Telescopes offer a fun and educational pursuit for children of all ages. They can, however, be a large investment. Making the best possible choice is important to ensuring you get your money’s worth at the end of the day. Finding the best telescope for kids does not need to be complicated.
There are a number of great telescopes for kids on the market to choose from, so the process can seem a bit daunting. They vary in price tag and power, so much of the decision depends on what you are looking for. There is truly an option for everyone; you just need to know where to look.
Buying a kids telescope can provide hours, months, or even years’ worth of entertainment and learning for your child. Kids will have fun while still learning about the world around them. Just follow the following guide and you will ensure you end up with the best telescope for kids.
How to choose the best telescope for kids:
The first thing to consider when choosing the best telescope for kids is durability. Children can be harder on their toys than adults often are. Purchasing a solid, durable telescope will ensure your money was well spent. Additionally, it can last for more than a few months or a year.
Second, it is a good idea to set yourself a budget before beginning the purchasing process. Optical instruments can vary significantly in price points. Depending on whether you are looking for something primarily as a toy or a learning tool, the price tags may vary a good deal.
The third thing to consider when choosing the best telescope for kids is the intended use of the telescope. For instance, those looking for a stargazing telescope will need something a bit different than those looking for something to be used in play. Defining your purpose is wise.
What to look for in a good telescope for kids:
As there are many options of the market, it is helpful to know what to look for in a good telescope for kids. The first thing is image quality. There is no use seeing far things close up if there totally blurry. You want to ensure your child sees a clear, accurate, and bright image.
The second thing to look for in a good telescope for kids is adjustability. Since children grow quickly, it is important that their telescope grows with them, so to speak. An adjustable model will allow them to get more years of use and enjoyment from the telescope rather than a season.
The third thing to look for in a good telescope for kids is a sturdy stand and mounting system. Though the durability of the actual telescope is also vital, the stand needs to be equally so. If the stand wobbles or is uneven, it can open the telescope up to accidental breaks and insecurity.
If you are looking for something portable and inexpensive, the F. Dorla Waterproof Monocular 25×30 Zoomable Vintage Pirate Adjustable Telescope is a good choice. It is a hand-held telescope without a stand (picture a pirate on a ship), so it offers great portability for adventure.
One especially nice feature of this telescope is the lightweight status. It is only 4.8 ounces in weight, making it an easy toy for children of all ages. Also, the appearance with brass plating and leather details lends it an air of adventure and mystery appealing to young imaginations.
When compacted down to its smallest size, the telescope actually fits easily in an adult jacket pocket as well. This way it does not add extra bulk to your bag. Its compact size and weight, however, do not compromise the image quality. It remains very clear, especially for the price.
Though it has many features to recommend it, the F. Dorla Waterproof Monocular 25×30 Zoomable Vintage Pirate Adjustable Telescope does have some drawbacks. For one thing, the telescope is not very durable. Luckily, it will not cost you a lot to purchase a new one in the end.
Another disadvantage to this telescope is that it is fairly difficult to focus. Because it has a basic corkscrew adjustment, it is easy to overshoot the focus you are aiming for. For some children, this could be very frustrating. Others may simply use it as a toy rather than an optical instrument.
If your budget is a bit higher, the Orion 10034 GoScope II 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope Moon Kit is another excellent choice. While it is significantly heavier than the previous option, at three and a half pounds, it is still very manageable for young kids or for traveling excursions.
One nice feature for kids learning about the universe around them is that this telescope comes with a moon map. This educational piece helps explain the features kids see on the moon’s surface through the telescope. For parents, this takes the experience into the learning realm too.
Another remarkable feature of refractor telescopes is the ability to use them during the daytime too. Reflector telescopes, on the other hand, create a glary image during the daytime. This telescope transitions from day to night easily while maintaining a clear and bright image quality.
The tripod included with the Orion 10034 GoScope II 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope Moon Kit does leave a bit to be desired, however. It is very lightweight, but also consequently not very durable or stable. Additionally, it is very low to the ground, making it difficult for taller users.
Like the previous option, the focusing mechanism is also a bit difficult to adjust, especially for children. Combined with the wobbly tripod, it can be extremely bothersome to adjust the focus while the telescope wiggles on the tripod. With a little patience, though, it does work well.
The Pink TwinStar AstroMark 50mm 75x Refractor Telescope comes in at around the same price point as the previous option, but with some different features overall. Like some earlier options, this telescope also comes with some solar system educational cards to aid in the learning process.
