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This set of Early Learning Centre Binoculars was part of my son explores set we put together for him as a present for his birthday in January. The set we have is green rather than the orange set as shown. I have checked these in store and there are two differences between our set and the one currently on sale. The first is the colour and the second is the carry case supplied. Our case is made from a soft fabric which protects the binoculars where as the new model has a clear plastic carry case. The binoculars themselves work exactly the same way and have the same degree of magnification. For this review I will focus on the binoculars themselves as this is still relevant to the product and still the same as currently available bar the colour.
The binoculars come with a neck strap and this is attached to the binoculars via some holes in the body of the binoculars. For safety purposes the strap has a plastic nugget type thing in the middle of the strap click in and out section so if the binoculars get tangled up they fall off to stop strangle problems. I have to say I have been impressed with this bit as it seems to be robust enough to cope with the weight of the binoculars dangling downwards, but do actually come off if they get caught there has been times that my son has got the strap hooked over branches and without fail so far they always come out of the holder dropping the binoculars to the floor. I think part of the reason these binoculars are for children 3 plus is because of the neck strap.
The binoculars magnification is 4 times 32mm what this mean is that the image is enlarged by four times. The 32mm refers to the diameter in millimeters of the objective lens. That's the end opposite the end you look through for those unfamiliar with the term. Basically the larger the objective lens, the more light that can pass through the lens and the brighter the image you will see is. I have to admit being very impressed with how well this focus in and the how powerful these are for child's binoculars as they get a lovely crisp and clear picture of birds and animals whilst we are out and about. My son loves how well he can see things with them and is often telling us what he can see and describing them which is a great way I think of encouraging his interest in the world about him.
The way these binoculars focus is simple for my son and his friends to use. There is a turn wheel in the middle of the binoculars and you simply turn it one way or another and the binoculars focus in and out for you. This is really easy to use and no matter how heavy handed the children are it seems to work well. Initially we had to remind my son how to do this but he is now after several months of use quite adapt at focusing these to see birds either in the garden or on walks. He also enjoys now showing his friends what to do with them and was proud as punch to take them along to a recent show and tell at his pre school where he showed these off to people and described how he had seen a squirrel with them.
At either end of the binoculars there are removable soft plastic covers these mean that when the binoculars are against the eye sockets that it is nice and soft. I actually dislike the fact that they come off and think that they some how should of been molded into the body of the binoculars as at times my son takes these off to play with and they could easily be lost whilst out this way.
The binoculars also move sideways in and out meaning that dependant on the size of the child's face the eye holes to view nature's delights will always generally fit their face. I have yet to meet a child who can't see through them this way. What this also means is that adult can generally see through them too as a way to check they are focused correctly which we find helpful if for some reason my son or his friends can't see correctly.
They didn't come with a lens cloth to keep them clean but either a baby wipe and a tissue or a glass cloth at home seem to keep these in working order I find
The binoculars are made of thick plastic which means they're quite robust given that these are in children hands this is quite important I think as often my son has dropped these by mistake or knocked them against the wooden bird hide in our local woods and they have suffered not dents at all .Whilst the design is fairly basic it does mirror traditional adult binoculars and my son likes how his are more colorful than mine and his dad's pair.
At £8 from the ELC I can't recommend these enough they are great way of wild life watching for children. My only complaint really is the detachable soft plastic ends to them. My son loves his pair and will often take them out on trips even if it's just to the local park in case he spots a squirrel or a bird so 4 stars from us both for the binoculars.