Smartwatches are not just for adults anymore. The further the smartwatch model gets developed, the more companies saw a demand from the kids’ market. Wristwatches for kids that can provide smartwatch functionalities are trending. And so, a great many companies have designed kids smartwatches. Though none are comparable to the features of an Apple Watch, they provide value in different ways.
But what is the best smartwatch for kids? We’ve had an intricate look at the range of smart watches available to kids, and picked those that we think are the best of the best.
When constructing this buying guide, our research focused on some of the best areas of interest for kids, as can be seen from the breakdown of our top picks. Smartwatches for kids is a surprisingly big market, so you can be assured that these are the best of the best on the market.
You want to know that your child is safe when using their smartwatch features, so we have paid particular attention to those watches that allow for supervision and security. For instance, you will not find any watches with wi-fi social media capabilities, and none of these watches require sim cards.
All watches chosen have limited connectivity that can be monitored. The three main watches chosen are not GPS watches, meaning that they are not location trackers.
Lastly, we wanted to make sure that the smartwatch for kids were fun gadgets and provided a child with the best and most entertaining features.
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: OLED Tap | Onboard storage: 7 days of activity data | Battery: up to 5 days | Charging method: Magnetic charging cable | IP rating: Water resistant to 50m | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Fitbit is undoubtedly one of the best companies in the smart watch arena, challenging Apple and Garmin. In the Fitbit Ace, we see the functionality and simplicity of the classic design streamlined into a junior smart band and activity tracker. The vibrant design of the smartband is eye-catching and fun, made from flexible, durable elastomer material similar to top sports watches.
The Fitbit Ace 2 allows your child to track their steps and monitors just how much they are moving around. Fitness trackers may not sound like the most fun for young children, but Fitbit does a great job keeping it entertaining. The Fitbit Ace sets a daily goal of 1 hour of activity a day and will remind your child if they have not met that threshold.
The secure parent view allows guardians to set up and approve the child’s account activity.
Why we love it:Fitbit provides the excitement of an activity tracker in a safe and stylish package.
Recommended Age: 13+
Stylish design with a choice of colors
Parental controls provide security
Daily activity reminders
Activity tracker for kids
Touchscreen small and uninspired
Battery life not the longest for fitness trackers
Expensive for a band-based activity tracker
Best for Fun
VTech Kidizoom DX2
Compatibility: None | Display: LED | Onboard storage: 256MB | Battery: up to 3 days | Charging method: Micro USB charging cord | IP rating: up to 1M | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch comes from educational technology creators VTech. Borrowing the rounded style of an Apple Watch, the Kidizoom comes with a choice of colored straps.
The best aspect of the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 is the ability to capture pictures. The user can point a wearable camera mounted on the body of the watch to snap a picture or film a video. They can integrate a comedic background, and even get a choice of camera effects for their selfies as well.
The watch is brimming with games featuring one entitled Monster Detector, in which augmented reality is used to help kids capture monsters in the real world!
Why we love it: A great little watch with an imaginative interface and one of the best cameras on a kids smartwatch included.
Recommended Age: 4-9
Camera and recorder are the best around for kids smartwatches
Share your images on the computer using a USB
Play games with educational benefit
55 customizable clock face options
No smart notifications
Only pink and blue models available in some stores
Not the best at being water-resistant
Best for Organisation
Joy Octopus V2
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: 1” LCD | For ages: 3+ | Onboard storage: up to 1600 icons | Battery: up to 15 days | Charging method: Wireless | IP rating: Splashproof | Connectivity: Bluetooth
The Joy Octopus V2 is a fun little smartwatch for kids funded by a Kickstarter. Its main drawing point is that it teaches organizational skills and methods using a smart methodology. A selection of icons that even a young child can understand is used to coax the wearer into keeping a schedule of their activities.
The charger is a fun Octopus that is also a nightlight, implementing a light-hearted and friendly appeal to the watch.Though the Octopus V2 can’t boast smart notifications or a camera, it is the best watch for young children. It also allows them to get a feel for a smartwatch that isn’t a chunky, adult one like an Apple Watch.
Why we love it: Fantastic organizational helper for kids with a friendly and fun aesthetic.
