Guide To Optics For Children: Scopes and Monoculars

Child in blue coat looking through a pair of binoculars

In a previous blog post, I wrote about the factors to consider when choosing which binoculars are best for children. These factors varied from the size and weight of the binoculars to the magnification power that they offer. However, this post focused solely on binoculars and did not address how suitable scopes and monoculars can be. Therefore, this will act as a guide on how to decide on the best scopes and monoculars for your children. These devices are perfect for children of all ages thanks to how accessible they are.

However, there are still a number of factors to consider when deciding which option is the best for your children. The points to consider before purchase are all fairly similar to deciding on binoculars. You will want to ensure that the size and weight is suitable for your child. In addition to this, understanding the magnification power that each scope and monocular offers is vital. For a full guide on this, check out our guide on which magnification power is best.

The scopes and monoculars that we offer arrive in a variety of different sizes and weights. These are likely suitable for children and teenagers of all ages. However, items such as the spotting scopes are much heavier and larger to hold. Though this guide aims to detail this as much as possible to ensure you make the right decision.

Read More: Top 10 Best Monoculars 

Size and Weight

Understanding the size and weight of both the spotting scopes and monoculars is essential. The monoculars offer a more compact design in comparison to binoculars. Therefore, these devices are smaller and weigh less when comparing this to binoculars. This presents a fantastic opportunity for children to begin participating in birdwatching and these certainly feel more accessible. However, there are distinct differences between spotting scopes and monoculars.

Monoculars provide the most lightweight and compact build design. The use of only one lens ensures that these feel almost weightless and are much easier to carry around. These are particularly good for younger children who are just starting out and need something simple to begin with. For example, the Viking Cygnus 8x42 Monocular only weighs in at 287 grams. This is a perfect weight for children and teenagers of all ages to easily pick up and enjoy.

In addition to this, the monoculars are small enough that they can be easily stored in your pocket. This ensures that they are easily portable which is especially important for long-term trips. This prevents children from gaining any strains which may be caused with long-term use of binoculars. Monoculars are the perfect alternative to binoculars; especially when children are first starting out. If you feel as though binoculars may be too heavy, then opting for a monocular is a fantastic alternative.


Viking Cygnus 8x42 Monocular

In comparison, spotting scopes provide a bulkier build design which contributes to them being far heavier than monoculars. The Viking Swallow Spotting Scope weighs in at 626 grams and offers a wider design. This makes items such as the spotting scopes more suitable for older children and teenagers. This is especially important with spotting scopes as they need to remain still to get the best results. However, it is worth noting that the Viking Swallow Scope offers a bundle which includes a tripod.

The size and weight will vary depending on the size of the objective lens that the monocular and scopes offer. With a larger objective lens diameter, the monocular or scope increases in size and weight. However, by increasing the objective lens size, the images viewable through the optics become brighter and more defined. The ideal objective lens size to aim for would be around 42mm for the best possible image quality. However, the monoculars and scopes available will all be suitable for children and teenagers.

Monoculars are a great choice for children due to their small size. This compact and lightweight design ensures that the monocular is small enough to fit into any pocket. Furthermore, this small size is perfect for children to hold and use without any difficulty. This compact size takes nothing away from the overall quality that the monoculars can offer.

The only downside to using a scope or monocular is the fact that only one lens is available. Where binoculars can utilise both lenses for a more complete image, the single scopes are more restricted. This also makes the binoculars a better option for tracking objects which is important for birdwatching. However, monoculars sacrifice this to offer a more convenient and lightweight design.


The next factor to consider when choosing the best optics for children is the magnification power. This essentially dictates how far the scopes are able to zoom and how the image will appear through the lenses. There are typically two magnification powers available for monoculars; 8x and 10x.

Both of these magnification powers are perfect for activities such as birdwatching. However, it is important to note the differences they offer and how this will impact how the scopes are used. Monoculars and spotting scopes that offer a 10x provide a more in-depth view of the image. However, this is harder to hold still and any movement will cause the image to shake and distort. Therefore, opting for the 8x magnification is the best recommendation for children. Scopes and monoculars with this magnification are far more forgiving. This is particularly helpful if this is for a first-time user trying to adjust to a scope or monocular.

