Best binoculars for kids 2024: beginner binoculars and toys

The best binoculars for kids aren't just novelty toys that will break after a few uses — they provide good views of distant subjects while still being of good quality and build. They should be both compact and lightweight, making them easy for kids to hold while observing, but also resilient and durable. Inevitably, these instruments will get dropped, bumped and knocked frequently as the kids learn and grow, so the binoculars need to be able to take a bit of a beating.

While most binoculars aren't too difficult to operate, the best kids binoculars will be about as simple as you can get, with free-moving parts for focusing and easy adjustment to account for smaller eyes and faces.

There are models on the market (and in this guide) that are suitable for the whole family and make ideal generalist observational tools, so they're even more cost-effective.

If you're after a pair of binoculars with excellent low light performance, check out our best binoculars for stargazing, or, for something more general-purpose or better suited to older teens and adults, take a look at our best binoculars guide.

The quick list

Best binoculars for kids we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Live Science Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best ones for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best overall

Close up photo of the Olympus 8x25 WP II binoculars in the hands of the author

The Olympus 8x25 WP II is compact and robust, perfect for kids of all ages. (Image credit: Future)
The best binoculars for kids overall

Specifications

Age range: 8+
Magnification: 8X
Objective Lens Diameter: 25 millimeters
Field of View at 1000m: 108 meters
Color Choices: 1
Size: 4.49 x 4.53 x 1.77 inches / 115 x 114 x 45 mm
Weight: 0.63 lbs / 285g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact build is ideal for kids
+
Robust
+
Great viewing quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Small objective lens limits use in low light
-
End caps can get lost easily

The Olympus 8x25 WP II binoculars are an ultra-portable model from a well-respected optics and camera manufacturer known for its high-quality, excellent-value instruments.

At just 0.63 lbs (285g) in weight and measuring just 4.49 x 4.53 x 1.77 inches these kids binoculars can be thrown in a travel bag or a jacket pocket and will be able to keep up with the little ones wherever they are thanks to their water, fog and dirt-proof design.

These compact binos will fit comfortably in the palm of an adult hand in its entirety while weighing no more than a small plastic water bottle a child might have in their lunchbox. We were impressed with the image quality here too, which was better than we expected given the diminutive size. That’s no doubt down to the manufacturer choosing class-leading BaK-4 porro prisms in the construction as well as featuring fully multi-coated lenses to improve light transmission. 

Easy to use, fuss-free, very portable and very reasonably priced, there’s not much as regards the Olympus 8x25 WP II that either we or our youngest would take issue with.


Best for nature observing

Better for wider views  (Image credit: Celestron)

2. Celestron Nature DX 8x32 binoculars

The best nature binoculars for kids

Specifications

Age range: 10+
Magnification: 8X to 12X
Objective Lens Diameter: 32 to 56 millimeters
Field of View: 1,273 feet (88 meters) / 3,280 feet (1,000 meters)
Color Choices: 1
Size: 5 x 4.9 x 1.8 inches
Weight: 1.3 lbs / 589 g

Reasons to buy

+
Carrying bag included
+
Waterproof and fogproof
+
Wide field of view

Reasons to avoid

-
Not ideal for very small children

If you're looking to invest in a top-notch pair of kids binoculars that will last them for the long haul then the Celestron Nature DX 8x32 might be just what you're after. An excellent premium choice for older kids with steadier hands these binoculars are better suited to those who are happy with a wider field of view (the amount you can see through the binos), especially if you already have a semi-seasoned bird-watcher in the family.

Waterproof and encased in a rubberized armor these are also suitable for eyeglasses wearers thanks to the 17.5mm of eye relief which is more than enough to use whilst keeping spectacles on.

The multi-coated 8x32 lenses ensure bright imagery, but if you want more power, you can upgrade all the way to a 12x56 model. You get the perfect combination of magnification, field of view and close focus distance for most nature scenes. They're even eyeglass-friendly, for those of us who are already bespectacled, and come with a nifty built-in tripod mount for long periods of steady observations. 

Bonus: For a few extra bucks, you can splurge for the extra smartphone adapter, which lets you take pictures through the binoculars' viewfinder.


