Until now, “wearable tech” and wearables has referred mostly to wrist-borne activity trackers like the Nike Fuelband, which you get as a holiday gift, wear for a month as a New Year’s resolution, and then put in a drawer and hope no one notices. The somewhat repetitive data they generate – biometrics on your activity and sleep quality – are much more interesting when applied to your kids because … everything is more interesting when applied to your kids. As for what’s interesting when used by your children … toys and tracking devices for kids should fit that bill nicely, and there are more than a few that interact with kids by strapping smartwatches to them. If turning a kid into a tiny data acquisition device offends your analog sensibilities, you can still go old school. Just know the kid leash has officially gone digital, with these monitors, GPS bracelets, trackers, and toys that upload your children to the cloud while keeping them tethered to your phone.
Best Kids Monitors
While your baby sleeps, an ankle bracelet sensor tracks heart rate, skin temperature, movement, and body position, and the wireless base station notes environmental factors like light, sound, moisture, and room temperature. They robo-chat about the data, then recommend when to put your kid down, the ideal nursery conditions, and more. If you believe the video, it even restores your social life and sex life! Who says tech is ruining relationships?
Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor
Owlet is a home version of a commonly used hospital device that monitors oxygen levels while babies sleep, but in adorable sock form. It also tracks heart rate, skin temperature, and rollovers, then pipes all that data directly to your phone. No service? The base station bleeps and bloops if something’s up. Most importantly, your kid can taunt all the other babies in the nursery wearing “dumb socks.”
Mimo monitors breathing, skin temperature, movement, and sleep quality, lets you track patterns over time, and even functions as an audio monitor thanks to microphones on the “turtle” sensor. It’s quite possibly the world’s first smart onesie, although they continue to insist on calling it a “kimono.” To be fair, that does make your baby sound a lot more like a ninja.
Best Kids Trackers
HereO claims to be the first GPS and cellular kids tracker designed to be worn comfortably by children as young as 3. It can be programed with geo-fenced safe zones that alert you if your kid leaves them, as well as a customized gesture that your kid can use to automatically notify you if, say, Bobby stole their ice cream again. Hey, if the invisible fence worked for the dog, might as well give it a shot on the kid.
In addition to tracking your kid via GPS (and being a huge fan of capital letters), PAXIE, by SAFE Family, monitors their activity levels and the ambient temperature around them. So even if your lose track of your little Tasmanian devil on the playground, you can still make sure they’re in no danger of passing out … while you find a bench and make sure you don’t pass out. Also, fun interchangeable bands! Because your child deserves to wear you out in style.
A super-simple phone and kids GPS tracker disguised as a tracking bracelet, Tinitell records a toddler’s voice speaking certain names, and can then call that person’s phone when asked. It also allows you to call your kid, so you’ll never have to scream his name to the entire neighborhood again.
Best Kids Toys
Linkitz are kids friendship bracelets for the digital age, specifically designed to encourage girls to create. The interchangeable links snap together and trigger or react to certain conditions — light, sound, movement, or the nearby presence of Linkitz-clad friends. Since every toy in your house purportedly teaches your children to code, at this point they might as well just wear their STEM education literally on their sleeves.
With Herokins, you turn everyday tasks into epic Choose Your Own Adventures by sending messages and directions from an app to one of two cute characters on your kid’s wrist; they then must complete the task. They learn problem-solving, trial and error, and how to achieve their goals even after making a mistake, and you get to catch a quick nap while they go on the room cleaning adventure of a lifetime.
Designed to battle childhood obesity, LeapBand functions like a standard kids activity tracker, but rather than logging data for later review, it provides instant audio and visual feedback. This encourages kids to perform activities and rewards them with points when they do. The fact that it looks like “My First Smartwatch” is either endearing or annoying, depending on your own level of geek chic.