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Best smartwatch for kids 2022: The finest wearables for your children from £50

Victoria Woollaston Gareth Thomas
27 Jun 2022
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Find the right watch for your child, from the basic and streamlined right up to high-tech smartwatches

The best smartwatches for kids are a fun way to encourage your kids to stay active. They should be durable enough to withstand knocks and bumps and offer fun features to keep your children interested. With many models also using GPS features that allow you to keep track of your child’s location, they can help offer you peace of mind too. Ultimately, they’re a great bit of tech if you want to give your kids a sense of independence but aren’t quite ready to buy them a smartphone.

In our roundup of the best smartwatches for kids below, we’ve included basic, fitness tracker-style watches right up to all-singing, all-dancing smartwatches with GPS, games and SIM connectivity. You’ll find wearables from recognisable brands such as Garmin and Fitbit, as well as some from less well-known manufacturers. We’ve also included a range of prices to suit most budgets. Before we get into our top picks, though, we’ve put together a buying guide to help you choose the best smartwatch for your child.

READ NEXT: These are the best smartwatches you can buy


Best smartwatch for kids: At a glance

  • Best kids fitness wearable: Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 | Buy now
  • Best Fitbit for kids: Fitbit Ace 3| Buy now
  • Best smartwatch for fun and games: Kurio Watch 2.0 | Buy now
  • Best all-round kids smartwatch: Xplora XGO2 | Buy now
  • Best smartphone alternative: SPACETALK Smartwatch | Buy now

How to choose the best smartwatch for your child

If you’re not sure where to start when buying the best kids’ smartwatch or you want to know more about which features to look out for, we’ve outlined the most important criteria to consider.

Durability and design

The best smartwatch for kids should be one that fits comfortably on smaller wrists and looks good enough to wear with pride. Many models in our list of best kids’ smartwatches offer a range of colours and patterns to help your child express their personality. Beyond the aesthetic, look for lightweight, durable designs, preferably with elastomer bands that are easy to clean, allowing your children to play with abandon.

Features

The features to look for when buying the best smartwatch for kids depend on what you – or your child – need it to do. Want to keep them active? Opt for the Garmin or Fitbit models in our list, or choose any kids’ smartwatch from a brand that specialises in fitness trackers for adults.

Are your kids more interested in using the watch for entertainment or learning? The VTech and Kurio models are the way to go. Bluetooth features are necessary for updates and helping the watch sync with apps on phones, and Wi-Fi is occasionally desirable for some online features but 4G connectivity isn’t a must-have.

Safety

Smartwatches may be your child’s first foray into gadgets and social networking and you’ll want to make sure it is a positive, safe experience for them. The best smartwatches for kids offer parental controls via apps that help you keep track of what your little ones are doing and who they’re speaking to. Some are fitted with GPS sensors, which are useful for activity tracking but can also give you peace of mind about where they are.

If safety is your prime concern, buy a smartwatch with the added security of geofencing features and notifications. These will alert you when your child enters, or leaves, a safe space and some can alert the authorities, too. As with all gadgets, make sure you keep the software on the watch, and the app, up-to-date to keep it safe from security flaws.

Battery life

The more sensors a smartwatch has, the more power it needs and this can drastically reduce battery life. Sadly, this is just a fact of modern life so you need to weigh up whether you want to be charging the watch every night for a feature-packed watch or are happy to forsake these features for weekly charges. At the very least, though, a smartwatch should last a full day of school and preferably into the evening.

How much should I spend?

As we’ve already mentioned, a kid-friendly smartwatch is a good way to introduce your child to the world of gadgets and social media. With this in mind, you’re not necessarily going to want to spend a great deal of money on an entry-level wearable. Many of the entries in our roundup fall well below the £100 mark, with some costing as little as £40 or £50. At the other end of the spectrum, you can find more advanced smartwatches for around £150, but you should rarely ever have to pay any more than this.

