The Binocular Site
Kids Just Want To Have Fun... With BinocularsKids binoculars offer perhaps the brightest and most exciting armors out there. There are a wide range of binoculars available that will suit small faces, and can be selected to best suit younger children as well as serious, older adventurers. Naturally durability and tough construction are key, as these need to stand up to being put in the toy box or worn around the neck during hopscotch. Whether you have a kindergarten naturalist or a budding preadolescent scientist, binoculars can be a wonderful gift.
For the youngest users, there are often discovery sets that include several tools in one, and these can include a very simple set of binoculars. For example, the GeoSafari Field Explorer Kit includes a pocket-sized Swiss army like tool with tweezers and other gadgets for catching, studying, and releasing insects. A magnifying “bug viewer” works like a simple microscope, and binoculars with a foam coating and at 4x magnification are included as well. Naturally these won't be high quality, however their low magnification makes it easy for little hands to view images and keep them within a field of view even when they aren't completely steady.
GeoVision offers a Precision Optics Eye Spy Scope Set, again appealing to the youngest spy sleuths and birdwatchers. In this pack you'll find a monocular at 5x magnification, binoculars at 6x, and a pocket scope as well. Almost makes me wish I was a kid again. While these won't appeal to adult adventurers, kids aged 5 and up would love to find one under the Christmas tree. Their Prismatic Binoculars also can come separately, and have a 20mm lens with central focusing and a protective pouch. While they remain quite cheap, their light-weight and kid-friendly size makes them a good choice for very small children.
For Older Children, Try Compact Binoculars
Once you've moved closer to to tweens, there are slightly more advanced options that are inexpensive. Here the quality can improve significantly, and armors can become more substantial, as such children are ready to handle heavier sets more carefully. Many binoculars are branded with sports teams or bright colors and can be fun to collect as well as use. For example, Eagle Optics offers their Energy line, which is lightweight and compact at 8x21 and available in five different colors.
Compact binoculars are great for kids who can be trusted not to toss them in a toybox or throw them on a floor. By choosing one of these, you can get significantly improved quality without layout down a fortune. Many fold down as well, and can be kept in a jacket pocket or suspended comfortably from the neck using a strap you have adjusted carefully to fit your child properly. Many binocular manufacturers offer compact models, and magnifications of 8x up to 12x are quite reasonable, while objective lenses at about 25mm are good for most uses while remaining light enough for kids. For example, Bushnell carries many compact options, such as their Powerviews. They're good quality, with center focus and roof prisms, and they're fully coated. At about $17.00 for the 10x25 pair, they're an excellent first option for kids, and you can always trust Bushnell for good quality. For a slightly higher magnification take a look at the 12x25 compacts, which still only cost about $38. If your older child really enjoys birding or astronomy and upgrades binoculars later, you can continue using the Powerviews as a secondary set to keep in your glove compartment or coat. Either way, Bushnell is well-known for exceptional binoculars, and their compacts are no different.
Young Adults Can Use Full-sized Binoculars Too
When young adults use binoculars, naturally they have proven an interest in birdwatching, astronomy, or other activities, that can warrant a bigger investment for parents. Here you can consider higher quality, more expensive components, knowing your teenager can be trusted to use them responsibly and carefully. That said, you may still wish to look for all-around models and magnifications that aren't too high – 8x to 12x are quite usable for hiking, camping, exploring, and investigating.
If your youngster specifically wants binoculars for stargazing, birdwatching, hunting, or fishing, you can use the same guidelines you would use to buy yourself a set. Objective lens sizes, magnifications, and other features can match your young adult's needs, although you may wish to consider a set at the low end of the price point scale. Alternatively you could chip in and help your teen invest in proper equipment such as telescope binoculars, knowing that this is an investment in your child's imagination above all.