Are you looking for a way to get your kid off the couch and away from the screen and enjoying some much needed physical activity? Pedometers are a great way to motivate kids and parents alike. A pedometer or fitness tracker can help kids get in the recommended amount of daily physical activity and have fun doing it!
There are a TON of fitness trackers on the market, most targeted towards adults, but many top fitness tracker companies have seen that kids want a way to be just like mom and dad and track their steps.
Whether you are looking for something that does steps only or something that takes physical activity to the next level, we’ve made a list of the best pedometers for kids on the market today.
But before we get into the list, here’s what you need to know before you send your kid walking…
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- How much physical activity should kids get in a day?
- The benefits of a pedometer
- Features to look for
- How to get in those extra steps
- Top 8 Pedometers for Kids
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Bottom Line
How much physical activity should kids get in a day?
Getting kids up and moving is super important. In the age of tablets, TVs, cell phones and more, it’s hard to convince them to move their body. But exactly how much movement does your child need a day?
According to the Department and Health and Human Services, children ages 6 and up need at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. And they aren’t just talking about cardio.
Cardio or endurance exercises that count as moderate to vigorous exercise include running, basketball, soccer, swimming, bicycling and much more.
Along with cardio exercises, kids should be participating in strength and flexibility exercises too. But there’s no need to have your kids hit the gym to lift weights though! Strength exercise for kids includes climbing, swinging on monkey bars, doing pushups or sit-ups, handstands and others.
Flexibility exercises for kids can be as simple as toe touches or reaching, but can also be backbends and cartwheels. Kids yoga has also become a fun way for kids to stretch and relax. Check your local yoga studios to see if they offer a class just for kids.
The benefits of a pedometer
Many pedometers, in general, are very inexpensive, while some, like some of the fitness trackers on this list that count steps, might cost a little more but have additional features that get kids even more motivated.
Setting a step goal or having kids compete against a friend or family member to see who gets the most amount of steps is a great way to get kids moving.
For kids just starting out, make sure not to set too high of a goal or save the friendly competition for a little while later. Kids reaching and exceeding their step goals will get that boost of confidence and motivation to set a new higher goal.
Features to look for
Comfortable to wear. Most of the trackers on this list are worn on the wrist and are made of a comfortable durable silicone. Ones without adjustable clasps may be more comfortable for some kids, while others might loathe wearing something on their wrist. In that case, check out something that can hook on to a belt, shoe or somewhere else that isn’t in the way.
Battery life. More features mean the battery dies faster. If you or your child don’t want to be bothered with recharging the tracker, opt for something with fewer features.
Some of the trackers on this list will last 1 year or more without having to replace the battery. Others may need to be charged every few days.
Waterproof v.s. Water resistant. Does your child like to swim? We feature several options that are waterproof or water resistant up to a certain depth, while others are only splash-proof.
Age appropriate. Not all pedometers are for every age. Check to make sure the watch or tracker is suitable for your child. Some cater to more mature kids, ages 8 and up, and will look and function more like your fitness tracker.
Other trackers are suitable for younger kids and features games that motivate them (but may bore older kids). Pedometers and fitness trackers for younger kids also tend to be more durable and can withstand bumps, falls and scratches.
How to get in those extra steps
Getting in those steps doesn’t mean your child merely has to walk. Any physical activity that requires movement is a great way to get that step counter rising. Here are some tips on how to encourage your child to move.
Walk (or bike) everywhere! Have your kids walk or bike to school. Take a walk with them to run an errand such as going to the local library. Walk the dog (or the neighbor’s dog) or start a routine of a short after dinner walk.
Choose games that get kids moving. Making it a game, especially with younger children, can be a great way to get kids to move. Something as simple as Simon Says or hide and seek will help kids get active.
Put on some music. Nothing inspires both kids and adults like an upbeat playlist. Start a dance party in the house, or even play some tunes while outside playing a game or tossing a ball around.
Have toys that encourage physical activity readily available. Make it easy for kids to grab their bike, jump rope or ball to go outside and play.
Jump in on the action. Lead by example and move! Take them for a family hike, or walk the dog together. Perhaps invite another family or some friends for a game of football or basketball. Make exercise part of your lifestyle and it will soon be part of theirs too.
Top 8 Pedometers for Kids
We’ve got a list of not just pedometers, but fitness trackers that do much more! Your favorites like Fitbit and Garmin are on this list, with kid-specific trackers that your kids will love as much as you love yours.
There are also recognizable kids brands like Leapfrog that put their knowledge to good use and made a fun, exciting way for kids to take a step (or 1,000) forward! No matter which one you choose for your child, they are sure to have fun getting their steps in.
1. Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2
- Swim friendly kids activity tracker with...
- Kid-tough adjustable band, features a...
- Syncs with free mobile app, which...
- Kids Advance in Lutron's Revenge: A...
- Tracks steps, sleep and 60 minutes of...
