Getting your children exploring the universe is as simple as bringing them a pair of the best binoculars for kids and setting thing loose in the backyard.
Binoculars are the perfect piece of kit to get a kid interested in astronomy. The right binoculars are lightweight, allowing even small ones to lift them to their eyes with no fatigue. They are relatively inexpensive, which is wonderful for the pocketbook, and will likely bring hours of entertainment.
Don't fear about the breakable and cheap binoculars of the past 15 or 20 years, as today's generation of binoculars can stand up to moderate punishment while still providing excellent quality. Kids can get a glimpse of the craters of the moon, far-off wildlife and other distant objects with the right binocular set.
While all of the choices below are excellent binocular candidates, here's a few things to keep in mind to make the right move for your kids. Magnification doesn't always have to be intense, as the youngest children will likely prefer 4x magnification until they can hold things steady. Older kids likely will want more power, though, so investing in 8x or even 10x magnification will be worth it.
Other things to consider include adjustable eyepieces for a range of eyesight capabilities, rubberized construction to provide a grip and provide shock resistance, and making sure the binoculars are lightweight and small for tiny hands. A wide field of view is also helpful for children still getting comfortable with the tech.
Be sure to also check out our guide to the best binoculars for older kids and adults, or our best binoculars for stargazing if you're looking for an astro-specific pair of binos. Also, for kids who have a particular science interest, see our best science kits for kids.
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Think your child's outdoor hobbies might turn into a career? The Celestron 71330 Nature DX 8x32 Binoculars are a great premium choice for older kids with steadier hands; they'll definitely appreciate the enhanced optics of a quality pair. If you’ve got a semi-seasoned bird-watching enthusiast in your family already, these binoculars pack impressive specs for the price.
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.
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Are you raising a future survivalist? Then an ordinary set of binoculars just won't do. For the aspiring Bear Grylls in your life, gift them with the Explorer Kit for Kids — 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. (The included 5-in-1 multitool 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. (Trust us.) Turn hours of playtime into days of adventuring with the Explorer Kit for Kids.
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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.
Some binoculars are kid-friendly, but as Educational Insights implies with its branding, the GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars Extreme were actually made for kids. 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 2 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. (They'll be smarter than you in the blink of an eye.)
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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.
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For a little extra magnification than you'll find in many kid-friendly binoculars, the BESPIN Binoculars for Kids are a solid choice for most youngsters. The grip is ergonomically designed for smaller hands, and the sturdy aluminum construction should last a while; it's easy to focus on distant objects by turning the central adjustment wheel. (A nylon case and neck strap are also included.)
At an entry-level price, these 8x21 binoculars still use premium blue-coated optics for crisp, colorful imagery; a shock-resistant rubber casing for extra durability; and a wider 7.2-degree viewing angle for aspiring bird-watchers. (Or squirrel-watchers. Any animal watching, really.)
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Your kid will feel all grown up with the POLDR 8x21 Small Compact Lightweight Binoculars, a pair of portable specs that unfold from just 2.4 inches wide up to 4.1 inches when in use. (That’s perfect for their next zoo trip, or any other outdoor hike, for that matter.) With 8X magnification and an objective lens diameter of 21 millimeters, they'll get a large field of view for spotting all sorts of flora and fauna.
Unlike some competing models, which suffer from blurrier imaging and dull colors, these binoculars utilize a BAK4 prism for additional light reflection. Combined with the center focusing wheel and diopter adjustment, the end result is better-than-average imaging the whole family can enjoy.
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Looking for a pair of powerful binoculars that you can share with your kid? The Occer 12x25 Compact Binoculars with Low Light Night Vision are 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 the 15mm eyepiece is easy to adjust. The FMC multilayer broadband film and BAK4 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.
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The TASCO Essentials Roof Prism Roof MC Box Binoculars aren't pulling any punches. These 10X specs utilize a dual-hinge bridge design to keep the whole package pocket-friendly (4.4 x 4 x 1.9 inches), and wide viewing angles to keep your eyes on the treeline.
These binoculars weren't designed for kids per se, but at this price, the stakes are pretty low whenever you toss them into a backpack, and the black rubber armor is meant to take some abuse. They're one of the best budget-priced binoculars you'll find on the market today, and they're a great pick for grade-schoolers.
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.