Activity is essential for everyone, and getting into the habit of being in motion should begin early. But getting children up and going isn’t always easy — gone are the days where kids played outside from dawn until dusk. Technology is often what’s keeping children indoors, so why not use it to get them out?
The best fitness tracker for kids will encourage them to get moving. Whether it works by presenting them with an award or having the pure pleasure of seeing their accomplishments, activity trackers have proven successful in motivating kids.
Today, we’re helping you decide if they’re worth a try, so let’s get physical (sorry, I had to include that somewhere).
Should You Buy an Activity Tracker for Kids?
Activity trackers have gained a good reputation among adults — with some folks claiming it’s their secret to a healthier life. Others are saying they aren’t necessary.
Just as with adults, fitness trackers for children have their pros and cons. They’re fantastic motivators but may encourage an unhealthy obsession over weight and exercise.
With the increase in child obesity, the pros often outweigh the cons (1). At least one study for adults did conclude that wearable activity trackers can promote a positive behavioral change (2). The same can apply to children.
By viewing clear information that the trackers provide, along with rewards, many kids are reporting that it made activity more fun. When children find exercise enjoyable, they’re more likely to continue this healthy behavior into adulthood.
It’s still essential for parents to explain the importance of activity. When doing so, always preach body positivity — remember that healthy, confident attitudes in parents incite a positive atmosphere for your child (3).
Finding the Best Activity Tracker for Kids
A sleep tracker is an excellent feature to look for in a fitness watch. Getting enough sleep is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, especially for school-aged children (4). Such a monitor will give you an overlook of how many hours your child spends sleeping and if they wake up at night.
If they don’t like wearing gadgets to bed, though, it’s okay to skip this feature. Only seek it out if they’ll use it and benefit from it.
A waterproof activity tracker is ideal for children. Even if they don’t swim with it, you know it’s protected from spills and splashes.
It’s essential, however, that you make sure it’s completely waterproof before using it in the pool. Some watches claim to be waterproof when they’re only resistant to spills and minor splashes. Swim-proof watches on our list include the Fitbit Ace 2, Garmin Vivofit Jr., and Vivofit Jr. 2.
Since your child will spend a lot of time wearing the watch, comfort is important. A good material to look for is silicone. These are flexible and usually come as a one-piece design, which is best for small children.
For older children, look for watch-style closures to accommodate their growing wrists.
Another comfort consideration is screen size. Big and bulky isn’t ideal for children, even though they may look more fun.
Consider the battery life and how it suits your lifestyle. Some trackers, such as the Garmin, may last one year before requiring a recharge. Others need recharging every day.
Compatible App for Parents
Depending on you and your child, having an app on your phone to check in on the watch might be necessary. Most trackers come with an app where you can monitor progress and sleep on a phone or tablet.
Fitbit and Garmin have, by far, the best apps for parents. Many allow you to add family members, challenges, and rewards for users.
The Best Kids Activity Trackers of 2020
With a lot of good and some bad options out there, finding the best fitness tracker for kids wasn’t easy. By conducting extensive research on expert sites and wading through parent reviews, we managed to find our seven favorites.
1. Fitbit Ace 2 Activity Tracker for Kids
The Ace 2 is a tracker that has a lot to offer. As with the adult versions, there’s an interactive app where users can find motivation and challenges.
Adults are in control of the majority of the content.
You can monitor all the changes, activities, and well-being of your child.
The tracker gives you a full report of activity and sleep habits, as long as they keep wearing it.
Why We Love It
Sleep and Activity Tracker
The Ace 2 tracks your child day and night. During the day, it analyzes each step, skip, or jump the wearer takes and then summarizes them in minutes of activity. At night, the tracker works on surveilling their sleep patterns.
The exterior of the Ace 2 is waterproof down to 164 feet. There’s no need to remove it for bath time, the pool, or water play in the garden. So, spills and splashes are no biggie.
Because the CDC recommends at least 60 minutes of activity a day for children, Fitbit includes a one-hour challenge for the wearer (5). This is a daily event, and youngsters can invite friends through the app for some competition.
In the app, children also find incentives like virtual badges and avatars. Here they can watch their progress, which helps them to stay motivated.
Clock Faces and Colorful Bands
Children can express their style through the fitness tracker. There are fun animated clock faces to choose from. Fitbit, however, stresses that some clock faces will require more frequent charging.
Keep In Mind
The wristbands seem to be the biggest disappointment with the Ace 2. Parents note that they break quite easily. Fortunately, they’re easy to replace.
|Suitable for ages||6 years and up|
|Battery life||5 days before needing charging|
2. Garmin Vívofit Jr. 2
The Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 is an outstanding motivator. It comes in several themes, including Star Wars, Marvel, Frozen, and Disney princesses. Each opens up interactive games and challenges designed to motivate users to stay active.
With the tracker, parents are in full control. Through the compatible app, you can do a variety of things to better your child’s well-being, including tracking sleep and activity.
You can take the activity tracker on any adventure, be it on the playground or to the beach. Just be mindful of too much sand and dust.