Best optical quality

Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42 binoculars on a white table with lens caps laid out

If you're willing to spend the money, these binoculars are fantastic optically and will last a lifetime. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
The best premium binoculars for kids

Specifications

Age range: 10+
Magnification: 8X
Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
Field of View at 1000m: 126 meters
Color Choices: 2
Size: 5.98 x 5.12 x 2.13 inches / 152 x 130 x 54mm
Weight: 1.27 lbs. / 575g

Reasons to buy

+
Slimline design should suit smaller hands 
+
Optical quality better than expected at this price point
+
High-end feel despite reasonable price tag

Reasons to avoid

-
Lens cap and neck strap lack the quality of the rest

The Nikon Prostaff P3 8x42 binoculars have some premium features for their price point and while they're at the slightly more expensive end for kids binoculars they offer fantastic value if you're sharing them amongst the family.

Nikon has been producing high-end optics for over 100 years and the Prostaff P3 line is no different. We recommend the 8x42 model due to the wide field of view which makes it easier for kids to observe subjects.

The rubberized body will afford enough of a grip for smaller hands that they’ll be able to enjoy a judder-free view with it. We found the operation of the focus wheel to be slow and steady, which means greater precision when zeroing focus in on subjects.

In our review we noted that the lens caps and eyepiece covers didn't quite sit as snugly as we'd have hoped (they fell off a fair amount during testing) and the neckstrap was a bit thin. However, waterproof and fogproofing plus their sharp optical performance and minimal color fringing more than made up for it.


Best value larger binos

Svbony SV47 10x42 binoculars on a white table with a red light behind

The SVBony 10x42 binoculars are best for those on strict budgets. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
The best binoculars for older kids and teens

Specifications

Age range: 10+
Magnification: 10X
Objective Lens Diameter: 42 millimeters
Field of View at 1000m: 126 meters
Color Choices: 2
Size: 5.98 x 5.12 x 2.13 inches / 152 x 130 x 54mm
Weight: 1.27 lbs. / 575g

Reasons to buy

+
High magnification and large objective lens
+
Top tier BaK-4 glass prisms 

Reasons to avoid

-
Chromatic aberration between areas of high contrast
-
Focus falls off towards the edges 

Good optical performance for a fair price – that’s the crux of these budget binoculars. 10x magnification coupled with a 42mm objective lens, meaning a marginally weightier build overall, does however suggest to us these would be more of a match with older children rather than the under tens. 

However, they're among the lowest-priced binoculars in this 10x42 class and you can often find them much cheaper during peak trading events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday or Cyber Monday. 

Youngsters are here provided with enough magnifying power to be able to observe birds and wildlife at a sufficient distance so as to not scare off such skittish creatures. Raised nodules on the flanks of this binocular aid grip for handheld observation, even if the overall feel is quite smooth.

Overall image quality is a little softer than we’d have expected given the objective lens size, especially when light levels fall, and focus doesn’t completely maintain its sharpness into the corners of the frame. Still, for the price being asked this is a more than acceptable starter model that should maintain the interest of older children and won’t weigh heavy on their parents’ wallets if it doesn’t. 


Best for size

These cute, minute binoculars may look like a toy but they offer great porro prism views in an attractive and tiny package. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
The smallest and most affordable binoculars for kids

Specifications

Age range: 6+
Magnification: 12X
Objective Lens Diameter: 25 millimeters
Field of View: 896 feet (273 meters) / 3,280 feet (1,000 meters)
Color Choices: 1
Size: 4.4 x 4 x 1.9 inches
Weight: 7.2 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Great for low-light environments
+
Wide field of view
+
Water-resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than other children's binoculars
-
Not fully waterproof

Looking for a pair of powerful binoculars that you can share with your kid? The Occer 12x25 Compact Binoculars with Low Light Night Vision is an impressive piece of hardware for the price, boasting 12X magnification (the highest offered on this list) in an ultra-compact package.

The plastic and rubber construction is (mostly) waterproof and even comes in different colors, though which color you'll get depends on the seller as some do not specify color when ordering.

The 15mm eyepiece flips back for eyeglasses wearers and works fine but isn't as good as others on this list which rotate and clunk satisfyingly into place. 

The FMC multilayer broadband film and BaK-4 prisms are designed for exceptional low-light performance, which is great for watching sunsets or sunrises if your youngster is an early bird. In short, these deceivingly powerful binoculars are the perfect pocket companion for outdoor excursions, no matter the time of day.