Recommended Age: 3+
A fun icon used for wireless charging
Best watch for very young children
Now comes with a pedometer and smart fitness tracking
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: .5″ Sunlight Visible MIP | Onboard storage: 4 weeks of activity | Battery: up to 1 year | Charging method: Replacement battery | IP rating: Water-resistant up to 50m | Connectivity: Bluetooth
Just losing out on the best for kids fitness watch, we have the Garmin vivofit jr 2. This smartband includes a sleep tracker, step counter, inactivity reminder (much like that on the Fitbit Ace), as well as sleep monitoring and reminders to do chores and brush teeth.
The vivofit jr 2 comes in a selection of different casings that your kids will love, from Star Wars to Disney’s Frozen. The choice of theme is wide enough for your kids to find their best style and favorite characters.
Why we love it: the application Star Wars and other popular titles give this smartwatch a great look and feel.
Recommended Age: 4-7
Themed challenges help kids to improve and share fitness results
The stretchy band helps accommodate a range of wrist sizes
Parents can manage activity goals via the free app
Bands are hand-crafted
The battery does not perform as promised
No SOS button features
The band can become frail after use
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: 1.33” IPS | Onboard storage: 160MB | Battery: up to 3 days | Charging method: Charging Cable | IP rating: Water-resistant up to 1m | Connectivity: Bluetooth, 2G
The Xplora 3S boasts voice calling capabilities as well as a camera where kids can store up 1000 photos. The company has integrated a combination of WiFi, GPS and GSM in order to provide an accurate location tracking software that can be used by parents.
Your child will be able to receive texts, emojis and voice messages as well as participate in voice calls via the watch. A step counter, alarm and stop watch are also included to give your child a sense of activity and organizational tracking.
Editor’s Note – at the time of writing, Xplora 3S is only available on Amazon UK and Xplora UK website.
Why we love it: a smartwatch that delivers on a great deal of the needs of parents and kids.
Recommended Age: 9-15
A blend of features that both parents and children look for
Accurate location tracking
Adequate resolution touchscreen
On the much more expensive side
Some have issues with charging
Simcard not included
Compatibility: iOS and Android | Display: 1.54” TFT | Onboard storage: 160MB | Battery: up to 1.5 days | Charging method: Charging Cable | IP rating: Water-resistant up to 1m | Connectivity: Bluetooth, 2G, 3G, 4G
TickTalk 3 presents a child with a wealth of features including two-way voice calling and a camera as well. The screen is a surprisingly high resolution, which is useful as this device also allows for video calling via the smartwatch.
It also allows for the use of the 4G network providing a very quick and accurate depiction of location. Not only does it allow your kid to receive calls and messages, but they can also answer back to your messages using preset text.
Why we love it: a smartwatch that allows for video calling, as well as providing location tracking and SOS mode to parents relief.
As one can see from the watches just reviewed, though they are not an Apple Watch, a kids smartwatch can achieve a great many things. Fitbit and Garmin have both provided the best in smart bands that double up as fitness trackers. They are designed to regulate and improve children’s fitness.
Kid’s smartwatches can be used as a source of fun, as well. Many kids smartwatches integrate games and challenges within their interface. VTech’s imaginative addition of a watch-mounted camera is a great asset. So is Garmin’s implementation of Star Wars, Frozen, and other fun themes.
Smartwatches for kids can also be used as a safety precaution. SOS features can be integrated to give your child an opportunity to call for help if they need it.
What to look for in a Kids Smartwatch?
Design & Comfort
The most prominent issue when it comes to the design of kids smart watches is the materials used. For instance, if a smartwatch uses latex anywhere in its build, it may be liable to cause allergic reactions.
This need for durability is why so many makers of smartwatches for kids tend to get them built with stretchy, non-latex material to allow for flexibility. This is the best in comfort for the kids using the watch.
You also need to ensure that the watch is not too bulky. An adult-sized Apple Watch would be overbearing for your child’s wrist. That’s why smartwatch designs are best sized down for the junior market.
