In this article, we’re taking a look at the best telescopes for kids that you can get to help expand imagination and fascination. We’ve already done a close-up on microscopes so now we take a broader look at the stars.
What’s So Great About Telescopes?
Humans have been fascinated by the stars for millennia, and perhaps nobody is more captivated by space than children. There’s something about looking up at the stars and knowing they contain infinite possibilities that will make anyone feel like a kid again.
That’s why one of the best gifts you can give to a child is a telescope. It nurtures their curiosity and allows them to explore the universe at their own pace. Before going any further, though, you may want to ask yourself, what is the best telescope for kids?
Don’t worry, because we’re here to help. Up first, we’ve put together a list of some of the best children’s telescopes on the market. Read on and we’ll tell you all about them.
Top 7 Best Telescopes for Kids 2020
Looking for the best of the best can be complicated. Wanting to find quality without compromising your budget shouldn’t be a hassle. We’ve got a variety of telescopes here for you to choose from to help encourage scientific exploration! We feel confident that you’ll find the best celestial telescopes for kids here.
This is actually a few different models of telescopes, such as the XT6 or XT8, but the model name only serves to denote the aperture size. Regardless of which you choose, you’ll be getting a good deal.
These telescopes get 4-or-5-star-reviews by almost everyone who uses them. The XT8 has over 180 reviews on Amazon, and over three-quarters of them are 5-star. Dobsonian describes the telescope’s stand. It’s a child-friendly stand and it spins to help with mobility.
As the name implies, the Celestron travel scope was built to be easily stored and transported. This telescope tops out at less than four pounds, so your child should have no trouble carrying it.
It’s an amazing deal for the money as well because the telescope comes with a backpack to put it in, and a computer program about astronomy to help children learn. There are also two types of eyepieces so that you can choose how much you want an image to be magnified.
The Infinity 60AZ is by far one of the best telescopes for kids. One of the major reasons is that it’s a refracting telescope and therefore needs very little maintenance.
It also comes with the other benefits of a refracting telescope, such as being able to use it on terrestrial objects as well as astronomical ones. If you have a budding animal-lover in the house as well as an astronomer, they can use it to observe animals without scaring them away.
As if that wasn’t enough, this telescope has good reviews on Amazon and is very affordable for a telescope. If you want to nurture your child’s curiosity in more than just astronomy, this is the telescope for you.
Backed by high consumer ratings, the Astromaster is a great family telescope. The good news for parents is that there is no assembly required because this telescope comes put together.
This telescope also comes with an autofocus feature, so you won’t have to take time learning how to work the lens. This does come with one downside, though. The autofocus might make mistakes under certain circumstances.
Perhaps your child is not quite ready for a real telescope. This nifty little toy will allow your child to explore and use a telescope while also learning about space and wildlife.
it comes with plenty of images to see and facts to learn so your child can have limitless fun starting their journey into science. The Geosafari Junior can even save your child’s place so they don’t have to go through the hassle of finding it again after taking a break.
At 4.2 out of five stars, this product ranks among the best-reviewed on this list. The bad news is that it’s also one of the most expensive for what it is. If you’re willing to spend the money, though, this could be a great toy for your child.
If you have an older scientist in the house, but one that’s not specifically interested in stars, may we suggest some other science kits.
This is a useful and simple tool to set up and use. There is some assembly required, but it comes with a link to online instructions to make assembly easier. Plus, it’s a refractor telescope, which has a reputation for being easy to assemble.
Some even come with glow-in-the-dark star stickers and other ways to add some flair to it. Not only is it functional and customizable, but it also has good reviews and comes at a decent price. It costs about the same as the Geosafari Jr. listed above.
If your child prefers to stay inside but still wants to study the stars we recommend the Celestron Firstscope telescope. What’s unique about this piece is that it’s tiny, allowing it to comfortably fit on a desk or windowsill.
Because of its size, it’s portable and easy to use. Plus, it doesn’t have an age limit. The product was built so it could be used by younger children, but it can be used by teenagers as well.
There are also two more eyepieces that help to increase magnification which will appeal to more experienced stargazers, as will the names of astronomers that decorate some models. Even if your child does fall out of love with the stars, this telescope will make a great decorative piece for their room, office, or anyplace else for that matter.
For these reasons and more, the Celestron Firstscope telescope might be the best telescope for kids out there.
Parts of a Telescope
Seeing as we’ve been using telescopes in some form for hundreds of years, it should come as no surprise that telescopes can be complex devices. There are several different kinds of telescopes, but the most common ones, such as those made for children, are refractor telescopes.
A refractor telescope functions in much the same way as glasses. It uses two lenses, one on each end, to magnify an image and send it back into your eye.
You could, in theory, add more lenses to increase magnification or add larger lenses, but this is a compromise. As magnification increases, image clarity decreases. This principle holds true for all refracting telescopes.
In the case of larger lenses, we come to one of the strange realities of science. The larger lens at the end of the telescope, known as an aperture, is supposed to make images clearer the larger it gets.
Focal Length and Size
The problem is that if the telescope itself gets too large and heavy its own size will begin to interfere with the images it takes, so the ideal telescope is all about compromise.
This brings us to the focal length. The focal length means the distance between the first mirror or lens and the place where all the light rays intersect, known as the focal point.
If you feel like doing complex math, there are formulas out there to find focal length. The important thing to know is that focal length is directly related to magnification. The longer the focal length, the greater the magnification.
Cool Ways to Use a Telescope
Think the best telescope for kids is only good for stargazing? Think again! Here are some ways that you can engage your children’s curious science minds with a telescope.
What’s in Space?
There are a lot of great things out there to be seen with a telescope, and only some of them are in space. We can tell you some of the most interesting astronomical things to see with a telescope. For instance, maybe you want to check out some of the more detailed features of the moon.
Speaking of moons, maybe you want to investigate some of the many moons of Jupiter.
Birdwatching & Other Animals
You might want to do something closer to home, though, like birdwatching. Birdwatching isn’t for everyone, but those who do enjoy it are bound to find some great specimens with a telescope.
The same holds true for other types of animals. The food web is at the center of everything in the natural world, and this means that it can be difficult to observe certain animals.
Many are too skittish, while others are far too dangerous. The telescope allows us to bypass this problem by not having to get close to the animals.
Telescopes have even been used in wildlife photography. If wildlife photography is one of your hobbies, there are plenty of great telescopes out there to help you.