Best binoculars for young kids (Ages 3 - 8)

Best for young kids overall

These binoculars come with a compass carabiner and a magnifying glass for inspecting subjects of all sizes. (Image credit: Promora)

1. Promora Binoculars for Kids

The best binoculars for young kids

Specifications

Age range: 3+
Magnification: 8X
Objective Lens Diameter: 21 millimeters
Field of View: 400 feet (122 meters) / 3,280 feet (1,000 meters)
Color Choices: 3
Size: 4.8 x 4.1 x 2.1 inches
Weight: 7.2 oz / 204 g

Reasons to buy

+
Soft eyecups are great for young explorers
+
Three different color choices
+
Kit includes compass and magnifying glass

Reasons to avoid

-
Subpar durability, according to some reviews

For the naturally curious kid in your household, Promora's Binoculars for Kids come with a complete explorer's kit (in miniature, that is). In addition to the preschool-friendly 8X binoculars, your little one also gets a magnifying glass, compass (with clippable carabiner) and a handy carrying bag for their next woodland adventure. 

From hiking and camping to beginner birdwatching, your kid will feel like a bonafide outdoorsman with the adjustable central axis and central focusing wheel. (Pre-school-friendly models don’t always include this kind of customization.) The comfortable rubber eyepieces include a diopter knob as well, to ensure high-res close-ups for all. 

Some reviewers reported not-so-kid-resistant build materials, but you're still sure to get your money's worth from this nifty, all-inclusive set.


Best entry-level for young kids

These binoculars are shockproof and come with a range of other tools to help young adventurers get started. (Image credit: Mini Explorer)

3. Explorer Kit for Kids by Mini Explorer

Best entry-level binoculars for young kids.

Specifications

Age range: 4+
Magnification: 4X
Objective Lens Diameter: 30 millimeters
Field of View: N/A
Color Choices: 1
Size: 7.5 x 5.2 x 3 inches
Weight: 13.8 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Diverse set of educational tools
+
Binoculars are shockproof
+
Includes carrying case

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited to 4X magnification, so won't satisfy older kids

Are you raising a future survivalist? Then an ordinary set of binoculars just won't do. For the aspiring Ray Mears in your life, gift them with the Explorer Kit for Kids. In the box you'll get an awesome 9-in-1 outdoorsman set that includes not only 4x30 binoculars but also a magnifying glass, crank flashlight and handheld fan, all tucked inside a carrying case that looks like a vintage lunchbox. 

Also shipping with the binoculars is a 5-in-1 multitool that houses a built-in compass, thermometer, whistle, instant flashlight and mini-magnifying glass.

When it comes to sunshine-soaked excursions with your kid, every walk in the woods is a potential learning experience — when you have the right educational tools on hand, that is. And if birdwatching is only a bullet point on your child's list of outdoor interests, binoculars are just the beginning. Turn hours of playtime into days of adventuring with the Explorer Kit for Kids.


Best value for young kids

Lots of color options on these binoculars make them suitable for all kids who love to pick their favorite. (Image credit: Obuby)

4. Obuby Kids Binoculars

Best value binoculars for young kids.

Specifications

Age range: 3+
Magnification: 8X
Objective Lens Diameter: 21 millimeters
Field of View: 400 feet (122 meters) / 3,280 feet (1,000 meters)
Color Choices: 13
Size: 4 x 3.5 x 1.1 inches
Weight: 5.9 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Durable, expandable construction
+
Shockproof, waterproof
+
Tons of color options

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor-quality neck strap, according to some reviews

If you're on the lookout for a pair of shockproof, waterproof binoculars that are available in (just about) every color under the sun, look no further than the Obuby Kids Binoculars. Recommended for ages 3 and up, these are more professional-looking than the average kiddy binoculars in this tech category.

Available in 13 different colors, there's a lot to like about the 5.9-ounce Obuby Kids Binoculars. The wide-angle 8X magnification is excellent for woodland hikes, seaside boat trips and live sporting events, to name a few uses. The compact-yet-expandable design, diopter adjustment — which lets you adjust for differences between vision in each eye — and myriad color choices make these binoculars as useful as they are … well, eye-catching. 


Best for STEM learning

Educational Insights binoculars for kids on a stony backdrop.

These binoculars are designed to be STEM-friendly to help kids learn as they grow. (Image credit: Educational Insights)

5. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars Extreme

Best cheap binoculars for young kids.

Specifications

Age range: 5+
Magnification: 3X
Objective Lens Diameter: N/A
Field of View: N/A
Color Choices: 1
Size: 11.6 x 9.8 x 3.1 inches
Weight: 15.8 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Designed for younger children
+
STEM-friendly toy

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 3X magnification

Some binoculars are kid-friendly, but as Educational Insights implies with its branding, the GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars Extreme was actually made for kids with Science Technology Engineering and Math learning in mind.

