Birding with kids is a budget-friendly way to connect with nature and discover the wonders of the avian world without breaking the bank. A delightful aspect of birdwatching is that it requires minimal gear.
There’s no need for expensive equipment. You may be wondering if kids need binoculars for birding, or feel reluctant to invest in them straightaway when beginning the hobby.
The best birdwatching with kids embraces simplicity. Birding encourages families to focus on the joy of observing birds in their natural habitats rather than being bogged down by complex gear.
With this in mind, there are a few items that are likely to make your time bird watching with children more comfortable and enjoyable.
We cover exactly how to make a child-friendly birding kit. We list what equipment you need to bring on a family-friendly birding trip and why.
Why child-friendly birding kit matters
A child-friendly birding kit is an excellent way to engage young minds in the wonders of nature and wildlife. Going birding with some well-prepared equipment maximizes enjoyment of adventure and opens the door to more exciting times outdoors
By providing age-appropriate field guides, a nature journal, binoculars and other essentials, parents and educators can create memorable birdwatching experiences that foster curiosity, creativity, and a lasting appreciation for the natural world.
Let’s get started with the most practical consideration on how to make sure everyone stays comfortable for the duration of your adventure.
Birding kit for kids: what to take
Wear appropriate footwear for the terrain you’ll be exploring. Sturdy hiking boots or shoes with good traction are essential, especially if you’ll be walking on uneven or slippery surfaces.
Plenty of foods and snacks
Bring along water and snacks to keep the kids hydrated and energized during the outing. Including a variety of healthy snacks in the birding kit helps keep kids’ energy levels high.
Nutritious options include fresh fruits, trail mix, granola bars, and cut vegetables to keep hunger at bay.
Remember your water bottles
Adequate hydration helps maintain concentration and physical well-being, making the experience more comfortable and enjoyable for young adventurers. Dehydration can occur even on cooler days, so ensure everyone stays well-hydrated.
Ensure the water bottles are easily accessible, allowing kids to take sips whenever needed, even while on the move. By choosing reusable bottles, children connect with the concept of environmental stewardship and learn to protect the planet by minimizing plastic waste.
Check the weather forecast. This will help to decide how to dress everyone in comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing.
Starting out, buying lots of special kit is not at all necessary. Layering is useful as it allows adjustment for changing temperatures.
Feel free to refer to this article for advice on what to wear for birding and how best to prepare for different conditions or even diverse terrains.
Include some head gear
Don’t forget to wear hats and apply sunblock for sun protection. Wide-brimmed hats will provide ample shade for everyone’s faces and necks.
Hats also protect their eyes from glare and harmful UV rays. Sunglasses with UV protection shield their eyes further. While reducing the risk of eye strain, sunglasses help to make birdwatching a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Depending on the location, you may benefit from protecting everyone from insects by using insect repellent. With non-toxic, DEET-free insect repellents specifically formulated for children, they can focus on observing birds rather than swatting away pesky insects.
Good opportunity for Responsibility and Self-Care
Instilling a sense of responsibility and self-care in young birdwatchers is crucial. Encourage kids to take ownership of their sun protection and insect repellent routines.
Involve them in applying sunscreen and insect repellent, making it a fun and interactive experience. By taking charge of their own well-being, kids become proactive participants in their outdoor adventures.
Carry a Basic First-Aid Kit
Pack a basic first-aid kit that includes adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications.
Minor injuries like cuts or insect bites can happen during outdoor activities, so having a first-aid kit on hand can be valuable.
Backpack for a Comfortable and Organized Birding trip
A child-sized backpack or birding bag is an essential component of the kit to hold their treasures and discoveries. Multiple pockets or compartments in the backpack allow for easy organization of items, making it effortless for kids to access what they need quickly.
Ensure the backpack is lightweight, designed with young birdwatchers in mind. Heavy or bulky backpacks may overwhelm kids during their adventures.
Materials that are durable, yet lightweight, will avoid adding unnecessary weight to the backpack – which is sure to end up containing a few bits and pieces picked up along the way!
