Bird Watching Binoculars for Kids

Kids watching birds with binoculars

A good pair of binoculars for kids will enhance their enjoyment of this great family hobby. Giving a pair of binoculars to a child is like opening a window into nature.

Bird watching is a great hobby for the entire family. But the binoculars that you use are probably not the best choice for your child. Birding is more enjoyable for everyone in your family if they each have their own pair of binoculars. Looking at a bird at the same time is more fun than passing around a single pair of binoculars.

You can find many nice models of binoculars for kids at very reasonable prices.


Similar to choosing binoculars for yourself, when choosing binoculars for kids you need to consider the following things:

Size:

  • Check to see if the binocular barrels folding close enough for your child's eyes.
  • Make sure the focus knob is in reach and easy to turn.
  • Ask your child if the binoculars fit comfortably in their hands.
  • The weight should be comfortable when hanging around your child's neck. If binoculars are too heavy, children will have trouble holding them steady.

Field of View: The challenge for a child, and many beginning bird watchers, is finding the wild birds they are looking for when looking through their binoculars.

  • Having a large field of view will make this easier. The field of view is the size of the area you see when looking through your binoculars.
  • It is usually described as the width in feet of the area seen at 1,000 yards from the observer. A good field of view is about 300 feet.

Magnification: A magnification power of 6X or less is recommended for children. Models with higher magnifications will be heavier and have a smaller field of view. Models with a power of 7X or higher may be harder to hold steady, producing a shaky image.


When choosing binoculars for kids you should consider their age and interest level.

Toddlers:

Introducing a young child to nature through bird watching is a lot of fun. A toddler will enjoy birding because they want to be like mom and dad. You should look for a pair of indestructible toy binoculars. At this age it is important that the binoculars stand up to the abuse that they are sure to receive. You should not be too concerned with optical quality for children this age. Always look for a breakaway strap to prevent accidental strangulation.

Grade Schoolers:

As children get older they want to see more detail through their binoculars. Since finding a bird when looking through their binoculars will still be a challenge, field of view is very important. A good choice of binoculars for kids this age is compact style binoculars. Compact binoculars will fold down close enough to fit your child's face and fit nicely into their small hands. It is also easier for kids to reach the focus wheel on smaller, compact binoculars.

Pre-teens and older children:

At this age you might want to consider purchasing a "real" pair of binoculars. Optical quality becomes more important since birders at this age are more interested in wild bird identification.

Everything that was important to you when you purchased your binoculars should be considered:

Practice spotting birds in your backyard before taking your new binoculars into the field. Your bird feeders are a great place to start.

Give bird watching a try, it is a fantastic hobby that the whole family will enjoy. Spending an afternoon birding will bring your family together while enjoying the fresh air, local scenery and most of all ... the beauty of nature!

More information on choosing binoculars for kids or yourself.


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