The best fitness trackers for kids differ wildly from the best fitness trackers for grown-ups, but that’s not to say they suffer from their comparative lack of high-tech spec, far from it. A super simple activity tracker that rewards you with games when you get stuff done? Now that’s a concept we can get behind – if only they made them in bigger sizes.
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- Best fitness trackers under £100: just because it’s for grown-ups, doesn’t mean it has to cost a packet
- And you might as well grab a pet tracker for fido too…
Our best kids’ fitness tracker all round is the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2. In its awesome Captain America livery, it’s sure to appeal to kids who love Marvel (so, all of them), and caregivers too thanks to its external parental controls. As well as exercise, it encourages other productive behaviours like homework and tidying, and when they complete their recommended 60 minutes, they’re rewarded with an Avengers adventure.
Not got a Marvel fan on your hands? There’s plenty more activity-tracking awesomeness where that came from with clip-on fitness trackers and kid-friendly bands from Fitbit, all-rounder pedometer smartwatches from Vtech, and virtual pets from LeapFrog, there’s a lot out there to get them moving.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr. is pretty special in that it rewards lots of different good behaviours as well as physical exercise. The parent-controlled buddy app works with the band to keep kids on track for activities like homework and household chores with task timers and reminder alerts, and lets you set rewards for successes.
The exercise bit comes in with a tracker for steps and their 60 recommended minutes of daily activity. If they complete their hour, they’re rewarded with an Avengers-themed adventure on the app. Oh, and it looks amazing.
Most of the cheaper adult Fitbits are suitable for kids but this one is designed specifically for the junior fitness enthusiast. Essentially a Fitbit Alta with a simplified app that allows parental supervision, the Ace is a great motivater, and the obvious upgrade for those who have outgrown their Vivofit Jr 2.
This slim band tracks daily steps and makes it more fun by providing rewards and badges for hitting goals. It’s water resistant so can be used in rain, snow and swimming pools, while battery life lasts for the whole school week (ie: 5 days). By setting up a family account you can view your children’s progress easily, and have 'step offs'. They can customise their watch face with 10 funky, if rather similar, designs.
While not strictly a kids’ fitness tracker, the Fitbit Flex is the friendliest in the adult range both practicality and pocket-wise, making it our best tracker for older kids who don’t need all the cutesy encouragement of a made-for-children activity band.
What gives it the edge on our top pick is its waterproofing, also making it our best option for swimmers, although the automatic activity tracker, which detects movements in running, team sports and aerobics, is a handy function for all busy kids.
Another kid-friendly fitness tracker from Fitbit, the Zip is a darn sight more expensive than the Flex, but its rugged rubbery exterior means you won’t have to worry too much about the replacement cost.
The use of a coin battery is also very practical, and means it should last somewhere between four and six months without a charge. For active kids who find that a wristband would get in the way of everyday mischief, or those who would feel a bit sheepish wearing a tracker on their wrist, the clip-on design allows for more low-key wear.
While not a dedicated fitness tracker, the KidiZoom Smart Watch is a great all-round option that just so happens to have fitness tracker functionality. This smart kid-friendly gadget packs in a pedometer to make sure they’re getting in their recommended number of steps, as well as motion games to get them moving, but doesn’t put its sole focus on fitness.
Kids can also play eight exciting games, take photos and videos with effects, and take care of their life admin on the trot (calculator and calendar included, although more useful apps are available for download) with this multi-capable band.
There are a lot of lengths kids will go to for pets, even virtual pets (if you were ever inseparable from your Tamagotchi, you’ll know). That’s the principle the LeapFrog LeapBand operates on, encouraging kids to expend energy in order to power their pet, which can be whatever they choose from a list including penguins, monkeys, dragons, and even robots.
The watch comes pre-loaded with fun activities like “march like an elephant” and “wiggle like a bug”, and if they get bored you can always add more using LeapFrog Connect.