One added bonus that will likely appeal to kids in particular is that this telescope comes with glow-in-the-dark star stickers, a moon map, and a book about space. These items combined with the fun, pink telescope are sure to incite joy and excitement for most children’s imagination.
Unlike the previous option, the tripod with this telescope is actually quite good. It is sturdy and durable, allowing for easy use and not disrupting the image steadiness. Additionally, it extends to the full height of a regular tripod. This means parents can share in the stargazing experience.
Though it has many great features and will likely thrill curious children, the Pink TwinStar AstroMark 50mm 75x Refractor Telescope does have some noticeable issues. First of all, the telescope does not have a vertical stabilizer and can be easily bumped off target up or down.
Another disadvantage is that the lenses of the telescope scratch very easily. For kids, this can be a major issue. Children are typically not known for great care with their toys, so having an easily scratched lens can be a big disadvantage. Plus, a scratched lens often leads to poor image quality.
If you are really willing to shell out some money for a good telescope, the Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Telescope is a great choice for you. One especially nice feature is that this telescope has an automatic alignment process, taking a lot of the work and guessing out of the process.
Since it is electronic and has some higher tech functions than the other telescopes thus far, battery life is a concern. The telescope is wireless, powered off of rechargeable batteries, so you will not be tethered to a cord. Plus, it has thirty hours of power use per full charged session.
One big benefit of this telescope for kids is that it teaches how to stargaze and align a telescope along the way. While it has the automatic alignment, the book and directions that are included help to teach the user about the alignment stars. This information helps the user to graduate later.
One downside for all the bells and whistles of the Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Telescope is that it takes a long time to set up. Because the camera needs calibrating in order for the alignment to be correct, it takes some time. Also, you need to readjust if you move the telescope.
The hand control to operate the telescope also proves to be less durable than the rest of the telescope as a whole. With extensive use, the controller tends to produce error messages and need a full reset. This step requires some trial and error as well as realignment when it is done.
For young children or for kids new to telescopes, the Lunar Telescope for Kids is an excellent starter model. At a reasonable price tag, it provides a nice entry point for kids interested in telescopes. Unlike the previous option, the setup is also easy enough for any young kid.
Another added benefit (though not affecting the operation of the telescope itself) is that the telescope comes with a piece of meteorite. This allows kids to hold a piece of what they see in the night sky. Surely, it will help inspire curiosity and interest in stargazing in kids of all ages.
This telescope is also very lightweight and easily portable at only two and a half pounds. Combined with the easy setup and convenient tripod, this telescope can go wherever you and your family do. Also, it could be a nice addition to a camping trip for some late-night stargazing.
Of course, with a less expensive product, the optics quality will likely not be as superior as other options. The Lunar Telescope for Kids has average optics at best for stargazing. While children can get a general view of the stars and planets, it is really not much better than the naked eye.
Another downside is the durability. Since it is on the cheaper side, the materials are simply not as strong as in other telescope options. While it will work fine as a beginner children’s telescope, it will likely not hold up to the test of time. It is made to last briefly before the user graduates.
The Celestron 21036 PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope is a good mid-price range option for a kid’s telescope. One unique feature of this telescope is that it has fully coated optics and it is a refracting telescope. These two features decrease glare and make it work for night and daytime.
One nice feature both for kids and adults alike is the easy, straightforward setup. This telescope boasts a “no tool setup.” This means that you can have it up and running the same day you receive it. Unlike some previous options, most children will not have a problem setting it up.
The construction of the telescope is also above average, especially given its fairly low price tag. It is constructed mainly from metal materials, ensuring a durable, long lifetime for the telescope. The solid construction also means it is more difficult for children to break or damage.
The pieces that are plastic, however, do leave a bit to be desired on the Celestron 2106 PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope. The scope and swivel-base are both constructed of a cheaper plastic. While the rest of the telescope is well-made, those pieces do wear out faster.
The tripod could also be better than it is on this telescope. While it is constructed of aluminum and plastic, the materials are lightweight to the point of flimsiness. It can be a bit annoying to have a wobbly tripod with a fairly good telescope. It can be a frustrating combination.
The Kids Telescope by Xshop is another good, low-cost option for a telescope for kids. Because it is specifically designed for children, it is made to be easy to use, assemble, and maintain. One nice feature for kids especially is the inclusion of three different magnification eyepieces.
Another benefit of this telescope is its extremely lightweight status. At only a little over one pound in weight, it can be moved and positioned really by any user, regardless of age or strength level. This can give kids an added sense of autonomy during their first telescope experiences.