Why We Love It
Interactive Star Wars-Themed Challenges
With the tracker, the user can enter an interactive Star Wars universe where they get to explore more each day. The wearer must complete the 60-minute activity goal, thus unlocking more time to play and explore.
You get to see familiar faces, including Chewie, Han Solo, C-3PO, R2-D2, among many others. It’s a fantastic motivation for staying active. Shouldn’t there be a version for adults?
Along with the tracker, there is a recommended app, which works as your parental assistant. From there, you can view the activity, track their sleep and invite the whole family to step challenges.
What’s more, you can set up chores for them to complete, adjust daily step challenges, and designate rewards. You can arrange weekly duties and tasks or choose to edit them daily.
One-Year Battery Life
The battery is unbelievable. Garmin advertises that it will last for at least one year. To get the most of your battery life, make sure you follow instructions regarding charging.
Your youngster doesn’t have to remove the watch, even for swimming. It’s wholly swim-friendly and will track all the movements underwater for a thorough analysis of their activity levels.
Keep In Mind
Not Sand Proof
Watch out if they’re using the tracker on the beach or another location with sand. Parents are warning that sand goes into the buttons and ruins the watch.
|Suitable for ages||4 years and up|
|Battery life||1 year|
3. PROGRACE Kids’ Smartwatch with Fitness Tracker
For parents of younger children, we found this smartwatch from ProGrace. It’s an interactive watch, complete with a touchscreen, games, and other apps. ProGrace recommends it for children aged 4 years and up.
With the watch, you can check how many steps your little one is taking. Although there’s no app for parents, it’s easy to manage everything directly from the gadget.
The touchscreen has a good size of 1.54 inches. Included are also FM radio and a flashlight.
Why We Love It
The ProGrace smartwatch lets you monitor your little one’s activity. It includes a motion sensor, tracking steps and calories burnt. Have them wear it during active play and then watch how many steps they took directly from the tracker.
Your little one can listen to music through either speakers or headphones. If you place a memory card in the watch, you can add as much music as the card’s capacity allows. Then they can listen to their favorite tunes while dancing it out.
With the watch, users can track all the moments they want to remember. The two-way camera rotates 90 degrees for both front-facing pictures and selfies. To save the photos, insert a memory card.
Touchscreen and Built-In Games
The watch includes an IPS touchscreen, which allows the wearer to play the included games. These fun surprises include Ninja Run Online, Whac-A-Mole, Brave Money, and Welcome the God of Wealth. It’s great for getting them away from mom or dad’s smartphone.
Keep In Mind
Tricky to Place Memory Card
Some parents had minor concerns about placing the memory card inside. The process requires opening the back where the battery sits, which some considered tricky to do.
No Replacement Straps for Purchase
Unless you can find another brand’s strap, you’re out of luck if this one breaks. The company doesn’t sell replacement straps.
|Suitable for ages||4 to 12 years|
|Battery life||One day before needing to recharge|
4. LeapFrog LeapBand
The LeapFrog LeapBand is ideal for parents of younger children who are looking for motivation to keep them active. The tracker is suitable for ages 4 to 7 and comes in an adorable design.
LeapFrog emphasizes motivation for activity. The watch includes several features designed to keep the wearer wanting to move more. Parents praise the content that comes with it — it’s fun yet practical.
With the tracker, your little one can tumble, jump, skip, and splash in the backyard sprinklers. The watch is water-resistant, though not waterproof, and is an excellent companion for a thriving preschooler.
Why We Love It
The LeapFrog fitness tracker lets you choose up to 50 different challenges for your child to complete. These are child-friendly and include wiggle like a worm, pounce like a lion, or march like an elephant.
With the watch, children can choose a favorite from eight virtual pets. They can pick their name and color. The pets love active play, which your child provides as they move around.
The LeapFrog LeapBand is adorable — it’s eye-catching for small children who’ll adore the cute design. The tracker is available in two colors, green and blue.
Keep In Mind
Short Battery Life
Some reviewers had complaints concerning the battery. They state that it requires charging following a day’s use.
|Suitable for ages||4 to 7 years|
|Battery life||One day before needing charging|
5. Trendy Pro Fitness Tracker for Kids
The fitness tracker from Trendy Pro is suitable for ages 5 years and up — the bundle includes one additional wristband in a fun color.
The tracker will monitor the movements and sleep habits of the wearer. In addition to this, older children can receive notifications from their smartphone through the watch.
By connecting to a smartphone or tablet, you’re unlocking neat features, including remote camera control, anti-loss notifications, and others.
Why We Love It
Sleep plays an essential role in a healthy life, so analyzing your child’s sleep habits can help you immensely. By wearing the watch at night, it will track how many hours of sleep the wearer gets. This gives you room to adjust when necessary, perhaps with bedtimes or diet.
Set Up Fitness Goals
Through the compatible app, you can set realistic fitness goals that your youngster can work toward. If you have the adult version of the watch, you can set mutual goals.
It’s capable of syncing with different apps — these include VeryFit Pro and TrendyFit. Here, you can track progress and see how far they’ve come.
Because this tracker is for older children, it includes a smart notification feature. This enables the watch to sync with a smartphone. Then it can receive notifications of texts, calls, and social media apps.
