The 6 Best Kids Activity Trackers

Updated December 28, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

6 Best Kids Activity Trackers
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Some kids may not like to exercise, but they all love fun. That's why most of these kid-friendly activity trackers come with motivating games and apps that they progress through as they go about their daily activities. The more active they are, the quicker they progress through the games, making it fun and challenging while they attain greater fitness. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best kids activity tracker on Amazon.

6. Fitbit Zip

The Fitbit Zip is a nifty zero-maintenance device that kids can wear on their jacket, backpack, shoe or pocket. It tracks their activity all day long and displays their stats or time of day with a simple tap, and is available in four fun colors.
  • automatically syncs to a computer
  • battery lasts a long time
  • does not track flights of stairs
Brand Fitbit
Model FB301M
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Garmin Vivofit JR

The Garmin Vivofit JR is a durable, kid-friendly option that is made for both land and sea. Parents will love the ability to monitor their kids' steps and sleep, plus they can manage and assign chores using the task reminder for kids who are a bit forgetful.
  • one-piece stretch-to-fit band
  • has fun activity challenges
  • xl band size available for big kids
Brand Garmin
Model 010-01634-01
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Nabi Compete

As a set of 2, the Nabi Compete offers a lot of bang for your buck and gets kids in a healthy competitive mode to achieve their goals. They can take on their sibling or friend to complete real-life challenges and earn points to feed and grow their virtual pets in the app.
  • shares their mood during challenges
  • teaches about distance and calories
  • accesses a kid-safe network
Brand Nabi
Model FGC58
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. LeapFrog LeapBand

With 50 downloadable challenges, customizable pet pals and built-in rewards, the LeapFrog LeapBand gets your kids moving without even realizing it. The parental controls are intuitive, and this standalone device doesn't require a smartphone for use.
  • great for ages from 4-7 years old
  • adjustable band for the perfect fit
  • advanced high resolution screen
Brand LeapFrog Enterprises
Model 19268
Weight 7 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Jawbone Up Move

The Jawbone Up Move offers an affordable way to jump start your kid's fitness by tracking steps, exercise, calorie intake, hours slept and quality of sleep. They can also mix and match the color of the strap and clip to display their unique sense of style.
  • can connect and compare with friends
  • compatible with ios and android
  • clips on easily to almost anything
Brand Jawbone Up Move
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Sqord Tracker

The Sqord Tracker is built just for kids to motivate a healthy lifestyle through an interactive app that tracks play, not just steps. They can earn points to unlock rewards for everyday activities, plus it runs off a standard watch battery that lasts up to nine months.
  • durable waterproof construction
  • kidsafe-certified app
  • tracks pool activity
Brand Sqord
Weight 4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

How Activity Trackers Work

Activity trackers may seem like magic, but the true concept behind how they work is actually much easier to explain. Activity trackers use a combination of sensors and mathematical equations to determine the activity being performed and the amount of calories being burned. Activity trackers make use of an accelerometer, which is just a fancy word for a sensor that measures proper acceleration.

What separates modern day activity trackers from pedometers is the use of a three-axis accelerometer versus a single axis configuration. Basic pedometers, which generally use a single axis accelerometer, can only measure forward-backward motion. A three-axis accelerometer can measure forward-backward, left-right, and up-down motion, referred to as the X, Y, and Z axis on the Cartesian coordinate system.

To determine what type of activity you are performing, an activity tracker detects the pattern of your movement. For example, running will have a very different pattern of movement than cycling. When running, there will be significant pulsing in the Z-axis (up-down motion) combined with steady movement in the X-axis (forward-backward motion). Cycling will have a high degree of motion in the X-axis, with minimal pulsing in the Z-axis. Software in the activity tracker analyzes your measurements on these three different axes to determine the type of activity being performed. It can also differentiate between high intensity activities (running) and low intensity activities (walking).

While all activity trackers collect data in the same method, they do not all analyze it in the same manner. Each software developer will create their own method of crunching the numbers. That is why not all activity trackers produce the same results when displaying the amount of calories burned. This is also why certain models may be better at detecting the intensity of gym workouts or monitoring the sudden stops and pivots in racquet sports than others.

What To Look For In A Kids Activity Tracker

Choosing the right kids activity tracker is slightly different than choosing a model for yourself. While it is still important to opt for a device that is accurate, the types of bells and whistles that a kid needs are different than what an adult needs. Kids are less diligent about caring for their items than most adults, so choosing a durable model is a smart move. Not only should it be impact resistant, but also waterproof. This way it won't be ruined if your child forgets to take it off before jumping in the pool or splashing around in a puddle.

Kids generally won't remember to charge their device as often as an adult might. This means models that require charging every single night will be a bad choice. Instead, opt for one that can go multiple days between charges, or one that uses a standard watch battery. Models that use standard watch batteries usually last somewhere between six and ten months before the battery needs to be replaced. This style allows your child to forgo the responsibility of charging altogether.

Unlike adults, who might be focused on getting healthier or trying to lose weight, kids aren't motivated by such concepts. Instead, some kids' activity trackers will include games or unlockable prizes to motivate kids to be more active. With these models, the more active a child is, the quicker they will progress through the levels or earn digital content. Some devices may also give kids the ability to compete with their friends in fun activity challenges. Games and unlockable content make it more fun for your child to engage in physical activity.

Choosing an activity tracker that is customizable will allow your child to express their personality and sense of style, which is something every kid appreciates. Many models have interchangeable bands, so a child can match the color of their tracker with how they are feeling that day or their favorite t-shirt. Some also give kids the freedom to change the background graphics, font color, and more. A model that allows you to enter your child's name into the display may give them a greater sense of ownership.

Finally, you may want to consider an activity tracker that has a built-in GPS tracker. These can be connected to your smartphone and allow you to instantly check the location of your child at all times. Knowing where your child is after school, when you are at work, or while they are playing outside in the neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon greatly enhances their safety and your peace of mind.

Importance Of Physical Activity For Kids

With the prevalence of video games and social media these days, kids often spend an inordinate amount of time starting at screens. While it is true that not all screen time is recreational — learning often takes place on computers and tablets now — too much of it is still unhealthy. Too much screen time has been linked to obesity, poor posture, a tendency towards violence, behavioral issues, sleep irregularities, neck and back pain, loss of social skills, and vision problems. Even just a few days without screen time can improve a kid's social development.

Motivating your child to play outside more or get involved in sports is a great way to naturally cut down on the amount of time they spend in front of a screen. After all, if a child comes home from school and goes outside to play with their friends or in the backyard for an hour, that is one less hour that could potentially have been spent staring at a screen.

Getting into the habit of participating in physical activity as a child is important for laying the foundation of a healthy life. It is a well-known fact that people who are more active as children experience less risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes as they age. They also develop stronger bones, joints, and circulatory function. People who participate in regular physical activity as children are also more likely to develop a healthy lifestyle habits as adults, including eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly.

Physical activity is also known to calm kids, making them more attentive in the classroom and promoting better, more restful sleep. It helps develop hand-eye coordination, improves aerobic fitness, and can reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.

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Last updated on December 28, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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