A kids fitness tracker is not typically the kind of wearable I'm used to reviewing, because, well I'm not a kid and I don't have kids, but Garmin offered the opportunity to review the Vivofit Jr 3 so I thought it would be a good idea to see what's out there for this otherwise unlikely demographic for wearables.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 feels equal parts basic and somewhat feature-rich. There's not really a lot on the tracker itself that can be interacted with. But when paired with the companion app, the tracker actually becomes a lot more robust and fun to use. Even for adults if you're looking for a little validation.
The best part about the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 though is that it makes staying active fun for kids. It adds in other things like chores and healthy, friendly competition with friends and/or siblings that can help teach kids about responsibility. So all-in-all, it gets things off to a good start in terms of what you might think a kids tracker is or should be.
That doesn't necessarily mean that it's perfect. As mentioned above, this is nearly the perfect fitness tracker for kids. All it needs is a little finetuning to make it the bee's knees.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 hits nearly all the right notes
There's little about this tracker that kids or their parents will probably dislike. For the most part this is a great little device. It's stylish enough for kids thanks to the wide range of themed designs it can take on.
Garmin actually offers the Vivofit Jr 3 in numerous themed options. The one I have here features a Black Panther theme from Marvel's Avengers. However there's also an Iron Man theme, three different fun colors that include a neon yellow, lilac, and blue, and two different Disney Princess models. One themed after The Little Mermaid and one themed after a group of Disney princesses.
These should instantly play to the interests of kids. I know that if this was around when I was a kid I would have loved having it. Because I adored Marvel Comics and anything based on them.
Design aside, it's basic enough that it shouldn't bog things down for children. But it's also that mega simplicity that may make things a tad frustrating for children as well.
My only complaint with the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 is that there's not really an easy, straightforward way to turn on the backlight. I immediately assumed there was a setting in the app to turn the backlight on to a brighter setting. There's not. To turn it on at all you have to hold the one button on the tracker down for a single second. Any more than that and you end up going into sync mode which might be frustrating for younger users.
This isn't a major issue. But it is possible to accidentally hold the button on the tracker down too long. Which would result in syncing the tracker to the app.
Infinity Saga adventures will have kids active in no time
Unless your kid hates Marvel's Avengers, the Infinity Saga adventures that the tracker has are sure to get any kid interested.
This particular feature leverages two things. The app which holds the adventures through all four of the Avengers movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the daily activity goals, which is how you advance the adventure in the app.
As your kid wears the tracker, the daily activity goals (which are set to 60 minutes by default) records the steps and movements they take. When you sync it up to the app at the end of each day or however often you do that, the adventure will move up a little bit.
Granted kids can't see the adventures on the tracker itself. But the idea of being able to go through adventures with some of their favorite super heroes should be enough to get them excited to complete these goals each day.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 offers friendly competition through Challenges
There's nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. Especially when it's being family and friends.
The Garmin Vivofit Jr 3 lets you set challenges in the app which kids can meet and exceed. If they need a little extra motivation to get things done. like meeting their daily activity goals for steps and other stuff.
Challenges are set for both daily and weekly amounts, and there are a few different options for what you set the challenge to. Whether it's steps, active minutes etc. There's also the Toe-To-Toe challenges. Which task kids with challenging their friends to a two-minute step challenge.
You can also see complete challenges in the app if you ever want to look at results. Which I found to be a nice way to show kids their progress.
Help teach kids responsibility and offer rewards for meeting goals
There are two ways this tracker can help teach kids responsibility, and the benefits that come along with being responsible.
First, the app allows you to set chores for your kids. You can set these up to be done on a daily basis or weekly basis. You can also set alarms for when you want these chores done. There's a wide list of chores included in the app, from doing dishes to washing the car, to simple things like packing and unpacking your backpack each day.
When they complete the chore, you can mark it off in the app. And completing chores, like most things with this tracker, rewards your kid with points. This leads me to the rewards part.
You can set up rewards for even more motivation to complete goals. Say your kid likes games. You can set up a reward for buying them a new game at the end of the month if they obtain all the points that are required.
It's a positive way to teach them that accomplishing their goals and finishing their responsibilities can lead to good things. But more so that you should just be a responsible person.
Getting enough sleep is important, so naturally this tracks sleep hours
On top of everything else that the Vivofit Jr 3 already does, it also tracks sleep hours. So as long as your kid wears this when going to bed, you'll be able to see how long they slept after they get up the next morning.
This could prove to be especially useful for parents whose kids have trouble getting enough sleep each night. The tracker tracks the amount of hours, and the app (once synced up) puts it all on display in an easy to view graph.
This is probably more for the parents' benefit than anything else. So they know their kids are getting enough sleep. But it's still a nice addition so parents have another way to teach their kids the importance of being well-rested.
Should you buy the Garmin Vivofit Jr 3?
If you want your kid to have a fitness tracker, whether just to help them stay active and in good health, or to do that plus help motivate them for numerous other reasons, yes.
This is a great tracker. I think it's nearly the perfect tracker for kids. More to the point kids will love the super hero and princess designs.
Plus, it's not all that expensive. While there are other trackers for kids out there, and some with features that this doesn't offer, this really does a good job at appealing to younger users.
Usually this retails for about $80. But it's on sale right now for a limited time for $60. So it's a better value than it is normally.