Did you know you can get fitness trackers for kids, too? Fitness trackers encourage children to stay active in a way that’s fun and can help to forge positive habits that last a lifetime. This is a rare gift that’s a real win-win: the kids are happy, and the parents are happy too. But how do you choose the right one for your child? Read on, and we’ll take a look at the best fitness trackers for kids.
See also: The best fitness trackers you can buy
Why do kids need fitness trackers?
In today’s modern, connected lifestyle, it is easy to get caught up in television, video games, and other less active forms of entertainment. This is no different for kids. Indeed, many modern parents lament that their kids spend so much time on their Xboxes and so little time playing with the neighbors’ kids. (Unless your neighbors’ kids are weird.)
It’s important for kids to keep moving in order to stay healthy and fit. Not only can this help to fend off health issues like obesity and diabetes, but it’s also important for development. Physical play teaches children a myriad of critical skills, from social interactions to coordinated movement. This can even increase neuroplasticity and aid with learning in other areas. Staying active helps kids to sleep better at night and focus more in classrooms. Physical exercise even helps to improve mood and strengthen the immune system!
Fitness trackers for kids not only help you to keep tabs on just how much your child is moving but also make fitness more fun and interesting. This is especially important for children with known health issues, but it’s also a great way for any parent to instill good habits and help their children feel their best.
What makes a quality kids fitness tracker?
Good fitness trackers for kids essentially gamify fitness; they create goals children can accomplish to “level up,” reach an achievement, and so forth. Parents can also create challenges between all the kids and adults to see who can get the most steps or find other creative ways to inspire younger children to get up and move. Many kids fitness trackers have extras like the ability to set chore goals, again in a game-like way.
Look for trackers with fun, colorful designs. Think about the interface and whether it is easy to navigate for your child’s age range. Of course, I don’t need to tell any parents reading that these things also need to be highly durable!
And of course, you still need to look for all the same features that make any fitness tracker great. That means it should have an accurate heart rate sensor, decent battery life, and optional extra features like sleep tracking. The latter can be a very useful insight for parents, in particular.
The best fitness trackers for kids
- The Fitbit Ace 2 is the best fitness tracker for kids. This is a durable, smart-looking watch with lots of tracking and all the features you might need, including sleep tracking.
- The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3 has a wide range of features and boasts a number of branded straps.
- The Fitbit Ace is good for older kids. The design is less colorful but this is sure to appeal to kids that like to look “cool.”
- The Unicef Kid Power Band donates to charity as the wearer racks up steps. This is a great way to teach your kids about charity as well as fitness.
- The Nabi Compete is a competition-centric band that lets kids compare their scores. It’s ideal for larger households.
Fitbit Ace 2: The best fitness tracker for kids
Fitbit is one of the most well-known and reliable wearables brands on the market. The Fitbit Ace 2 is its second fitness tracker for kids and this time it has a much more child-friendly design. Recommended for kids six and up, it has a silicone band and a rugged body that can take a beating. Unlike its predecessor, it’s also fully swimproof (5ATM rating).
In terms of features, however, the two are almost identical. The second generation offers step, activity, and sleep tracking to help your kids stay active. They can earn virtual badges when completing goals or you can give them a gentle nudge to move more via a reminder sent through the parental app. Kids can also team up with friends and invite them to step competitions. Even if their friends don’t have a Fitbit, they can still use the built-in timer and stopwatch to challenge them to races.
The Fitbit Ace 2 also has a solid battery life of up to five days, so children won’t have to reach for the charger too often. The fitness tracker comes in a number of bright, fun colors and even offers animated clock faces, which kids are sure to love. All of these features combined make the Fitbit Ace 2 one of the best kids’ fitness trackers you can buy.
Read more about the Fitbit Ace 2 in our list of the best Fitbit trackers and smartwatches.
Garmin Vivofit Jr. 3: The best customizable fitness tracker for kids
The successor to Garmin’s older Vivofit Jr. 2 fitness tracker, this new device has a lot going for it. Kids get a full-color screen, year-long battery life (replaceable), water resistance for swimming, and more. Perhaps most exciting though, are the bands with branded artwork, including several from the Disney family of characters like Marvel and Star Wars. And with customizable wallpapers, the entire setup can be easily customized.
Each of these licensed bands for the Vivofit Jr. 3 also comes with its own mobile app. Kids will be able to take part in missions with both the fitness tracker and app in order to achieve the goal of getting 60 minutes of activity every day. Parents can use the app to keep track of their kids’ activities and set up chores for their children to complete.
Younger kids can pick up the tracker with a stretchy band for smaller wrists, while older kids can get one with an adjustable band.
Read more: The best Garmin running watches you can buy
Fitbit Ace: The best fitness tracker for older kids
The Fitbit Ace is the company’s very first fitness tracker for kids. It offers a feature set designed specifically for kids ages eight and up. This device can keep track of steps taken, active minutes, and sleep stats. You can even customize daily step and active minute goals. The Ace features move reminders to help them remember to move if they’ve been sitting too long.
The Fitbit Ace also introduces new competitions in the Fitbit app that allow family members to compete against each other to achieve certain step goals.
Alongside the Fitbit Ace, the company introduced a new Fitbit family account. This will allow parents to keep a closer eye on their children’s activity, progress, and friend requests in the Fitbit app. There’s also a new child view setting, which limits what data your child sees in the app. If you don’t want them to see their friend requests, you can turn that feature off.
Unicef Kid Power Band: The best fitness tracker for charity
Getting your kids to exercise is a great task in and of itself, but what about helping the less fortunate? With the Unicef Kid Power Band, you get to kill two birds with one stone. As kids collect more steps, a therapeutic food packet will be sent to a child in need. The more steps they collect, the more food they will send. The band also has a set of missions that, when completed, unlock videos your child can watch to learn more about the cultures they are helping.
It doesn’t offer quite enough incentive for the kids themselves but helping others through their activity is an ingenious alternative. The band also comes with a companion app that you can use to keep track of missions and monitor your taken steps.
Nabi Compete: The best fitness tracker for big families
If you have multiple kids around the house, the Nabi Compete is the band to get. The device encourages you to compete or work with a friend/sibling to reach certain goals and is easily the most affordable fitness tracker for kids on the list.
What kind of goals exactly? The first is a distance goal. Kids will be challenged to travel the distance of a landmark, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, to earn coins. The second is a caloric goal. Kids will be tasked to burn off the average amount of calories of whatever food they choose, such as a cheeseburger. As kids earn coins, they can be spent to acquire a virtual pet that they can raise and take care of. These pets are not just for show, though. They actually give a small boost for kids when they’re in the middle of a challenge, like adding steps to your total count to give yourself that slight advantage when going head-to-head. Keep in mind that the companion app is necessary in order to access all of these features.
Related: The best fitness apps for Android
That’s it for our list of the best fitness trackers for kids. Looking for even more coverage? See below: