ach5

The 7 Best Wearables for Kids in 2021

ach5

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The RundownBest Overall:Garmin Vivofit jr. 2 at Amazon"Garmin is one of the biggest names in fitness tracking and wearables."Best Fitness:Fitbit Ace at Amazon"Fitbit is synonymous with fitness trackers, and the Fitbit Ace is designed for kids."Best For Games:VTech Kidizoom DX2 at Amazon"VTech kids is making a name for itself in the kids wearable space."Best For Young Kids:LeapFrog LeapBand at Amazon"Leapfrog is a company built from the start for childhood development and this is their first wearable."Best Cellular Watch:KKBear 3G GPS Smart Watch at Amazon at Amazon"KKBear designed its watch for kids and for the elderly, and when you think about it, the needs are very similar for the two groups."Best GPS Tracker:Jiobit Location Tracker at Amazon"The Jiobit Location Tracker is a"wearable"in the sense that it's something you carry with you at all times."Best Budget Fitness:Verizon Gizmowatch 2 at Verizon"This watch is specially built for kids and for the Verizon network."

Finding the best wearables for kids can be challenging. Wearables are a great way to stay connected, not only to your phone, but also to your health and well being. Fitness trackers and smartwatches are everywhere these days and it's only natural that your kids would want to get in on the act. But more than that, wearables for kids can help them keep track of various goals like health and fitness, or even just keeping up with chores and homework.

These wearables are great for your little ones and have fun themes that can keep kids interested. Plus, they can help kids stay in contact, but only with parents or designated contacts, making sure your kids remain connected and safe. Whether you want to stay in contact, or your kids need little reminders here or there, we've got a wearable in here for them.

Best Overall:Garmin Vivofit jr. 2

Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyWhat We Like

One-year battery life

Gamification to keep kids interest

What We Don't Like

Tiny screen

Limited to Disney brands

Garmin is one of the biggest names in fitness tracking and wearables. Disney is one of the biggest names in kids entertainment. Put them together and you have a wearable company literally designed for kids. These wearables are perfect for kids wrists. Of course, the trade off is that the screen is tiny, sporting only an 88 x 88 pixel resolution. It goes without saying that if your child isn't down with one of Disney's properties like Mickey, Minnie, Marvel, or Star Wars, you'll be out of luck. 

Assuming one of those properties works for you, this wearable is great for kids because it's waterproof, and it lasts for an entire year with no charging. The app that goes with it is available on iOS and Android, and it features some rewards that kids can earn by doing chores or completing up to one hour of activity.

Best Fitness:Fitbit Ace

Buy on AmazonBuy on WalmartWhat We Like

Slim design is great for kids

Rewards for achievements

Kids can send each other challenges and messages

What We Don't Like

Black and White display

5-day battery life isn't the best

Limited colors

Fitbit is synonymous with fitness trackers, and the Fitbit Ace is designed for kids.  The wristband and screen are very slim which is great for small hands and wrists. The wearable tracks steps, active minutes, and sleep, so you get them off the couch when they need it and back on the couch when they need it. The Fitbit app has 10 watch faces the kids can pick from, and the watch keeps kids moving and even allows kids to challenge each other and send messages to each other.

The watch is limited to a black and white display, and it only comes in two colors, both of which are on the masculine side. Also, the 5-day battery life isn't the best. But if you're looking for a slim watch that you can use to track your kids activity, Fitbit is one of the best out there.

The 9 Best Fitness Trackers of 2021

Best For Games:VTech Kidizoom DX2

Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyBuy on WalmartWhat We Like

Comes in 5 colors

Built in camera

Built in AR monster detector

What We Don't Like

Low voltage charging

No specifications

VTech kids is making a name for itself in the kids wearable space. The KidiZoom from VTech is a great choice for kids. It comes in five different colors, has a color screen and two built in cameras. Kids can choose from up to 55 watch faces to find one that they love, plus the watch is full of games and fun activities. Kids can play"Monster detector"which gives them an AR view of monsters they can catch around them. Plus they can add funny effects to their photos with the Silly Me app.  That's just two of the many games they can play.

That's a lot of fun, but it comes at a cost. The company lists the battery life at three days, but testing suggests that it's closer to a single day under heavy use. When it comes to charging, the company specifies that it should only be charged using a USB port on a laptop as opposed to the third party adapter. Typically, that means the battery needs to charge slowly, which may not be great for an impatient child. VTech is also light on publishing specifications for various components like the cameras or the screen. That's usually not a good sign.

Best For Young Kids:LeapFrog LeapBand

Buy on AmazonWhat We Like

Up to 50 challenges to get kids moving

Physical buttons for navigation

What We Don't Like

Very large for a child's wrist

It's only for kids up to 7 years old

Leapfrog is a company built from the start for childhood development and this is their first wearable designed specifically for kids. However, the Leapfrog the company and Leapband the wearable are both designed for very young children. The wearable itself is large and cartoony which older kids will definitely not enjoy. Leapfrog says the wearable is designed for ages 4-7 and that seems to be about right.

The Leapband is also very large, which makes it easy to see and navigate but makes it ungainly on a child's wrist, especially a child aged 4-7 years. The physical buttons are also nice for a small child to navigate. There are over 50 games that your child can play to keep them active and moving.

Best Cellular Watch:KKBear 3G GPS Smart Watch Phone

Buy on AmazonWhat We Like

Cellular connectivity

GPS tracking

What We Don't Like

Does not work on Verizon

Need a cellular plan

KKBear designed its watch for kids and for the elderly, and when you think about it, the needs are very similar for the two groups. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, both groups need easy functionality, and possibly some location tracking as well. The KK Bear 3G GPS Smart Watch uses cellular connectivity to report back a user's location and allows them to contact you if necessary. But, that means that you need to have a cellular plan for the watch, and it cannot be on Verizon's network because the watch does not support Verizon.  The good news is, that plan can be a voice only plan which tends to be less expensive than data plans.

The watch will keep a log of movements over the span of three months so you can see where the wear is and has been. Calling is limited to who is in the phonebook, so you can dictate who your child is able to call. That's always a wise precaution. Finally, this watch looks very nice; it doesn't look like a"kid's watch."It just looks like a watch, which is a nice change from the others in this list.

The 6 Best GPS Watches of 2021

Best GPS Tracker:Jiobit Location Tracker

Buy on AmazonWhat We Like

Very simple GPS tag

What We Don't Like

No watch face or games

Requires a subscription

High price for what you actually get

The Jiobit Location Tracker is a"wearable"in the sense that it's something you carry with you at all times. Unlike the rest of the items in this list, this is a tracking tag that you can attach to your child's clothes or bag to keep track of them.  Think of it like a LoJack for your child. There is a certain relief to that. You don't have to worry about who your child is talking to, or maintaining a connection with a phone. This tag just goes everywhere and tracks them.

But it's very expensive for what it does. Other wearables in this list have similar functionality, and also have a watch face on them and activities. Plus, the connection requires a subscription service to Jiobit to actually track the tag. It's nice because that subscription includes all the necessary connectivity you need to be an excellent tracker; cellular, GPS, and other connectivity is included in that monthly price. This tracker will give you the peace of mind knowing where your child is without having to worry about setting up different permissions or controls.

Smart Clothes Are Here and They're Big Business

Best Budget Fitness:Verizon Gizmowatch 2

Buy on VerizonWhat We Like

Auto answer and Quick Dial

Geofencing

What We Don't Like

Requires cellular service

The Gizmowatch is an appropriately named device since it is by all definitions a"Gizmo."This watch is specially built for kids and for the Verizon network.  It comes with a Geofencing option that immediately notifies you if your child strays out of bounds. Plus, there's a neat feature built-in called Auto-answer which means when a parent calls the child, the watch automatically answers the call.  This is great for locating a lost child or even listening in to the environment around the child in case of emergency.

Of course, this means that the watch requires cellular service, which is a monthly cost and could get expensive. But for the feature set, you're getting it's a pretty good deal. Along with that functionality, you get all the same goodies, like step tracking and exercise tracking. It can also help you keep up on daily activities and chores. . KKBear specifically advises customers that when they're getting a service plan, they need to tell the carrier representative what kind of plan they need. That gives us pause, but this wearable looks the nicest and has the most functionality among the list.

The 9 Best Fitness Trackers of 2021Final Verdict

The best overall wearable for kids is the Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2.  This device has been built by two powerhouses in their respective fields. Garmin is the king of wearables and fitness; Disney is the king of childhood entertainment. You get all this at a pretty great value considering everything it offers.

If you want a little more control and communication, we recommend the KKBear 3G GPS smartwatch. The caveat here is there are some unknowns. KKBear isn't a well known name in the field and the connectivity can be confusing. But if you're willing to put up with a little uncertainty, give this one a look.

About Our Trusted Experts:

Adam S. Doud has been writing in the technology space since 2013. He's always changing out his wearable looking for the right fit for him and his lifestyle. He has two children, ages 10 and 14, both with wearables.

FAQ

Do smartwatches for kids sync to my phone, or does my child need a phone?

That depends. The smartwatches in this list can sync to either, but typically wearables designed for children sync to the parent's phone. If your child has their own phone, you could set up the watch to sync to that, but the main point of most of these wearables is to be able to track your children and control the content they have access to.

What are the benefits of a child having a wearable?

Many children live perfectly happy lives without having a wearable, but the devices open up a new world of data and parental peace of mind. Wearables can help your children stay active and stay fit. Obesity is a growing problem, so developing good habits at a young age can help combat that. Also, the devices can help track your children and keep them safe.

What about privacy?

Privacy is a big deal, for sure. Many companies who develop wearables are very conscious about the privacy of the data they collect. It's very important to read any terms of service and contracts necessary to activate the devices before you buy them.

What to look for in a Smartwatch for Kids

Games - Kids love to play, and when an activity tracker can gamify that activity, it can motivate kids to get moving. A child will be more likely to use a wearable if it's fun. Otherwise the tracker could end up on a shelf not helping anyone.

Battery life - Battery life is important in a wearable because the more you have to take it off, the more opportunities you have to not put it back on. Wearable battery life ranges from hours to years depending on the device, and in this case longer is better.

Size - Children are small and have small wrists.  A wearable that is too large will be uncomfortable to wear for small children. Again, if the watch is too large, it will spend most of its time not in use, which isn't good for anyone.