices (as well as LeapFrog tablets), so if your child has a separate device they can do even more with the band. Available in blue, green, and pink, the LeapBand is a fun and useful option for getting kids moving.
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2: For Kids 4-7 Years Old
Another device geared for younger children comes from Garmin and has more of an activity tracker feel than the LeapBand. The looks of this wearable might be more appealing to some, as it comes in different Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars designs. This is another wearable that offers challenges and rewards as a means to get kids moving.
A big difference in the Vivofit Jr. compared to the LeapBand is that the Vivofit aims to get kids walking (by tracking steps) and aiming for a prefigured amount of “active minutes” (the default is 60 per day, but parents can change that). It also allows for reminders and chores to help kids accomplish specific tasks. Additionally, it does include challenges and adventures that get kids involved in being more active and rewarding activity over a period of days.
The Vivofit Jr. 2 really works to help kids stay active and be responsible, which is a great idea. It’s useful, too, that the Jr. 2 tracks steps, activity, and sleep, so there’s a use beyond challenges and activities. It is priced a little high (around $80) and there aren’t any basic colors or designs – it’s all Disney.
Click here for a comparison between the Vivofit Jr. and the Vivofit Jr. 2.
VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2: For Kids 4-12
VTech’s kid-friendly “smartwatch” is an option for kids who want some smartwatch or smartphone capabilities in addition to movement reminders and step tracking. It includes watch faces to help kids learn to tell time, activity challenges to inspire movement, and two cameras to let kids snap selfies or take photos and videos of other things. With a starting price around $60, the Kidizoom is priced fairly for what it does.
There are also some additional functions and features on the Kidizoom, like the game Monster Catcher that lets kids go monster hunting in the real world (think Pokemon Go). It also has photo and video effects, so kids can have fun with the pictures they take.
The Kidizoom does a good job of offering ongoing appealing features, so it’s likely that kids will stay interested in it beyond the first week. It does some to encourage activity and it includes a pedometer, so there are some fitness tracking features. Available in different color options like blue or pink (and some special editions like floral birds or camouflage), the Kidizoom is a fun option for kids who aren’t quite old enough for a phone or smartwatch, but it doesn’t excel as an activity tracker.
There are other activity trackers made for kids, but the majority have poor reviews or are expensive (like the X-Doria or Nabi Compete) so we are hesitant to recommend them. There are plenty of regular fitness and activity trackers, however, so depending on what you want from it and/or your child’s age, it might be more cost effective and beneficial to go with one of those.
Fitbit Flex 2: For Older Kids
The Flex 2 is a durable, simple, and waterproof band from Fitbit that will track exercise, steps, sleep, and activity. It provides movement reminders, too, so kids can be prompted to get moving if they’ve been inactive for too long. The Flex 2 is designed for adults, so it would likely be too big for many children. But its durability and sleekness make it a good choice for some older kids who are trying to be healthier.
The Flex 2 can be worn as a band, pendant, or bangle bracelet, so there are lots of options for wearing it, and the simple style isn’t distracting. At $60, it’s a bit of an investment, but if you have a child who will wear it for a long while and for whom the tracking and app is useful, this is a great entry into the world of fitness tracking.
Buying a Wearable for Your Child
As you can see, there are a few different possibilities for wearables for kids. The best one for your family will depend on your budget, the age of your child, and what you hope to get from the device. A simpler device that tracks steps and activity is fine for keeping track of your child’s activity level, but it’s the designs meant for kids that will actually support your efforts to get them moving.
For younger children, the LeapBand or the Vivofit Jr. 2 are fun devices that can inspire healthier choices and more movement. Garmin’s band is great for helping kids keep track of their responsibilities. VTech’s Kidizoom is a good option for kids that are a bit older and who want some of the functions like the camera and video recorder.
For tweens and teens, a regular fitness tracker should work fine, and the Fitbit Flex 2 is just one option – there are plenty of budget-friendly devices on the market, so it’s easy to find one that does what you need it to. Here’s our fitness tracker buying guide to get you started.