Featuring a modest 3X magnification, these focus-free binoculars feature a perfect-fit eyepiece that's universally comfortable for any child's face. (Sorry, wide-eyed adults, you'll have to get your own.) There's also a breakaway neck strap for on-the-go multitasking. And with the built-in speakers (which hover over the ears sort of like sunglasses), kids get to experience the many sounds of nature from the safety of your backyard. This feature — which the company calls 'headset-free audio amplification' — requires 2x AAA batteries.

For parents interested in STEM-friendly education, this pair of binoculars is more than just a colorful toy; it's also an introduction to a scientific tool that can help your toddler explore the sights and sounds of their environment. Keep your kids curious with the GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars Extreme.

How to choose the best binoculars for kids

The best binoculars for kids aren't just toys — they're also potential tools for your child's personal growth. Here are a few factors to consider before introducing your children to the wonderful world of wilderness watching.

Budget

Most kid-centric binoculars have a price point of $30 or less, but if your offspring are old enough for the investment, there are plenty of premium picks that cost $50 or more. Nowadays, you can get a decent pair of (expendable) binoculars for under $15; these models usually have lower magnifications, cheaper build quality and a smaller field of view.

Magnification

The more magnification, the better, right? Not so fast. For small, fidgety humans with shaky hands, overly powerful optics might actually be counterproductive. When it comes to young explorers, here's a rule of thumb: The younger the child, the lower the magnification. Magnifications between 2X and 8X are the most common recommendation for kids under the age of 10.

Size and shape

Some binoculars are specifically built for tiny fingers, while others can be used by explorers of all ages. For children under the age of 5, look for extra kid-friendly features, like rounded edges, rubberized (shockproof) construction, breakaway lanyards, padded eyepieces, lightweight construction and focus-free lens options. For older adventurers, look for pocket-friendly binoculars that feature more powerful optics in a more professional package.

Interpupillary distance (IPD)

One reason to spring for smaller binoculars has to do with interpupillary distance: the measurement between the center of your pupils. If the ocular lenses don't line up properly with the middle of your eyeballs, the end result is a dark halo around the image (and partially obscured scenery). Your youngster will get bored fast if they can't see anything through the eyepiece, so make sure the binoculars can be adjusted accordingly.

Field of view (FOV)

This refers to the width of the image you can see through a given binoculars' optics. The wider the FOV, the easier it will be for your kid to find what they're looking for when they raise the eyepiece to their face. This is of particular importance for grade-schoolers and pre-teens, who may be pickier than your typical toddler.

How we test the best binoculars for kids

Live Science tests a large range of products, from star projectors to high-tech fitness equipment. When reviewing a product, we put it through rigorous tests, which may include in-lab benchmarks, testing sessions in our test centers, and even real-world use.

We also look at how products perform in comparison to their manufacturer's claims and often seek input from experts where required. Factors like a product's ease of use, its ergonomic success, and its performance compared to its competitors are all evaluated. Price is also a big consideration, and a product's value for money affects the rating and evaluation we give it. 

Through this combination of testing, research, and expert consultation, Live Science offers its readers transparent and authoritative advice on all the products it reviews.

Binocular questions answered

What is the best binocular for kids overall?

We recommend the Olympus 8x25 WP II as the best binocular for kids overall because it has a compact, robust build but also offers great views through the 25mm objective lenses.

What is the best premium kids binocular?

The most expensive on this list is the Celestron Nature DX 8x32 binoculars which usually retail at around $125 at time of writing. We think they're ideal for nature viewing because they come with a carry bag, neckstrap and everything else you need to get started, but very small kids may struggle to hold them.

What type of kids binocular should I buy?

It depends on your budget and whether you need them to work for the whole family, or not. If the latter is true for you then we'd recommend any of our top five binoculars in this guide.

Gavin Stoker

Gavin has over 30 year experience of writing about photography and television. He is currently the editor of British Photographic Industry News, and previously served as editor of Which Digital Camera and deputy editor of Total Digital Photography. 

He has also written for a wide range of publications including T3, BBC Focus, Empire, NME, Radio Times, MacWorld, Computer Active, What Digital Camera and Rough Guide books.

He also writes on a number of specialist subjects including binoculars and monoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes, trail cameras, action cameras, body cameras, filters, cameras straps and more. 

With contributions from