Overview of Fitness Trackers for Kids
Wearables for children tend to be durable, affordable, easy-to-use and almost always incorporate a fitness-driven "game" element. Many are designed to be fun for the whole family and encourage parental engagement. While some are intended for individual home use, others are made for multiple users (several family members, schools, youth groups). At least one is only available via medical providers, and is specifically aimed at tackling childhood obesity.
Updated: Nov 11, 2015
Geopalz Wireless iBitz Kids Activity Tracker & Classic Kids Pedometer
Geopalz offers two products for kids (iBitz Kids Activity Tracker and Geopalz Classic Kids Pedometer) and one product for parents (iBitz Unity for Adults) so that fitness can become an all-inclusive family activity.
The iBitz Kids Activity Tracker is a wireless pedometer (syncs via Bluetooth Low Energy) that interfaces with the game-like iBitz Kids iOS app. The pedometer clips to clothing and does not have a screen, so all game interaction happens on the mobile device (iPhone, iPad, or 5th generation iPod touch). The iBitz Kids app features a space-faring cartoon character who explores the galaxy in a spacecraft fueled by steps. Parents can set steps goals and rewards for their child (screen time, play time, or an adventure with a parent) via the app. By being active, the child not only powers the spacecraft, but also earns coins that can be used within the app and can gain access to content via Disney's Club Penguin. It is available in seven colors, runs on a coin cell battery, and is water resistant.
The iBitz Unity for Adults is of the same construction as the device for kids. It tracks steps, distance and calories burned. It syncs via Bluetooth Low Energy to the iBitz Unity iOS app, which displays data in chart format and can also be used to view and sync other family members' activity data from a single point.
The company's Geopalz Kids Pedometer is a child-friendly pedometer (ages 5+) that can be worn on the hip or shoe. A decorative lid protects an easy-to-read digital screen that displays the total step count for the day. You can register the pedometer with the GeoPalz website to track activity over time and earn rewards.
http://ibitz.com/ (wireless Activity Tracker for kids and adults)
https://geopalz.com (classic Geopalz Kids Pedometer)
iBitz on Amazon.com
Jewelbots are programmable wearables modeled after the age-old friendship bracelet. Designed for teens and pre-teens, Jewelbots are intended to be a fun way for kids to gain familiarity with programming concepts: they can be programmed to light up when they detect a friend's Jewelbot nearby, for example. The Jewelbots Kickstarter launched in July of 2015.
Jewelbots on Kickstarter
LeapFrog is an educational game company. Their LeapBand product is a fitness tracker for kids that turns physical play and healthy eating tips into a game. The LeapBand is a wrist-based device with a color screen, speaker, large navigational buttons, and is available in three colors. It looks a bit like a child's smartwatch.
The game aspect of the device revolves around a customizable pet: choose from among a variety of animals, including panda, monkey, unicorn, cat, dog, robot, penguin, and more. You earn points via physical activity , completing challenges (for example, "Leap like a lion!"), and caring for your pet, and these points help power your pet. Points can also be used to unlock gameplay on other LeapFrog devices. Similarly, other LeapFrog games can earn points that sync back to the LeapBand. The app aims to teach and reinforce healthy eating habits by proving an array of healthy options that you can feed your pet and by sharing "fun facts" about healthy eating.
This product is geared toward children aged 4 to 7. It is a standalone device that does not require a smartphone to use. Features include water resistance, audio instructions, parent controls, and a rechargeable battery.
LeapFrog on Amazon.com
The Sqord Booster is an activity tracker for kids with a social and rewards-based motivational interface offered via the Sqord Online and Sqord App. Physical activity is rewarded with virtual medals, points, and promotion to new "levels" via the Sqord website. Sqord users can cheer each other on with a few different social motivation features, including High Fives (a congratulation), Squawk messages (users select from pre-written messages to send other users), and Thought Bubbles (users select from pre-written messages that are displayed to everyone who can see that player). Players can also challenge friends and family members with Sqord Boosters to competitions.
Sqord is unique in that it was created specifically for use among groups of kids. It was tested in schools and the company features a special rate for groups (camps, youth groups, schools, teams, and the like) who would like to purchase 10 or more Sqord Boosters to use together. Because of the group nature of the Sqord motivational incentive structure, if a Sqord Booster is purchased in isolation and the child does not know any other children who own one, the company encourages parents to participate by buying their own Sqord Booster and creating a Parent Account online.
The device is mounted on a wrist band, but can also be carried in a pocket or attached to a shoe. A 3-axis accelerometer tracks activity duration and intensity. The Sqord Booster is waterproof and runs on a 3V coin cell battery that lasts about 6 months. The Sqord App is iOS and Android compatible, and the Sqord Booster can sync via Bluetooth Low Energy to BLE-enabled compatible devices. Data transfer is also possible to laptops and desktops via the Sqord USB/BLE Sync Dongle (sold separately).
X-Doria's KidFit tacks activity and sleep and offers feedback and encouragement via the KidFit app. Within the app is a custom daily activity goal for your child to strive toward, and a set of increasingly challenging goals that can be completed in order to level up. Goal examples include "Walk one mile in a day" and "Walk 20 miles in one week." A chart view shows progress over a week, month, and year.
The KidFit is iOS and Android compatible, and syncs via Bluetooth Low Energy. It is available in four colors, features splash-proof construction and is rechargeable via a microUSB cable. Designed for ages 5 through 13.
X-Doria on Amazon.com
The Zamzee Meter is a small accelerometer-based wearable that tracks activity intensity and duration over the course of the day. It interfaces with Zamzee's motivational website, where daily activity can earn points that are used to engage in challenges, compete with friends, customize one's digital avatar, and earn real-world rewards. The company offers a special interface for group leaders who are managing multiple Zamzee users, allowing them to view and the trends of the whole group and the individuals in the group.
Research sponsored by HopeLab and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that Zamzee increased children's physical activity by 59%. As of summer 2015, Zamzee is only available through select healthcare partners.
Announced in the Fall of 2015, the Nabi Compete wristband is designed for ages 6+ and is sold in pairs so that your child has another family member or friend to compete with. The band tracks steps, calories burned, and distance. You can set a distance goal and then compete in challenges that span that distance, like the Brooklyn Bridge. You can also choose a food goal and compete to see who can burn off calories of the chosen "junk food" first. You can also join cooperative challenges where everyone works to help reach the same goal. By playing the Nabi fitness games and being active, you can earn "Go Points" that you use to feed and grow virtual pets within the app.
The bands do not have screens, but they sync wirelessly to a colorful, easy to use app that is iOS and Android compatible. Kids can also engage in nabi Konnect, the company's social network for kids.
Nabi website (product only available for purchase at Target and Best Buy)
Although the following products aren't "gamified," made for, or geared toward kids, they fit some criteria that may make them interesting, perhaps for older kids: most are available at a lower price than traditional fitness trackers, many run on a coin cell battery so they don't require recharging, and at least one is a standalone device that doesn't require syncing with a smarphone/iPod/tablet: