Imagine you are sitting in your backyard with your children and little chirps and cheeps fill the air. A beautiful robin sits near you, a bluejay flies by, or even a hawk makes a surprise appearance.
Wouldn’t it be nice to make bird watching more meaningful with your kids? Wouldn’t it also be lovely to snap a few photos to remember your birding experience?
As a former teacher, I know one of the best ways children learn is through experience. Therefore, when we homeschool on certain subject, we usually choose thematic units. In doing so, history, science, and more all become intermingled into a web of knowledge, deepening understanding for our kids. So when we started a bird unit, I decided it was absolutely necessary to help my children correctly see and identify birds.
While my oldest two were sure to find what we pointed out, I had a lot less assurance that my 3 year odl in particular would be able to spot what we wanted him to with his binoculars. In fact, they might not even be in focus for him.
And we would never know.
Supplies needed to go birdwatching as a family or with your class
A brief discussion about not spooking the birds away when you’re trying to watch and observe them is the first priority. Then gather a few times to make the most of your birdwatching trip. Links below are affiliate link – we earn from qualifying purchases and never recommend what we won’t use. For what it is worth, we also use this setup like a telescope to go stargazing and more.
If you already have a tripod, this is approximately $75-80. If you choose not to use a tripod, then for under $50, you can have a successful birdwatching excursion.
A tripod + tripod adaptor
Any will do, I personally have this one and it has a wide range of motion… But even those tiny ones for a desk can be helpful to hold up the setup. So use what you have if you already own a tripod! There are also multiple kind of adaptors. HOWEVER, if you plan on having more than one set of binoculars or in general are looking for stability since your will be using binoculars with children, I recommend this velcro strap tripod adaptor for binoculars.
This is both for photography and viewing. Any phone will do! You can even dedicate an old, unused phone so that you can still have use of an operational one while you’re birdwatching with the family.
We use this on binoculars, microscopes, and telescopes. It has a wide range of uses and SO worth it. The metal one is the way to go to help keep the phone steady.
Just like cameras and anything with a lens, the lens and not the mechanical body is what is most important. The only reason in my opinion to get kid binoculars is to have multiple sets with you. You can get a solid set of binoculars with a decent lens for under $45. I Bought these 12×42 binoculars that came with a case , they regularly have a coupon for 20-30% off.
Bluetooth camera button
This is completely necessary, but to not have to touch the phone means clearer, crisper pictures. The one we have comes with a lanyard, so I hang it on the tripod setup so it doesn’t get lost and you don’t have to pass it between birders.
A birding guide
Try to grab one for your region and area. We also use the Merlin App! What I love about the app is that it will identify the bird and it has what it sounds like as well so you have more information about the birds you’re viewing.
How to recap your birding experience
Of course while you’re out bird watching whether at a wildlife reserve or in your backyard, there will be excitement and conversation. But to make sure kids really learned and experienced birding more meaningfully, consider the following questions and ideas:
- What was your favorite bird you saw today?
- Is there anything that surprised you about how birds sounded, looked, or behaved?
- How did the birds look different with the naked eye from when you saw them with the binoculars?
- Play a bird game like Wingspan.
- Read several bird-themed books; you would be surprised how many facts about birds are still in fiction literature. I will link a list of books we read during our unit soon. We have at least 175 we have read so I will find our favorites!
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!