Hands down one of the best gadgets I have ever found for the kids is the Vivofit Jr 2 by Garmin. Now I’m not one for gadgets in general but I love using my own step counter, a Fit Bit, and the kids have long been asking me if they can have one of their own. While an adult fitness watch probably isn’t quite right for kids and cheap step counters tend to break I’ve been reluctant to get them one; but then I heard about this Vivofit Jr and it sounded perfect. It’s not the most inexpensive of items it has to be said and at around the £80 mark most retailers you’d want a good recommendation before forking out. So, if you’re here looking for that thumbs up, let me tell you that you’ve found it! I can hand on heart say it’s worth the pennies and the kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on them!
There’s a few different designs to choose from with Disney being the base. So Starwars, Superheroes or Minie Mouse and with each one comes a matching game within the app you download to keep track of everything. They of course count steps and I have the app downloaded to my phone to control and keep an eye on everything while the kids each have it down loaded to their iPads so that they too can see what the day’s results are and compare them to the days before as well as play the game. The game’s quite basic but retains excitement as they can move around it and unlock more parts to it dependent on how many coins they have earned and they earn these by completing tasks that I set on the app as ‘chores’. I have input brushing teeth, showering and getting dressed both in the morning and evening for them and when they do these things I control the coin giving on my phone. Their watches bleep to let them know a chore is necessary and bleep again to show them they have been paid a coin. I’ve never seen Jimmy more willing to brush his teeth and everything else aside, the watch is worth its weight for this function alone!
My children don’t actually need to be encouraged to move a lot but I don’t think it’s anything other than a good thing knowing how many steps they take each day and if you had a child who was rather reluctant then this would be just the motivation I feel. If you have more than one child so that they can go into competition with each other then even better as my two have been LOVING this element and at the end of the day are very keen to see who has won!
I think the thing I was most interested in was to see if there was much difference between my daughter and my son. I know that Jimmy races around the play ground pretending to be a superhero, playing games and generally doesn’t stop moving even when he’s doing something sedentary like playing his iPad whereas Florence tends to be calmer and I know likes to chat at lunchtimes as well as play games. I thought the outcome would show Jimmy naturally moves more than her and I wondered if this would be indicative of boys compared to girls behaviour in general. What I actually saw is that I was right to a degree but that once Florence knew this fact too she wasn’t prepared to have any of it and has made it her mission to beat Jimmy on his steps challenge daily since the first few days when it was showing him to be in the lead mostly; even if this has meant walking around the house in circles!
I thought this behaviour might peter out after a few days but I was wrong, they have kept it up, kept their watches on and are becoming more and more determined to out do each other. I think their Father and I might need to get some of these Garmin watches so that we can join in and also pick up some of this motivation.
They are motivated to move and motivated to ‘do their chores’ but the watches also allow them to tell the time, use their stop watch and it tells me how well they’ve slept – of course with Jimmy I often know how well he’s slept by how badly I have myself on account of him getting in my bed but it’s very interesting to see their patterns of awake and deep sleep. They can also swim in their watches, something I can’t do with my own FitBit meaning I have to manually input any that I do into my own app. This is obviously do-able but a bit of a faff and I tend not to bother. I totally wish I could wear mine swimming too and another feature I’m rather jealous of is that they don’t have to charge their watches up. They come with a battery which should last around a year and then you simply pop the screen out of the band and change it. Simple! And never having to be charged means never having to remember to be charged! I wear my own FitBit rather sporadically for the reason of being uncharged most of the time so this is a massive plus point on top of everything else!
All in I’m mightlily impressed with the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 and absolutely wish we (my husband and I) had something of the same nature. Hands down one of the best step counters I have found and I’ve only ever seen adult ones before now. They have adjustable straps which makes them suitable for all sizes and actually, I really have nothing bad to say about them at all other than that occasionally the app glitches a bit and doesn’t automatically sync – this isn’t much of a problem though and the kids and I do a regular ‘sync in’ before bed which is when we reveal the day’s winner!
It’s the perfect step counter for kids, great motivation and whether they need to get more exercise or not can only be a great thing!
We were sent the Garmin Vivofit 2 products for the purpose of review.