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Earth Day Crafts (Part 4): Homemade Binoculars

Happy Earth Day!

This is the final installment of 2010 Earth Day craft ideas. Reduce, reuse and enjoy!

These handmade “binoculars” constructed from toilet paper tubes and paper are fun for children to make and “use.” Not only did our kids enjoy assembling and decorating them, but they also got a kick out of trying to see birds with them.

To make your own binoculars, tape or glue two toilet paper tubes together side by side. Cover with construction paper or leftover wrapping paper and tape or glue into place. If they want to, have children decorate the binoculars using crayons, color pencils, markers, stickers, etc. Alternatively, have them create a collage on the binoculars using bird pictures cut out of old magazines or calendars. (See collage directions after “OR” in my Media Holder post.)

Once decorations are complete, punch holes on the outer edges of either side of the top to secure a neck strap of yarn or ribbon. (Please use caution and common sense when allowing young children to wear things around their necks.)

To encourage bird watching or nature study, point out critters at close range for children to observe with our without their new specs.

If your youngster seems truly interested in birding, perhaps you can invest in the real things and support the beginnings of a lifelong hobby. According to a survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 50 million Americans report that they are bird watchers. All of that time spent looking for and reading about birds leaves less time for “mindless” television programs or video games, getting your potential couch potato up and moving.

If you think your elementary-age child displays enough interest to justify purchasing functional binoculars, check the following links for more information.

A Parent’s Guide to Choosing Binoculars for Children (article plus products)

American Birding Association (nonprofit website)

Binoculars for Children (article)

Child-Size Compact Binoculars (product)

Our favorite source for binoculars and camera equipment is B&H, where you can typically find quality products at excellent prices.

Note: TipsnTidbits.com is not currently sponsored by any of the companies mentioned here.

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