One additional plus to this telescope is that it works passably well during both the day and nighttime. While it may not be as strong or clear as some more expensive options, for a beginner, it works quite well. Kids will get use from the telescope at all times and learn along the way.
The main issue with the Kids Telescope by Xshop comes from the cheaper materials from which it is constructed. The telescope itself is made from plastic rather than metal, so it simply does not have the same durability as more expensive models. As a starter, though, it works just fine.
The tripod also causes some issues for the telescope. Like the rest of the telescope, it is made from plastics. This makes it lightweight, true, but it also makes it wobbly, which can be bothersome for the user. Also, the tripod is quite low to the ground, necessitating a tabletop.
The Educational Insights GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope is another excellent choice for a kid’s telescope, coming in at around the same price point as the previous option. Like a few others on this list, this telescope is a refractor telescope which makes it useable during the day and night.
The image quality, especially given the lower price point, it actually quite remarkable for this telescope. During the nighttime in particular, it is easy to see craters on the moon and stars fairly clearly. This is aided by the additional two magnification lenses included with the telescope.
Another nice feature is its lightweight status. At about three pounds, it is slightly heavier than previous options, but it is still quite portable. Also, the telescope itself is very simple to adjust for both children and adults alike. It makes it easier for kids to use it on their own without help.
Like with other telescopes for kids, the tripod presents a bit of an issue for the Educational Insights GeoSafari Vega 360 Telescope. Not only is it a tabletop tripod, meaning it is very low to the ground, but it also is quite wobbly. This makes it difficult to set up and use in different areas.
The focusing feature on this telescope is also not the greatest on this list. Because the telescope is a bit on the less durable side, the focusing feature can be shaky and fiddly. This issue can be especially bothersome for children as it can take some time to get it correctly focused on items.
The GEERTOP 90X Portable Astronomical Refractor Tabletop Telescope provides another affordable, decent telescope for kids. In the same price range as the previous option, it will not break the bank to get your children started in their interest of telescopes. This is a good choice.
One nice feature is that this telescope can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally while on top of the included tripod. This gives users some flexibility while using the telescope. It also means you can go from birdwatching to stargazing without hassle, or simply change positions.
As far as assembly goes, this telescope also exceeds expectations. Though it comes with several different lenses for different magnifications and light levels, everything is very straight forward when it comes to practical setup. Most children should be able to handle it just fine.
Though it has many things to recommend it, the GEERTOP 90X Portable Astronomical Refractor Tabletop Telescope is not without issues. First of all, the focusing mechanism is difficult to work. This can lead to some frustration in children or adults. You have to be patient.
The other issue is that, though it is a refractor telescope so it should work during the day or night, the light transmission leaves somethings to be desired during nighttime stargazing. The image quality is simply too dark to see details on planets. For daytime use, though, it works quite well.
The Black Twinstar 60mm Compact Kids Refractor Telescope is a great, mid-price range option for a beginning telescope user. The main body of the telescope is also actual metal, making it more durable than its plastic counterparts. The plastic pieces themselves are also quite durable.
Unlike several other options on this list, the tripod of this telescope actually proves to be quite good and sturdy. While it likely will not withstand a heavy wind storm, it is plenty stable enough to support the telescope well. Also, it is full-height, not tabletop – a rare feature on this list.
Another added bonus of this telescope is that it comes with a variety of attachable lenses. First, two refractory lenses help to reduce the glare and improve color quality. Secondly, it comes with two Barlow lenses. These concave lenses increase the magnification when affixed to the scope.
One major drawback of the Black Twinstar 60mm Compact Kids Refractor Telescope is that it does not come with assembly or use instructions included. The company makes the instructions available on their website, but they are difficult to find and less than comprehensive in scope.
Like with other options on this list, this telescope also have some issues with the focuses feature. The sensitivity on the focus makes it easy to overshoot your intended focal point. Also, the focus knob sticks on some models, making it even more difficult to adjust the telescope for little kids.
Conclusion and verdict:
At the end of the day, there are a number of good options on the market for kid’s telescopes. Finding the best telescope for kids, however, can prove a difficult task. With all the options, having a list of reviews is certainly helpful in narrowing the options slightly.
Make sure, before setting out on the decision process, to set your priorities and your price range. These two items will help you focus your attention on those items that best suit you and your child. The age of your child also affects your choice. Buy something your child will love.
Following the guide above will help with the decision making process. A telescope for kids can be a great educational tool and a fun way to spend a day or evening. Kids will actually enjoy the learning experience with telescopes. It is a great, engaging way to teach kids about the universe.