Kids have the kind of energy adults could only dream of having, and they spend their days being active just for the fun of it. You might not think that a kid needs to track and monitor their health and activity, but fitness trackers for kids are made specifically with children in mind. That means they’re not focused on weight loss, but rather forming good habits and leading an active lifestyle.
What makes a fitness tracker kid-friendly?
Fitness trackers for kids are simplified versions of those for adults — they trade out smartwatch features for motivational games and rewards systems. Your kid doesn’t really need an Apple Watch to count their steps and monitor their heart rate.
The best fitness trackers for kids have more kid-friendly designs, with some featuring themes from Star Wars, Frozen, and other Disney favorites. The terms “activity tracker” and “fitness tracker” are interchangeable when it comes to kids. You can just as much use one of these trackers to keep your child on task with homework, chores, and bedtime as you can use it to monitor health data.
Benefits of kids using fitness trackers
Using a fitness tracker at a young age can teach children to be conscious of health early on and can help promote an active lifestyle for years to come. Your kids will actually get excited about getting up and moving or completing chores and tasks when doing so unlocks rewards and mini games.
Within these trackers, you and your kid can set activity goals — fitness or otherwise. Activity trackers teach kids to be physically active, yes, but they also teach responsibility. Mundane tasks become more fun when they’re integrated into games and rewards. Plus, you won’t have to hound your kid to do their chores or go to bed on time when the cool gadget around their wrist bears that burden for you.
What if my kid doesn’t have a smartphone?
Your child doesn’t need a smartphone as long as you have one. Fitness trackers for kids let you set up a family account within the app, so you can ultimately have control over settings and permissions. Most of these apps have parent views and kid views, so your child can still feel like they’re in charge of their own health and activity.
A smartphone isn’t necessary to access all the features of an activity tracker — most are built right into the device. Phones are just needed for syncing, in-app games and bonus features, or any extra content. Step tracking, alarms, and other quick-access features are all accessible from your child’s wrist.
When shopping for a fitness tracker for your child, think about durability if you know your kid plays rough. And keep in mind which features are most important: Do you just want something basic? Or will your kid really benefit from extra games and activities?
With that in mind, here are our top picks for the best fitness trackers for kids.
BEST FOR BONUS FEATURES
Garmin Vívofit Jr. 2
Games, rewards, and Disney help this tracker motivate kids.
Battery life: Non-rechargeable, up to one year
Sleep tracking: Yes
Water resistance: Waterproof up to 50 meters
Fitbit Ace 2
Fitbit’s industry-leading fitness tracking is made available to kids.
BEST SMARTWATCH TRACKER
Verizon GizmoWatch 2
This watch is ideal for communication and fitness features.
BEST FOR OLDER KIDS
Fitbit Charge 3
Pre-teens can skip the kiddie games and designs with the Charge 3.
BEST BUDGET PICK
Biggerfive fitness tracker watch
With simple features, this is a nice option without breaking the bank.
BEST EDUCATIONAL TRACKER
UNICEF Kid Power Band
Kids will learn about culture and use activity to give back to those in need.