This tough durable fitness tracker comes in a variety of characters your kids will love including the Avengers, Spiderman, Star Wars, Minnie Mouse, Disney Princess and more. And with a 1-year battery life, kids can sleep, play and even swim without having to recharge this watch.
The Vivofit Jr. 2 can also sync with a free app that allows parents to track kids’ physical activity, including the 60 minutes of recommended activity children should get in a day, and can even schedule alerts and reminders for the kids. You can even program step challenges where they can compete for how many steps to get in a certain amount of time or even start a challenge with nearby friends.
Not only does this watch track steps, but it also tracks sleep. Unlike the original Vivofit Jr., this has an adjustable band and can fit ages 6+.
- Waterproof making it perfect for swimming.
- Can set up challenges to keep kids motivated.
- Tracks sleep too!
- Does not need to be constantly recharged. 1-year battery life.
- Comes in a variety of characters.
- The screen is on the small side.
- A pricey option for a pedometer.
2. LeapFrog LeapBand
- Experience the first activity tracker...
- Preload LeapBand with 50 active...
- Parent controls on LeapFrog Connect make...
- Encourages active play, nurturing and...
- Ages 4-7 years.
If you are looking for something for your younger child, the LeapFrog LeapBand is a great option. But this watch is much more than just a step counter. It features a large color screen and has more than 50 challenges to get kids moving.
The LeapBand is great for ages 4-7. Kids are rewarded with points for every activity and how much movements they do. They then use the points to unlock a virtual pet they get to customize. Kids then motivate their pets by doing more activity.
This water-resistant watch syncs with an app that has more games, rewards and teaches kids health tips. The adjustable band fits most 4-to 7-year-olds and the watch has a rechargeable battery. Parents can also set a “quiet time” so the watch doesn’t disturb sleeping kids or kids at school.
- Very affordable price.
- 50 activities keep kids motivated to do more than just walk.
- The big color screen is easy to read and makes it fun.
- Kids love creating and customizing their virtual pets.
- Quiet function ensures kids aren’t disturbed in school or at bedtime.
- The battery doesn’t last as long as most would like.
- It might feel a little big on some kid’s wrists.
3. Fitbit Ace
- Tracks steps, active minutes and sleep...
- Rewards kids for hitting goals with...
- A showerproof tracker that survives...
- Syncs stats wirelessly and automatically...
- In the Fitbit app, parents create an...
If you love your Fitbit, your kids might love one too. For kids 8 and older, the Fitbit Ace is a great way for you and your child to track physical activity, steps and even challenge friends and family to a step competition.
The bright display screen shows kids how many steps they’ve taken, how many minutes they have been active. The Fitbit Ace also tracks sleep too. You can send your kids messages, reminders and encouragement which will pop up on their screen.
Kids will receive badges and rewards for reaching certain goals and milestones. This tracker has a 5-day battery life and syncs to the Fitbit app which parents, if they don’t already have an account, will need to create in order to send messages, alerts and track their activity.
- Silent vibrating alarms can be set for a morning wake up or reminders.
- Stylish, lightweight design.
- Can challenge friends to step competitions.
- Kids can choose from one of 10 clock face designs.
- Might not withstand a lot of use. The face can scratch and crack if kids are rough with it.
4. UNICEF Kid Power Band
- The UNICEF Kid Power Band is a...
- Dubbed by many as a Fitbit for kids, the...
- Use the free companion app to sync the...
- Water-resistent, with a kid tested...
- Go on in-app Missions and learn about...
Getting fit for a good cause! The UNICEF Kid Power band is a simple-to-use water resistant activity tracker that inspires kids to move more by donating food to malnourished children with every “mission” a child completes.
The screen has a big bright display and the battery life last 5 days with a fast 1-hour recharge. Parents can download a free app to sync with the Kid Power Band. The app allows kids to go on “missions” and earn rewards to then help those in need, as well as learn about other cultures and countries.
This super affordable tracker will track steps and total daily activity. The adjustable band fits most wrists.
- Bright easy-to-read display.
- Earn points to help get food to malnourished children.
- The educational interactive app lets children choose missions to earn points.
- Very affordable price.
- The battery is quickly recharged in about an hour and last 5 days.
- Water resistant.
- Includes only 1 mission for free. Will have to purchase other missions.
5. Fitbit Zip
- Tracks steps, distance and calories...
- Syncs automatically to your computer or...
- Set goals, view progress and earn...
- Share and compete with friends...
- Free iphone and android application
While not specifically made for kids, this is a simple, straight-forward and accurate pedometer that works well for both kids and adults.
No need to recharge your Fitbit Zip for up to 6 months! It tracks all-day activities including steps, distance, active minutes and calories burned. It syncs wirelessly to your smartphone.
It is water resistant and small, so kids won’t even remember they are wearing it. It clips securely to clothing such as a pocket or belt. It also shows the time and even shows a smiley face if your child has hit a step goal.