READ NEXT: Best waterproof fitness trackers

The best smartwatches for kids in 2022

1. Garmin Vivofit Jr 3: Best kids fitness wearable

Price: £80 | Buy now from John Lewis

As its name suggests, the Vivofit Jr is designed primarily to encourage your child to exercise. If they’re spending at least one hour during the day being active, then they’ll unlock mini-games and other fun features on the Garmin Jr app (controlled from the parent’s smartphone or tablet). It’s a neat incentive to get your kid away from the screen and to promote exercise, and there are a number of designs and themes for your child to choose from too: from the Disney Princess model illustrated above to Marvel watches featuring characters such as Black Panther and Iron Man.

Compared to the Vivofit Jr 2 (which is still available from retailers such as Amazon), the Vivofit Jr 3 adopts a smartwatch-like square screen rather than the slimmer fitness band design of its predecessor. The attractive colour display shows the time and your child’s basic fitness stats, as well as characters tailored to the watch’s theme.

There’s no GPS and it hasn’t got a touchscreen, but if you’re looking to get your child up and active with a fun smartwatch, the Vivofit Jr 3 is a great option.

Key specs – Display: 0.5in colour screen; GPS: No; Battery life: One year; Colours: 2 Disney Princess designs, 2 Marvel designs, 3 Garmin designs; Waterproof: 5ATM; Recommended ages: 4+

2. Fitbit Ace 3: Best Fitbit for kids

Price: £70 | Buy now from John Lewis

The Fitbit Ace 3 is a great option if you want a smartwatch that encourages your child to stop looking at screens and be more active. With the capability to count steps, sleep and periods of activity, or ‘active hours’, the Ace 3 is a proper little fitness tracker - it even has a built-in heart rate sensor.

If you’re getting fed up with nagging your children to be more active and healthy— don’t worry, the Ace 3 does it for you. It does this by setting your child the target to sleep nine hours a night and reach 10,000 steps a day, although you can alter these numbers if you so wish. It even gives them the goal to do 250 steps in an hour nine times per day— this is great as it breaks up the target of 10,000 steps and keeps your child engaged throughout the day.

For further motivation, the Ace 3 gives your child stats and achievement badges and allows them to take part in challenges against family and friends. All of this information is served via Fitbit’s notoriously excellent smartphone app. Parents and kids can pair the Ace 3 with their Fitbit app, but while adults get the full-fat version, children see a “Kid View” with pared-down stat displays and an emphasis on customising the watch face.

Like the Ace 2, the Ace 3 is waterproof to 50m, so you don’t have to keep reminding your child to take it off before washing or swimming. Unlike the Ace 2, however, the Ace 3 now has a brighter POLED display and an eight-day battery life, up from five days on the previous model. If you’re a keen Fitbit fan, and you need a device to help your child stay active, this is the one for you.

Read our full Fitbit Ace 3 review

Specifications - Display: 1.5in mono touchscreen; GPS: No; Phonecall and texts: You can view but can’t send; Battery life: 8 days; Colours: Black/Racer Red, Cosmic Blue/Green; Water resistant: 50M; Recommended ages: 6+

Buy now from John Lewis


3. Xplora X5 Play: Best all-round kids smartwatch

Price: £159 | Buy now from John Lewis

The Xplora X5 Play is truly the Swiss Army knife of children’s smartwatches. It has a 2MP camera built in, GPS and the ability to send and receive voice and text messages and make calls to up to 50 pre-approved contacts, directly from the wrist.

All of these things are essential for paranoid parents looking for a way to keep tabs on younger kids who may be taking their first steps in walking to school on their own.

The companion app, available on both Android and iOS, is fully comprehensive, too. You can also view your child’s position live on a map and his or her recent GPS history, although remember for all the call and phone facilities to work you do need to add a SIM card with data and minutes loaded.

There’s not so much here for children to enjoy but the basics are covered. The watch is chunky but comfortable on the wrist and the 240 x 240 pixel 1.4in touchscreen is both bright and responsive. There’s a choice of watch faces and the ubiquitous step counter, which award kids with coins for activity.

