Three best kids' smartwatches

By
tech-spanfeller
BestReviews

Some smartwatches allow you to award points to your kids for completing chores or daily tasks, which can foster good behavior.

When you were young, you may have been content playing with dolls or action figures and bouncy balls, but with today's technological advances, it's natural that children want more high-tech toys and gadgets. Parents must learn how to balance giving kids the technology they want with keeping them safe. Kids' smartwatches are an excellent gateway into wearable and portable tech, allowing children to have access to technology while keeping parents in control.

The hard part is selecting the best kids' smartwatch. With such a wide range of models on the market -- all offering different features -- it's tricky to figure out what you want your child's smartwatch to do. The following guide can help you get a handle on the various features and uses so you can pick out the right smartwatch for your little one.

Considerations when choosing kids' smartwatches

Durability

It's natural for kids to run, jump, climb, and occasionally fall down. That's why any kids' smartwatch you choose must be durable enough to deal with the rigors of living on a child's wrist. Older children tend to be a little more cautious with their possessions, but a smartwatch belonging to a three- or four-year-old is likely to be knocked around frequently.

Design

There's no point buying a smartwatch that your child would be embarrassed to wear or that simply isn't to his or her taste. Kids' smartwatches are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and designs, so you're bound to find one your child likes.

Age group

Check the manufacturer's recommended age range for any smartwatch you're considering. You can find smartwatches suitable for kids from as young as three all the way up to the early teens, at which point young people generally prefer adult smartwatches. Some watches are too complicated for young children to use, and some are too simple for older kids to enjoy.

Kids' smartwatch features

Games

Many kids' smartwatches feature a range of games. These are often educational, but not always. Some even offer multiplayer games so kids can play with their friends.

Fitness tracking

People who learn healthy habits at an early age are more likely to carry them through into adulthood, and there's no denying that exercise is beneficial for kids. Some kids' smartwatches have a fitness tracking component, so your child can keep track of steps and any other physical activity. Any kids' smartwatch with fitness tracking is usually linked to a parent's or caregiver's smartphone, so an adult can monitor activity levels.

GPS tracking

While this is somewhat controversial, many smartwatches for kids are fitted with a GPS tracker so you can check on your child's location at any time. Although it's important to trust children when you allow them to go out alone or with friends, GPS tracking can be a godsend for keeping an eye on younger children in case they wander off or in an emergency situation.

Camera

You can find kids' smartwatches that include a camera for taking selfies with friends or recording short videos. Some have fun filters or allow kids to add text or stickers to photos.

Kids' smartwatch prices: The majority of kids' smartwatches fall in the $30 to $50 bracket. While you can find cheaper options, they tend to be of poor quality, so it's worth spending an extra $10 to purchase a better model. Most kids' smartwatches cost $70 to $90, with a few high-end models costing a little more.

FAQ

Q. Can I monitor how my child uses the smartwatch?

A. Some, but not all, kids' smartwatches link to an app that allows parents to keep an eye on how their children use the device.

Q. How long will the battery last on my kid's smartwatch?

A. The majority of kids' smartwatches have a battery that runs about three to five days. However, we've found models that claim to last for up to a year on a single charge.

Q. Can my child make or receive calls on a smartwatch?

A. A few smartwatches allow kids to make and receive calls or simply receive calls. That said, these smartwatches can only make calls to or receive calls from two to four pre-registered numbers for increased safety.

Kids' smartwatches we recommend

Best of the best: VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX 

Our take: Designed for ages four to nine, this smartwatch has much to offer for younger kids. Highly durable.

What we like: Camera can take photos and videos, plus has fun photo effects. Offers 11 touchscreen games and activities.

What we dislike: Camera has poor resolution.

Best bang for your buck: Garmin vívofit jr. 

Our take: More than just a fitness tracker, this links to an app that lets parents assign chores and rewards. Includes some kids' activities.

What we like: Exceptional battery life of up to a year. Waterproof, so kids can wear it while swimming.

What we dislike: Doesn't offer much in the way of fun games or activities.

Choice 3: LeapFrog LeapBand Activity Tracker 

Our take: Activity tracker for ages four to seven. Also features a virtual pet, which helps keep little ones engaged.

What we like: 50 fun activity challenges to encourage movement. Completing challenges unlocks new pets and pet accessories.

What we dislike: Too basic for older kids.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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