Choosing Binoculars For Kids
For many outdoorsmen and women, fall is our favorite time of the year when the hunting season begins. Winter is nice too. So is spring. Shoot, summer is hard to beat when the fish start biting, antler growth begins, various birds migrate, sporting events galore - you get the gist. We also love to spend this time of year scouting for the following deer season. It’s very low-pressure scouting and a great time to introduce a youngin’ to the intricacies of a binocular.
For starters, be sure to choose a binocular that a kid has no trouble using or holding for prolonged periods. Next, you may consider that kids have relatively short attention spans and might quickly grow disinterested. Also, with their tendency toward carelessness that might cause things to break from time to time, do you buy cheap or go durable?
The Size is Right
Children have smaller faces than adults. In this case, a compact binocular may seem like the obvious choice. However, what about a binocular they can grow in to? Say one that easily adjusts to fit a narrow face or a wide one. This is also known as the interpupillary distance, an adjustment that can be made in a split second.
Strength in Numbers
This means the numbers associated with the binocular, obviously. Factoring in price, weight and perhaps most importantly, field of view, are all critical elements to making a binocular purchase. No need to purchase anything that a kid may not enjoy and toss aside after just a few uses. Yet at the same time, you get what you pay for. Quality optics will last you forever with proper care. Plus, if left out in the rain, not to worry. An o-ring sealed and argon gas purged optic can withstand most of what nature throws its way.
If they’re too heavy, well that’s no fun. A tired child is typically an unhappy one. Lastly, and again so very important, be sure to choose a bino with a wide field of view, meaning a lower magnification - an 8x rather than a 10x. Make sure the kid can see what they’re looking at quickly so as to not grow frustrated.
What’s Too Young?
Good question. We’ve noticed that it’s pretty easy to tell if a kid is going to pursue the life of an outdoorsman by the age of six. This kid has been following around his elders in the woods wielding a Red Ryder or hunting imaginary big game in the backyard with his Davy Crockett musket. Perhaps he or she has even harvested their first deer and squealed with delight at the feeling of blood getting smeared on their face, which is a long-standing hunting tradition.
Regardless of the outdoor intentions you have for your kid, be it hunting, birdwatching, cloud watching or just becoming an all-around naturalist, getting them started young if they have the desire can be a major attribute to a long and fulfilling life in the outside spaces of the world. And a lot of what they learn will be through the lenses of a binocular - like the details of a bird’s feathers or the way a whitetail deer twitches its tail just as it starts to relax. A close-up view is always a memorable one.