It’s even possible to exchange these coins for products in the Xplora GoPlay store, just to give them that bit of extra motivation to stay active. Combined with excellent battery life, the Xplora X5 is the best all-round smartwatch for kids that we've used.

Key specs - Display: 1.4in, 240 x 240 colour touchscreen; GPS: Yes; Phonecalls and texts: Yes; Battery life: 3 days; Colours: Black, blue or pink; Water resistant: IP68 (1.5m for 30mins); Recommended ages: 4+

4. Kurio Watch 2.0: Best smartwatch for fun and games

Price: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

Compared to its Fitbit and Garmin rivals, the Kurio Watch 2.0 cares less about activity tracking and is more focused on fun. It comes pre-loaded with 20 apps and games, such as Snake and Noughts and Crosses, that can be played alone or with friends.

Your little ones can send messages via Bluetooth to other Kurio watches or via the Kurio Android app (not available on iOS) plus a front-facing camera lets them take selfies and videos, and add fun filters before sharing.

They can also use the watch as an alarm, calendar, calculator, activity tracker and to play music either via Bluetooth or using the built-in storage. When it comes to customisation, your kids can change the watch face and wallpaper of the Kurio Watch 2.0 and swap silicone bands in and out, including the colour-change band that ships with each model. A nice touch is the In Case of Emergency app that lets you add your contact information as well as details about blood type or allergies.

Specifications - Display: 1.54in colour touchscreen; Storage: 256MB expandable to 32GB; GPS: No; Battery life: 1-3 days; Colours: Blue/red, pink/purple; Water resistant: Yes; Recommended ages: 6+

5. Xplora XGO2: Best value kids smartwatch

Price: £100 | Buy now from John Lewis

The XGO2 is one of the more expensive smartwatches on our list, but it’s a worthy investment if you want to get your child a smartwatch that can do it all.

The XGO2 combines the fitness features of the Garmin and Fitbit watches above (with the Xplora Goplay Platform, your child can earn virtual coins with their steps) alongside the fun messaging and selfie elements of the Kurio. Improving on its predecessor the XGO, the XGO2 is waterproof and comes with a 700mAH battery. It has cellular connectivity and there is a slot for a SIM card, but you’ll have to buy your SIM separately.

Location services allow you to track your child and set up ‘security zones’ and, in an emergency, your child can press an SOS button to send a notification to the watch’s saved emergency contacts.

Specifications - Display: 1.4in colour display; GPS: Yes; Battery life: 72hr standby; Colours: Blue, black and pink; Waterproof: IP67; Recommended ages: 4+

Buy now from John Lewis


6. SPACETALK Smartwatch: Best smartphone alternative

Price: £8/mth with no upfront cost | Buy now from Sky Mobile

Designed in Australia, the Spacetalk smartwatch for kids combines features of a smartphone, GPS tracker and watch into a single wearable aimed at children aged between five and 12. When used with a mobile SIM, wearers can make and receive calls and texts from pre-approved contacts. It comes with a GPS tracker that works with a ‘Location on Demand’ feature that allows you to get an instant update on where their child is. What’s more, when a child leaves or arrives at a designed ‘Safe Zone’, such as a home or school, you’ll get an alert. You can also remotely switch off the watch’s functions via its School Mode to avoid unwanted distractions.

You do need to sign up to the AllMyTribe app to be able to use the phone features and a subscription starts at around £3 a month. You'll also need to pay for a data plan. The Spacetalk watch supports SIM-only plans but you'll need to buy the watch upfront first: You can get it for around £150 on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can get the Spacetalk smartwatch on Sky Mobile for no upfront cost and, for just £9 a month, you get 4GB of data plus unlimited calls and texts.

Specifications - Display: 1.33in colour touchscreen; GPS: Yes; Battery life: 1 day; Colours: Blue, grey and pink; Waterproof: IP54; Recommended ages: 5+

Buy now from Sky Mobile


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