Fitness trackers and running watches for kids can inspire a healthy lifestyle and a bond for you and your kids as you are ready to run together! I am reviewing the 6 best running watches for kids. My favorite is the Garmin Bounce as it allows you to call your kids, real-live tracking, and durability. All six watches offer very different features and price points. Read my reviews below!
Last year my son’s kindergarten teacher called me with a concern. Cal, 5, was spending his time at recess running laps around the playground equipment, counting his steps. She was worried that he was starting to focus on the activity tracker instead of playing with friends. He had a cheap Amazon watch and enjoyed seeing the numbers tick up. Now, for Christmas he wants a running watch—hence my list of the best running watches for kids.
His old kids fitness tracker broke several times and only counted steps, not miles. Now he has a smartwatch that also only counts steps but has a lot of other cool and fun features like music player, camera, parental controls, and the ability to call and text (a great option for parents peace of mind—and kids).
Related: How to Get Your Kids to Love Running
Our experience with running watches for kids
My son likes to be near me and wants to know where I am at all times. With the ability to call me, Cal can locate me whenever he needs to which helps calm his nerves. One time we were at my sister’s visiting and I was out running (his dad was right next to him when he woke up). He didn’t know where I was and called me right away. In the past, he would have screamed for me and freaked out.
This watch has saved us from many meltdowns!
Plus, it encourages our kids to be active kids—helping meet the goal of the World Health Organization of 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, for kids 5 to 17.
So alas, I want to share with you the top kids fitness trackers and best running watches for kids. These watches were suggested by fellow mother runners and received rave customer reviews. They are also sized for kids, user-friendly, and price-conscious.
Smartwatches such as Spacetalk Adventurer, Apple Watch Se, Apple Watch Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Watch, and Coros Apex—while great watches, didn’t make the cut due to price tag.
Related: 8 Best Budget Running Watches
Here is the list of best running watches for kids:
- Garmin Bounce
- Garmin Viviofit
- Gabb Fit
- Tick Talk Smart Watch
- Garmin Forerunner 45s
- Fitbit Ace
Let’s get to the details of these kids running watches!
Related: Best Running Games for Kids
6 Best Fitness Trackers & Running Watches for Kids
Garmin Bounce Kids Smart Watch — $139.99
The Garmin Bounce Kids Smart Watch is one of THE best running watches for kids, according to mother
This watch offers all of the activity tracking features an active child could want including tracking laps in the pool or on the track. There is also the capability for voice and text messages to up to 20 contacts (so no randoms, just parent-approved family members and friends).
This watch also has real-time location tracking and tracks steps, sleep, activity, and more. It is also waterproof, and there is no need to change your phone provider as Garmin handles your LTE subscription.
Our kid testers (aka mother runners’ kids) like the larger screen and say it offers the best fit. Bounce really is like a kid version of an adult GPS watch—making it the most popular among cross country athletes.
The Garmin Bounce does not have a long-lasting battery life though, just two days.
Garmin Vivofit jr. 3 — $69.99
If you’d like a cheaper version of the Garmin Bounce (let’s face it, kids don’t have the best track record with taking care of expensive items), the Garmin Vivofit Jr. is your watch. with more style offerings. This kids’ smartwatch comes in 11 colors, is waterproof and durable, and has a large watch screen.
What makes this GPS watch special are its unique features for motivation and chores. Kids can go on a “Garmin world tour and uncover and tour exciting new places through an app. Parents can also assign chores.
The Garmin Vivoactive Jr. also has an incredible battery life of one year, with no charge required and the battery is replaceable. Finally, it offers fun design options, the ability to schedule alerts and alarms, reward good behavior, track sleep, and emergency contact information.
The biggest drawback of this watch is it is a fitness tracker that tracks steps, but not mileage via GPS.
Gabb Watch — $74.99 plus cellular plan ($12.99/mo)
The Gabb watch was another highly recommended smartwatch by fellow moms. This watch allows you to make voice calls, text emojis or messages, send an SOS plus location to approved contacts, track steps, set alarms and timers, play with a virtual bet, and turn on a flashlight.
This is more of a basic watch for kids but the look and feel are kid-friendly, and it offers basic activity tracking features. This watch is perfect for younger kids who are starting their running habit.
Tick Talk 4 watch — $189.99 (+ cellular plan)
The Tick Talk 4 watch is the watch my 6-year-old tester has (plus my 9-year-old tester, Eleanor). My kids love theirs so much, our neighbors got TickTalk watches too.
The Tick Talk 4 watch is a kid version of the Apple Watch in a lot of ways.
It offers GPS Location Tracking, Emergency SOS Contacts, Secured/Encrypted End-To-End group and individual
messaging, 2-Way HD video calls, different color and style options and bands, 20+ parental controls, free SIM cards, and streaming music. The TickTalk watch also has school mode so the smartwatch is not disruptive during school hours.
You can pay as you go. And my favorite feature is that TickTalk has the best customer service. They are easy to reach via phone or email, and very responsive.
Related: The Benefits of Walking for Runners
Garmin Forerunner 45s — $161
A great option for older kids, especially those who run track or cross country, is the Garmin Forerunner 45s. It’s like the Garmin Forerunner we wear, but smaller.
This Garmin offers Garmin training plans and personalized coaching, safety tracking and incident detection, a heart rate monitor, a music player, good GPS accuracy, Bluetooth, and smart notification with voice calls and texts.
This Garmin also includes sports apps for running, cycling, indoor track, treadmill, elliptical, cardio, yoga and more. The battery life is up to 7 days in smartwatch mode and 14 hours in GPS mode.
The biggest drawback of this GPS watch is the price.
Fitbit Ace 3 — $49.95 (plus $17.99 cellular plan)
The Fitbit Ace 3 is the most popular kids’ fitness tracker. It’s waterproof, small, fits wrists wrist sizes 4.8″ – 6.8″ in circumference, is durable, and gives you basic health tracking capability. With Fitbit, parents can keep track of how much their kids are sleeping with the sleep tracker.
You can also track exercises like running, biking, swimming, or weight lifting with the Fitbit app to see real-time
stats, including heart-rate data, steps, calories burned, elapsed time, and a post-workout summary on your wrist. For complete workout stats, and route and pace information, if you used GPS, you can review your exercise history in the app.
The two downsides of Fitbit are the small screen size and that the popular open family challenges are no longer available.
If you need guidance with your training and going after your goals, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:
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