In addition to this, opting for a smaller magnification power will provide the user with a wider field-of-view (FOV). This larger FOV allows for easier tracking of objects through the lens. This ensures that activities like birdwatching are much easier thanks to the increase in tracking; especially for first-time users. However, if you want to gain a more detailed image then certainly consider going for the 10x zoom.

Spotting scopes such as the Viking Swallow Spotting Scope adopt a different approach to magnification power.  This scope provides a flexible magnification power of between 12-36 which the user is able to adjust. For this reason, a spotting scope is more suitable for children and teenagers who have a bit more experience. Not only are the spotting scopes much heavier, but they can be harder to initially control at first.


Choosing the right magnification power on the monocular or scope for your child is essential. It dictates how the scope will operate and how accessible this will be for children. For most people, a magnification power of 8x will be the most suitable without impacting the overall performance. Thankfully, all monoculars that are currently available will be able to provide this magnification power.

Finally, the last point to consider when it comes to magnification power is the eye-relief. The eye-relief is essentially the distance from the monocular or scope to the user's eyes. A larger eye-relief will provide the user with a greater level of comfort - especially for long-term use. As the monocular increases in magnification power, the level of eye-relief will decrease. This is another reason that children will benefit more from opting for the lower 8x magnification which is available.


The final point worth considering is how durable the scopes and monoculars are. As we know, children are likely to drop these binoculars at some point during use. Ensuring that the binoculars offer sufficient protection is essential. Thankfully these scopes and monoculars provide excellent levels of durability thanks to build design that they offer.

Monoculars such as the Viking Cygnus 8x42 and the Viking ED 10x25 provide a rubber-armour coating to offer protection. This rubber-armour build design ensures that the monoculars perform in any environment or weather condition. In addition to this, the rubber-armour allows for the binoculars to become weatherproof. This allows for the spotting scopes and monoculars to be able to perform at all times. Furthermore, this build design makes holding on to the scopes much easier and offers a fantastic grip.

Spotting scopes such as the Viking Swallow Spotting Scope offer a similar build design. This also incorporates the use of the rubber-armour design to provide an excellent level of protection. These units are ready to withstand any conditions and still perform exceptionally well. The Viking Swallow Spotting Scope also comes with additional accessories. These accessories include a case which offers further protection when the scope is in use.

Both the monoculars and spotting scopes that are available offer excellent levels of durability. This makes both options perfectly suitable for children of all ages. The inclusion of the rubber-armour build design ensures that the binoculars will remain safe and secure. This helps to ensure that the binoculars will be operational for as long as possible.


There are many important factors to consider when deciding which option is best for children. However, finding a scope or monocular that is the right size and weight is essential. Ensuring that the child is able to hold the scope and properly use this should be considered the top priority. This becomes especially important if you plan on using this long-term to avoid any potential strains.

Monoculars are fantastic introductory units for any children that have expressed an interest in birdwatching. They provide similar levels of image quality in comparison to binoculars without the extra weight. This provides a cost-effective approach to achieving a real professional level of quality. Furthermore, the build design available on these scopes ensures that they remain protected.

Both Viking and Celestron provide monoculars which are very similar in design. Quality is a guarantee regardless of which model you choose. However, models such the Viking ED 10x25 Monocular excel with their level of quality. This is thanks to the inclusion of Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass which helps to perfect the viewable image. If you are looking to maximise your results, then this is certainly the way to go.

Finally, spotting scopes continue to increase the overall quality you can expect. However, this is typically more suitable for older children and teenagers. This is due to the size of the scope and how steady it needs to be. Purchasing the tripod bundle which is available will certainly address many of these issues.

Finding the perfect monocular or scope for your child is never easy. With so many different factors to consider, it can feel overwhelming. This guide aims to shine some light on this and hopefully make your decision making easier.

Read More: Full range of Binoculars and Scopes

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