If you’re looking for a present for a child who’s interested in nature, then a pair of binoculars would make an awesome gift.
Buying for a young ‘un who’s just getting into astronomy? Well, binoculars also happen to make a good and relatively inexpensive alternative to telescopes for kids. Where it’ll cost upwards of $100 to buy a telescope, you can pick up a pair of kids binoculars, for a fraction of the price. Making them great way to test a child’s level of interest in star gazing, before spending a ton on fancy telescopic equipment.
The absolute best bit about opting for children’s binoculars is the potential to encourage and develop a lifelong hobby; an activity you can enjoy with your niece, nephew or godchild. Something that will get them off the couch and out the back door, exploring the greater world. The fact that it’ll boost their confidence in science class is an added bonus!
So now all you need to do, is choose the right pair to buy. Choosing the right pair of binoculars for children isn’t difficult so long as you know what you’re looking for. In this guide I’ve put together a few tips (as well as a few of my own recommendations) to help make binoculars shopping a bit easier.
How to Choose the Best Kids Binoculars
This is a biggie! Get the wrong type of binoculars and your child will very quickly lose interest in them. After all, if they can’t see anything through them or the focus is all over the place, it’s pretty understandable that they’ll get frustrated and eventually give up on them.
The first step in deciding on the best pair binoculars to buy for your child is to work out what they’ll be used for. Are you wanting to buy binoculars for astronomy or were you thinking more along the lines of bird watching, sporting events and hunting? For astronomy, you’ll want to go for a pair of binoculars that offer maximum light with average magnification.
These types of binoculars are generally more expensive and not typically classed as children’s binoculars, so I haven’t included them in this guide. If these types of binoculars are of interest, you can find a good selection of astronomy binoculars here.
Young bird watchers will need a pair with a wide field of view and large objective lenses, to take advantage of a good light source. The best model for sports fans will have smaller lenses combined with a lower level of magnification.
You’ll find the latter two types of binoculars in this guide.
Top Binoculars for Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers (36 mths+)
What Magnification Should You Get?
Here’s something you’ll be pleased about. Binoculars for children don’t need to be all singing all dancing. Meaning that you can find a quality pair for a reasonable price.
In fact it’s better to get binoculars that have an average magnification as opposed to something super-duper. Why? Because children are still in developmental mode and on the whole, have naturally better eyesight than adults. A pair of high magnification binoculars may actually obscure the child’s view rather than help it. So in terms of general use magnification, look for binoculars up to 7-8X.
As rough guideline, the higher the magnification, the greater the functionality and challenge of the binoculars – smaller children will be just fine with simple low magnification binoculars, while older kids will get more out of the higher specs.
Best Binoculars for Young Kids (4 years+)
When buying binoculars for kids, do take into account the age of the child and level of hand-eye coordination. A small child may struggle with focusing their binoculars and may be better suited to a pair of binoculars with auto focus or a simple manual focusing function, as offered by some of the lower magnification models. An older child may prefer greater control over focusing their own binoculars; helping them fine tune their technique for when they progress onto more complex models.
Great Binoculars for Older Children (8 years+)
Other Features You Should Consider When Buying Kids Binoculars
Look at how well kids binoculars are constructed. Are they made from toughened materials? Comfortable? Easy to use? You want something which is solid and durable, yet lightweight enough for the child to be able to comfortably use, potentially for long periods of time. If the binoculars are too heavy and cumbersome, smaller kids will find it difficult to hold them steady and subsequently will not have the best view of their target.
Make sure you get the very best binoculars you can afford. Go for a pair that look streamlined; something a child can hold with ease. Where ever possible and available, opt for a pair that are water resistant and shock proof too.
Another feature which will make handling kids binoculars easier is auto focus, or an easy to use focusing mechanism. This way the kids will spend less time trying to improve the sharpness of the view and more time on enjoying it.
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