Look for backpacks with padded and adjustable shoulder straps, as these provide maximum comfort, especially during extended birdwatching outings. Adjustable straps ensure that the backpack fits snugly and evenly on a child’s back, preventing discomfort or strain.
Adding bird-themed patches or badges can make the backpack uniquely their own, infusing a sense of excitement and ownership.
Pen/pencil and Notebook
Provide kids with a notebook and pen to jot down the names of the birds they encounter.
This activity adds even more of a sense of adventure if you use it to get a target list ready before the trip. We add more ideas about this below.
Adding colours is part of the experience. Colored pencils are perfect in most situations. (And a sharpener!)
Consider what supplies suit your kids and the geographical location best. Some may have fun and create beautiful images with watercolor pencils or a portable watercolor set.
With a special bird field journal or sketchbook kids can document their birdwatching adventure creatively. As well as drawing the birds they see, they can note their observations, or write about the experience.
This creates a personalized memento of the adventure. Plus, having bird names written down, or drawn, then allows for further research and learning about the species after the trip.
Bird Book or Field Guide
Bring an easy-to-read bird reference book or borrow one from the library. This will help identify and learn about the birds spotted during the hike.
Kid-focussed field guides with colorful illustrations of birds can capture their attention and keep them engaged during birdwatching outings. Simple and easy-to-understand descriptions of each bird species help kids identify and remember the features that distinguish one bird from another.
While at the library, it is worth checking for other books and resources related to birdwatching specific to your region. These materials often contain valuable tips and information about family-friendly birding spots.
Binoculars suitable for children
A pair of kid-friendly binoculars can make birdwatching more exciting for children. Most kids will love finding out how to use a new gadget.
Even if children don’t manage to spot many birds through the binoculars, the experience will still be enjoyable. Having the equipment is part of the fun of getting into the role of being a birdwatcher.
Trying on a new identity can really spark young imaginations. So in many instances, binoculars are a great addition to kids’ first birding adventures. Be sure to seek advice on what to consider when buying binoculars for children.
Camera or Smartphone
Capture the memorable birdwatching moments with a camera or smartphone. Photographs can serve as lasting souvenirs and aid in identification or documentation of rare sightings.
Providing kids with a camera or allowing them to use a smartphone (under supervision) enables them to take pictures of the birds they spot.
This will encourage them to pay attention to details and create lasting memories. For some children, beginning to take photos of birds may even plant the seeds of a lifelong hobby.
Making a list of birding kit for kids – What to remember
A child-friendly birding kit is the perfect way to introduce young adventurers to the marvels of birdwatching and the natural world. By providing the right tools and resources, we open the door to a world of discovery.
Equipped with age-appropriate field guides, a nature journal, binoculars, and other essentials, children can embark on exciting and educational birdwatching experiences that ignite their curiosity and foster a deep appreciation for wildlife and ecology.
As we pack suitable footwear, healthy snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a basic first-aid kit, we ensure the comfort and safety of our young adventurers during their outdoor expeditions.
A child-sized backpack or birding bag becomes their trusty companion, holding their treasures and discoveries. Bird-themed t-shirts, patches or badges add a touch of personal flair to their gear.
While binoculars can add excitement and magnify the wonders of the avian world, young birdwatchers can find joy and fulfillment in observing birds with their eyes and ears alone.
The magic of birdwatching lies not only in identifying species but also in appreciating the intricate beauty of birds and their natural habitats.
Birdwatching with kids promises to be a rewarding and unforgettable experience for the whole family. To make sure you all have the best time possible on your birding outing, feel free to consult our article on how to plan and prepare for a family bird watching trip.
- 1 Why child-friendly birding kit matters
- 2 Birding kit for kids: what to take
- 2.1 Suitable Footwear
- 2.2 Plenty of foods and snacks
- 2.3 Remember your water bottles
- 2.4 Dress Appropriately
- 2.5 Include some head gear
- 2.6 Carry a Basic First-Aid Kit
- 2.7 Backpack for a Comfortable and Organized Birding trip
- 2.8 Pen/pencil and Notebook
- 2.9 Bird Book or Field Guide
- 2.10 Binoculars suitable for children
- 2.11 Camera or Smartphone
- 3 Making a list of birding kit for kids – What to remember