Practising birdwatching with children can be a very healthy way of spending quality time with family outdoors.
Also, getting children interested in birdwatching is a great way of connecting them with nature, introducing them to wildlife and teaching them about the environment and the importance of nature conservation.
For that, it is important to teach children some safety and leave no trace rules and tips. It is vital that they understand the importance of keeping quiet and distance as well as be aware of possible hazards, but of course, leaving space for them to explore and learn by themselves.
A man showing to a child the birds on a bird guide.
Fortunately, birdwatching isn’t an expensive hobby and it is one that can be done anywhere, anytime by anyone. And, actually, one of the best places for kids to start birdwatching is in their backyard. There, you can teach them the names of the common bird visitors and spend some time together observing the birds’ behaviour.
Additionally, you can also encourage your children to help the birds by helping build nest boxes or bird feeders or by placing the food on their own on those feeders. For sure they will have lots of fun. And, most likely, so will you!
If you don’t have your own garden, you can always take the kids to a public garden or local park nearby. Whichever choice, there will always be some birds to enjoy some birdwatching with children.
Birding with children in a natural park.
If you feel like going deeper into this hobby with your children, or better said, if you see your children enjoying it as much, they will need the essential equipment to increase their knowledge and motivation. So, if you see your child/children fascinated with birdwatching, it should be the time for offering them a pair of binoculars and a bird guide.
There are several book options to give to children, including some specifically written for children. Yet, our advice is that you should go for options with colourful pictures and simple descriptions of the common birds they are actually able to see.
In addition, you can also encourage them to write their own descriptions, stories, notes or drawings from their observations in a Birdwatching Journal. It is a wonderful tool for stimulating their creativity and increasing their learning ability.
Father and son birdwatching in the woods.
Finally, the binoculars. Although it is something you can share with them, eventually they will want their own pair, which is perfectly normal and actually better for everyone as you will be able to see the birds at the same time and not constantly spend time adjusting the focus.
So, if that time comes, make sure you don’t buy toy binoculars, which are quite common to find among kids' binoculars options and pretty functionless. They won’t offer much magnification and are not really made out of good materials.
Either way, whatever binoculars you choose for your child/children, make sure they are designed for little hands and light enough for them to hold up to their eyes for extended periods. Ideally, they should also be waterproof and well protected, well, you know, kids proof.