- Simple, straightforward tracker.
- Small and clips on securely.
- Tracks steps, calories, active minutes and distance.
- Syncs with Fitbit app.
- Long 6-month battery life.
- Expensive for what it does.
6. Vtech Kidizoom DX2
- Two cameras allow you to take videos,...
- Helps kids learn to tell time with 55...
- Monster catcher game creates an...
- Includes a motion sensor for active play...
- Using the included Micro-USB cable,...
This smartwatch for kids has a built-in pedometer and so much more. Kids can take pictures, play games, make videos, use the voice changer and more.
The Kidizoom is only splash resistant, so make sure your kids don’t take a shower or swim with it on. However, the big color touchscreen is durable. This watch is perfect for kids ages 4 all the way up to 12!
Kids can download games and clock faces on Vtech’s Learning Lodge. It also has a stopwatch and timer.
The accuracy of the pedometer is a little questionable, but with all the other features, it might motivate kids to move.
- Kids love that it’s a smartwatch, just like adults.
- Can download lots of games from Learning Lodge.
- Has a built-in camera.
- Can download different clock faces.
- Also has a stopwatch and timer.
- Parent’s can limit the amount of game time.
- The pedometer might not be very accurate. Counts “moves” better than steps.
- The battery will need to be charged every few days, maybe sooner depending on usage.
7. 3D FitBud
- SIMPLE & EASY TO USE - 3D Pedometer for...
- TRACK YOUR DAILY STEPS – Created with...
- ACCURATE READING - It has advanced 3D...
- EXTRA LARGE DIGIT DISPLAY - With full...
- BATTERY INCLUDED - Enjoy Great Battery...
If your child has no interest in wearing a watch, then check out this simple, affordable pedometer that can either be worn on a lanyard or clipped on to a belt or pocket.
It has a large easy-to-read display. It will need to be reset each day, but that is simple to do by just pushing a button. It does not do anything else though, such as tell time.
This step counter features 3D Tri-Axis Sensor Technology and is more accurate than other step counters on this list. It also is the lowest priced pedometer on this list and comes in 4 different colors.
- Super simple to use
- Has a large screen to view steps.
- Very affordable.
- Easily reset the number of steps with one button.
- Very accurate counting steps.
- Only tells steps. Nothing else. Might not be exciting enough for kids.
8. Garmin Vivofit Jr.
- 1 year battery life no recharging...
- 24/7 wearability swim friendly with 5...
- Kid tough easy to put on, the 1 size...
- Ages 4—9 years; Bands: Regular size...
- Compatible parent mobile app.OS...
The original Vivofit Jr. is still for sale and still a great option for kids. While it does feature an adjustable strap, it fits most 4- to 9-year-old wrists.
The Vivofit Jr. is comfortable to wear, has a 1-year battery life and is water resistant, so kids can wear it to sleep, shower and swim! The battery can be easily replaced after one year.
It is very durable and holds up to a lot of use with getting damaged or the strap breaking. The tracker syncs up to parents’ smartphones so you can set reminders and alarms.
Kids can earn virtual coins and then turn them in for rewards you set such as extra screen time, allowance, etc. Kids will also learn fun facts and unlock “adventure trails” if they reach the daily 1 hour of physical activity.
- The durable tracker works great for kids ages 4-9.
- Kids can earn points for parent-approved rewards.
- Tracks daily activity and steps.
- Comes in a variety of different band styles.
- Watch face can be personalized with a name.
- Can set alarms and messages to alert kids.
- On the expensive side.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many steps should kids aim for?
A: Most adults have heard of the 10,000 steps a day rule when it applies to them. But does the 10,000 steps apply to kids too? Not so much.
According to research by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, kids should aim for 12,000 a day. This includes the 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
Q: How does a pedometer work?
A: Most pedometers these days are partly electronic. If you were to open up a pedometer you would find a metal weighted pendulum that swings side to side and is wired to a circuit.
As you walk, the pendulum swings and touches another part of the circuit. This completes the circuit, sending an electrical current through the circuit. This counts as one step.
Q: Are pedometers accurate?
A: Pedometers are not completely accurate. Not every step you take will be counted and sometimes movements like an arm swing without a step will be counted. The best accuracy is when pedometers are worn around the waist.
That said pedometers provide a great approximation of the number of steps you walked each day. Pedometers are usually off about 10 percent.
Whether you are looking for something simple for your kid to check out how many steps they do in a day or you’re looking for something more advanced with features to help motivate your child to get up and move, there’s something for everyone (or rather every kid) on this list of best pedometers for kids.
The Vivofit Jr. 2 is a great choice for nearly all kids. It’s simple to use but has enough features to keep kids motivated to hit their step goal. But no matter which tracker you choose, you’re sure to help your child take the right step forward (pun intended) to a healthier lifestyle.