The watch has a discreet OLED HD screen where the user can see their notifications. When a call comes in, the tracker vibrates gently to notify the wearer. If your child doesn’t have a smartphone yet, simply connect to yours to set time and date.
Keep In Mind
The wrist bands are on the larger side. A few parents said they didn’t fit their children under age six.
|Suitable for ages||5 years and up|
6. Fitbit Ace Activity Tracker for Kids
Fitbit Ace is excellent for older children who are mature enough for a serious activity tracker. Ace is suitable for ages 8 and up.
It works similarly to a Fitbit for adults, but still gives parents full control of everything. Connect it to the app and your family account to unlock a range of good-to-have parent-only features.
With the watch, your child can personalize their experience and receive notifications. It will track their every movement and sleep patterns. Spills and splashes are no biggie, but avoid submerging it in water.
Why We Love It
Accurate Activity Tracker
Ace will track your child’s activity with high accuracy. The watch monitors how many steps they’re taking as well as active minutes. They can wear it during almost any exercise, except swimming.
Although the Ace activity tracker isn’t completely waterproof like the Ace 2, it’s still spill-proof. Children can wear it during showers and lunchtime without worrying about splashes and spills.
Fun Clock Faces
Users can choose between ten fun clock faces to personalize their Fitbit Ace. The watch has an OLED tap screen, which offers crisp images and enjoyable viewing. Keep in mind, however, that particular clock faces will draw more battery.
On the screen, children can view their rewards for completing their daily activity challenges. They’ll also receive notifications if they connect to their smartphone.
The watch is compatible with the Fitbit app, where you can set up a family account. If you also use a Fitbit watch, you can connect all the family. Through the app, you can track progress and sleep, but also adjust challenges and add to them.
Your child will also have access to the family account, but they can only view it in Kid View. You’ll have full control of giving them access and what they can see.
Keep In Mind
Wristbands Are Snug
Although Fitbit Ace is for children aged 8 years and up, parents noted that the wristbands are small. Some say they’re more suitable for ages 6 to 8. The watch does work with Fitbit Alta wristbands which are big enough for adults, if you want to switch them out.
|Suitable for ages||8 years and up|
|Battery life||Five days|
7. Garmin Vívofit Jr. Kids’ Fitness Tracker
If your child wishes for something stylish, then the Vivofit Jr. from Garmin is a good choice. The wristbands they offer for this watch are fun and intriguing.
Besides the awesome bands, the watch has a lot to offer for children and parents. We can easily say it’s more than a fitness tracker — you can add chores and tasks with the app. Then a fun reward system puts you in charge of deciding on the prize.
Why We Love It
Great Wristband Design
The Vivofit Jr. features a stylish wristband, available in three designs, Broken Lava, Digi Camo, and Real Flower. The colors are vibrant, and there are ones for both girls and boys.
It’s a one-piece band design, which makes it easy to slip on and off. As your child grows, you can change it out with an adult size.
This activity tracker for kids is compatible with an app that has a lot of features for parents. Via the app, you can add all your children, monitor their progress, sleep, and daily activity. It also allows you to set up chores and tasks for them to complete and let the watch notify them.
Setting up challenges, inviting family members, and presenting rewards are just a few of the helpful perks the app offers.
For each challenge the user completes, they’ll receive a respective reward that you’ve chosen. By completing chores and step challenges, they win virtual coins that they can exchange for your prizes. This could be something like extra screen time or a trip to the mall.
Keep In Mind
Handle the wristbands with care. Because they’re a one-piece design, they can snap when being stretched beyond their limit.
|Suitable for ages||4 to 9 years|
|Battery life||One year|
|Product||Best||Suitable for ages||Waterproof||Sleep tracker||Battery life||Parental control|
|Fitbit Ace 2 Activity Tracker||Fitbit Tracker||< 6 yrs||Yes||Yes||5 days||Yes|
|Garmin Vívofit Jr. 2||Themed Tracker||< 4 yrs||Yes||Yes||1 year||Yes|
|PROGRACE Kids’ Smartwatch||4-Year-Olds||4 – 12 yrs||No||No||N/A||No|
|LeapFrog LeapBand||Interactive Tracker||4 – 7 yrs||No||No||3-4 days||Yes|
|Trendy Pro Fitness Tracker||Older Kids||< 5 yrs||No||Yes||N/A||Yes|
|Fitbit Ace Activity Tracker||Ages 8 Years and Up||< 8 yrs||No||Yes||5 days||Yes|
|Garmin Vívofit Jr. Tracker||Design||4 – 9 yrs||Yes||Yes||1 year||Yes|
Let’s Keep Moving
Being active is an important part of childhood. While technology has done a lot of good for the world, it’s also caused many children to sit indoors, being very inactive. Activity trackers can help change that.
The best fitness tracker for kids can help motivate them to get up and move, whether they are dancing, running, or playing.
You have a lot of choices, so it’s essential to look at useful features. These can include sleep monitors, waterproof exterior, good battery life, and compatible apps for parents. With such watches, always remember to promote a positive outlook on exercise and weight.