Kids love to get their hands on the tech their parents have — tablets, smartphones, cameras, cars — so it’s only natural they’d want what every adult seems to be tinkering with these days: fitness trackers. And with the wearables market heating up, it makes sense that the toy industry is ready to ride the wristband wave too.
The LeapBand (manufactured by toy company LeapFrog) is a watered down version of what you might see in an adult fitness tracker — the Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike+ Fuelband (RIP) devices of the world. It monitors and rewards kids for the activities they do and has a Tamagotchi-like virtual pet baked in. The more a child moves, the more points they earn to unlock new games or win treats for their on-screen cat, dog, dragon, penguin, panda or unicorn.
The LeapBand ($39), which hits stores in August, is specifically designed for kids ages 4 to 7. It comes with a built-in accelerometer, a rechargeable battery and a high-resolution (128 x 128) screen, with backlighting. It will be available in three flavors (pink, blue and green) and is made of plastic.
LeapFrog is best known for its tablets for children (the LeapPad line), so it’s fitting that it’s among the first toy companies to enter the wearables space. Earlier this year, VTech announced the world’s first smartwatch for kids, the KidiZoom Smart Watch. Although it doesn’t connect to the Internet like its adult-counterpart smartwatches (so it’s not technically a “smartwatch”), the 1.4-inch touchscreen device allows young users to snap photos, take video and play games directly through the watch. The device will hit the market this fall.
The growth of toys like this comes at a time when wearables as a tech category is still in its infancy, but it’s believed that the rumored Apple iWatch will launch wearables into the mainstream.
The iWatch is projected to have a huge fitness component; not only will it have a heart-rate monitor and other ways to track your body in real time, it will likely come with Nike’s Fuelband software built into the device.
BONUS: The Reinvented Tamagotchi: Bright, Flashy and Just as Needy