Ease of Use
Though many of them are intellectual, for a kid smart watch technology can be very complicated. Therefore the interface they use on their smartwatch must be designed for ease of use and accessibility. Fitbit’s two-tiered methodology in the ‘kids view’ and ‘parents view’ mode is the best way of simplifying the interface for younger minds.
The Octopus v2 has ease of use at its very core, using icons to indicate specific reminders. An icon-based system is a fantastic way of helping children to use their smartwatch easily and improve their skills.
Communication features are a tricky situation. One of the most vital aspects for some parents is a means of communication with their child. However, this often needs a sim card to allow for calls and messages, which can cost more and is a security risk.
This brand of smartwatches for kids by CMKJ allows for voice calling and location tracking, as well, although a review of its price indicates that this might not be a trustworthy claim.
The Garmin vivofit jr 2 has rewarding communication down to an art with its built-in coin system, though. Adults can assign challenges with coins as a reward, which helps the kid to progress on their themed journey in the best way.
It’s challenging to find smartwatches for kids that will examine heart rate, as a heart rate monitor requires complex and expensive gadgetry. Watchmakers often avoid it as heart rate is quite a complicated gauge to understand from a kid’s point of view.
What is offered in a lot of smartwatches for kids is the chance to count steps using an integrated pedometer. This can give a child of any age a taste for recording and analyzing their activity. And that analysis may be the precursor of a lifetime of health and wellbeing.
Games and Apps
Games are certainly at the very forefront of a kids smartwatch design. VTech’s inclusion of fun and educational games, as well as the camera, is ingenious. This gives the kids a chance to remain active, but also to learn while they play.
As mentioned, the themed challenges and games that connect to the Garmin app are exceptional. They are a fantastic way of keeping your kids on task and active.
How old should your child be to start using a smartwatch?
The answer to this is dependent on the style of the smartwatch. The Octopus V2 caters to any child above the age of 3. The best tip is to look carefully at the watch functionality. The Fitbit Ace is a fantastic smartwatch, but its’ uses only apply to kids of a certain age and understanding.
Anywhere below the age of 3 would be much too young to use any smartwatch. That sort of age is for developing human interaction and anatomical function.
Do I need a sim card for my child’s smartwatch?
You shouldn’t need a sim card for your child’s smartwatch. However, some smartwatches do require one. If you are purchasing a smartwatch so that your kid can call and you can call them, you will need a sim card.
None of the featured smartwatches need a sim card, they are more focused on learning skills and playing games. If you are looking to stay in contact with your child, you will probably need a sim card to conduct phone calls.
Can I track my kid’s phone without them knowing?
For parental peace of mind, a range of smartphones allows you to track your child’s location via apps. iPhone’s have the ‘Find my iPhone’ feature connected to the cloud. Android phones enable you to pinpoint their location using the Google account you would’ve made when you purchased.
Some kid’s smartwatches do allow you to track your child’s movements. For instance, the LG Gizmopal 2 has a location tracker built-in. It does not have the best reviews but allows you to track the location of the watch without the child knowing. There aren’t many on the market as this requires a GPS watch, a feature that designers don’t see a demand for in smart watches for children.
How can I track my child’s location?
As mentioned, the Verizon smartwatch for kids mentioned in the last section features location tracking features. This watch from TickTalk allows for the same sort of location tracking via an app. This watch uses 4G signals and GPS tracking to provide an incredibly accurate display of where the watch currently resides.
None of the three featured watches feature GPS tracker capabilities as they are meant for more activity-based means. Smartwatches that allow for 2-way calling can be viewed as a kind tracker as this feature allows communication with your child.
In conclusion, kids smartwatches are available for a range of different things. Some necessitate fitness tracking and progress; others allow for a helpful, assistive regime to take place. And some allow your children to get creative and have a little bit of fun.
But some companies will try and cut corners in their materials just because they believe the quality doesn’t matter as much. If you want to purchase a high-quality smartwatch for your kid, the four featured (including the vivofit) are the way to go.
Liam writes articles for a myriad of sites and publications. With a deep-set love for electronics and music, often finds himself drawn to writing about the latest bands and gadgets. He has a degree in Drama and English, enjoys acting, producing music and writing in a number of formats. He also works as a copywriter, providing content for clients around the world.