Kids have always loved playing at being adults, from playing house to having pretend phones. And because its the 21st century, kids can also now play at being mom or dad with a play smartwatch. Some just offer a few beeps and lights, while others can actually interact with kids.
Smartwatches for kids can also offer an alternative to a smartphone — they’re not nearly as engrossing and also have fewer games. Some smartwatches even come with parental controls. And, like any watch, they can teach kids important lessons about time and even time management. While most have a digital display, you can find ones that offer a display that shows a classic clock face. Some can even play music — and even have headphone jacks so not everyone has to listen to that music.
And if you want something truly simple, you may be surprised to find Fitbit’s kid’s fitness tracker is a great option: it feels snazzy with multiple displays, but doesn’t have games or cameras. It just shows the time and tracks steps. Looking for something even more basic? There are some slightly fancy digital display watches that just might keep your kids from asking for an Apple Watch for a few more years. Here’s hoping — and here are our favorite picks.
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1. VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch
Kids can tell time, snap selfies and even play educational games on this affordable smartwatch from VTech. Plus, there are different watch-face displays — kids can view time in both analog and digital. Because there’s no WiFi or Bluetooth available, parents will have to plug the watch into a computer and load VTech’s game and enrichment activities onto the watch, as well as seasonal watch faces. The upside: This gives parents control over what’s on their kids’ watches. Parents can also set daily limits for time spent on the watch and even disable games.
2. PROGRACE Kids Smartwatch
With Bluetooth capabilities and the ability to play mp3 files, little music lovers can also plug in headphones to listen to tunes with this PROGRACE Kids Smartwatch. It also comes preloaded with a limited number of games, and has a fitness tracker that lets kids track steps and encourage physical activity. While it offers more capabilities than the VTech watch, there are no parental controls. But if you want an inexpensive way for your kids to listen to music, this is a great option.
3. iTouch Playzoom Kids Smart Watch
The iTouch Playzoom Kids Smart Watch is another great option that comes preloaded with games, and kids can also express their personality with one of 18 different watch bands — designs range from space to sports to unicorn cats, so what’s not to love? The watch itself comes preloaded with a handful of interactive games and customizable displays and photo effects. Pictures and videos can be saved onto the watch, and once the memory card is full, the watch can be connected to a computer via a USB port to delete or save the files. Kids can also use the alarm, timer and calendar features. The downside: There are no parental controls.
4. VTech PAW Patrol Marshall Learning Watch
Not all smartwatches for kids have to be so, well, smart. This VTech PAW Patrol Marshall Learning Watch still lets kids play games and tell time, but with a more basic digital display. Games teach basic math like addition and subtraction. In addition to Marshall, Paw Patrol fans can choose fro Ryder and Skye watches. Each watch includes the voice of the character. Kids can also set alarms and use a stopwatch when wearing the watch.
5. Fitbit Ace 2 Activity Tracker for Kids
With no games or cameras, Fitbit provides a surprisingly pared-down version of a smartwatch for kids. They can tell time, as well as check steps and activity using this model that’s specifically designed for younger users. It also tracks sleep and is 100% waterproof. Kids can compete and compare their steps friends and family — and parents link the Fitbit with a kid’s account to limit the child’s views and capabilities.