Any serious outdoor lover with kids knows that it’s important to get kids the right gear, so that the entire family can enjoy an outdoor activity together. In the case of bird watching or activities such as camping or hiking, buying the younger participants a great pair of binoculars can go a long way in keeping the peace (and keeping your binoculars to yourself!). It can be a challenge to find quality binoculars for kids at a price that is reasonable considering the inevitably shorter lifespan compared to adult binoculars.
What to Look for in Kids Binoculars
A magnification factor of 6x to 10x is ideal for children to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities. The binoculars should be lightweight yet easy to hold, stabilise and focus. Durability is also important in kid’s binoculars, so look for rubber coating that will help them withstand bumps and drops. Many binoculars offer waterproof factors, which is a handy feature for kids. Proper eye fit and ergonomic comfort are going to make a big difference in how well your child will be able to use his or her binoculars. Therefore it is better to avoid both toy and full-sized adult binoculars and choose a model that is right for children.
Price vs. Quality
Although the adult compact binoculars will offer excellent features and optical quality, your kid will probably be just as happy with a pair of kid-sized binoculars. These will be less expensive. The challenge with buying binoculars made for kids is avoiding the “binoculars” that are just toys and do not provide much optical magnification. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of unknown brands making “children binoculars.” These are normally of very low quality and do not magnify the amount they claim to. The result is simply a product that is no more than a functionless toy. Another thing to be aware of is that children should not use high magnification optics. So anything over 10x zoom is not recommended for children. Children will also find it extremely difficult to achieve a stabilised image using high power binoculars.
Children Binoculars Fit and Weight
Another challenge with finding quality binoculars for children is finding the correct fit for their smaller eye spacing. For an older kid, you might want to look at some of the compact adult binoculars available. Some examples would be the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD, which run around £120. These are excellent quality binoculars from a trusted brand, compact and fully waterproof. These binoculars would be a great option for a 7 to 16 years old child that is serious about being involved in outdoor activities.
If you’re looking for something of quality in a lower price range, the Discovery 8×21 Pocket is a good option. They feature a wide range of lens spacing capability and sell for a very affordable price (£69). This model still comes from a well-respected manufacturer and offers a durable, lightweight and compact design. These are excellent quality compact binoculars which will suit both children (4 to 12 years old) as well as adults.
National Geographic also released a Junior model which is the National Geographic 6×21 Junior binocular. These were specifically designed for younger children (ages 3 to 8). The NG 6×21 being more colourful binoculars might look more like a toy – but the fact is that they are actually just as good as any compact adult binoculars!