Looking for a telescope for kids? Since the dawn of time humankind has looked up at the stars in wonder and today there is still so much that remains unknown about the universe and stellar bodies.
This fascination and curiosity has captivated almost all areas of society and inspired many films and works of fiction about the moon, stars, planets and even our own solar system.
Telescopes for kids enable youngsters to witness firsthand the moon, stars and even planets from the comfort of their own home, and who knows? This educational hobby could even inspire a future astronomer or astronaut.
Either way, one thing is for sure, telescopes are brilliant educational tools that allow kids to nurture a curiosity for learning and appreciate the worlds beyond our own.
There are so many telescopes available that it can be difficult to know which type is appropriate for beginners and children.
There are many important factors to consider such as the age of your child, portability, size, and price and most importantly, whether you want to view objects in the night’s sky or objects on Earth or both.
With these things in mind, we have selected some of the best telescope for kids with a variety of age groups and budgets in mind.
Our Top Picks
Celestron AstroMaster Refractor Telescope
The Celestron AstroMaster is a powerful telescope ideal for kids to use and for family viewings of the night sky. The lenses are powerful enough to easily view some of the most popular stellar bodies including the Moon, Saturn’s rings, and Jupiter’s Cloud bands.
You can even see constellations in greater clarity and detail such as the Orion and Cassieopia constellations.
The standard AstroMaster Refractor Telescope is available in multiple sizes from the 60 mm all the way up 102 mm. The smallest size is a great place to start with kids and beginners and will give you more than enough aperture and light gathering ability to see the most popular objects in a good amount of detail.
However, by opting for the larger models, you will be able to observe larger stellar bodies such as Nebulae and galaxies with more precision.
Celestron as a company has a fantastic reputation and this model, in particular, is extremely well made. It comes with everything you’ll need for a quick and easy set-up and no tools or complicated assembly is required.
The steel tripod is also very stable and comes with a handy accessory tray where you can always keep everything needed within arm’s reach. Adjusting the view is also user-friendly; you simply use the panhandle to point the telescope in the desired location.
Then while looking down the optical tube you will be able to have a wide field of view to scan the night’s sky and slowly hone in and increase magnification on your target.
You can also make good use of Celestron’s free Sky Portal application, which is available on iOS and Android. This provides an interactive map of locations of some of the most popular objects to view along with helpful audio descriptions to make the viewing experience easy and fun.
If you have a child thirsty to learn more about the planets and stars, then this compact Telescope by Celestron is another great pick. Not only is it easy to use and lightweight, but the unintimidating and simple design is sure to allow your kid to learn how to use it quickly without getting too overwhelmed.
The tabletop design makes this Telescope perfect for sitting down in comfort and browsing the night’s sky. Even though it’s smaller than some other Telescopes out there, it’s still powerful enough and has enough light gathering ability to observe some of the most impressive stellar objects including the Moon, Saturn, and Jupiter.
The user-friendly design makes it ideal for young kids and families to use together without the unnecessary stress of over-complicated features and accessories.
To use, you simply turn the base and point the Telescope to the part of the sky you would like to view, then utilizing then the lower powered eye-piece you can home in on a particular area of interest.
Finally, you can then get a more detailed and crisp image of the object using the high-powered eyepiece, providing a maximum magnification of up to x75.
The design of the scope body features a black wrap with some of the world’s most iconic astronomers including Galileo and Hubble, sure to inspire your child’s intrigue and research into astronomy.
Overall, this is a great first Telescope for kids and the compact design makes it easy to store and take on trips, which is a definite advantage over large, cumbersome models.
Educational Insights GeoSafari Telescope
Another great Telescope to get kids into night-time sky gazing is the Educational Insights GeoSafari Telescope. It comes packed with three eyepieces, as well as a 3X Barlow lens. This reflector telescope enables seven modes of magnification ranging from 35x to 300x magnification.
Not only can the GeoSafari be used for night time celestial viewing but it can also be used for terrestrial viewing during the day. This is also thanks to the various lenses included which allows kids to observe lands, plants, and animals from afar, which is a great way for them to get a hang of the controls and practice setting it up. Of course, viewing the natural world is also a fun activity in itself!
The GeoSafari Telescope is more than powerful enough for viewing craters of the moon, Mars, Saturn and other popular objects in the Solar System.
It comes with a sturdy tripod and a shelf where the various eyepieces can be stored during use. The instructions also come with a simple moon map and other useful resources, which come in handy for beginners.
Overall this is a great scientific tool for kids to gain real first-hand experience, and it’s sure to inspire many and encourage them to delve further into the world of discovery.
Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope
If you have toddlers and small children who aren’t quite ready to use a real Telescope but are just as curious as those who are, then the Educational Insights GeoSafari Talking Telescope is a brilliant choice.
This toy Telescope is designed to be used on tabletops and used in a similar way to authentic scopes, therefore kids can get familiar with the concept and view a wide range of celestial images down the lens.
This scope contains two main components – a detachable telescope, as well as a built-in talking telescope. The portable telescope with a 4x magnification allows kids to explore the great outdoors and the natural world by getting great views of bugs, butterflies, and other interesting objects. While the talking telescope allows kids to view the 20 slides included with the kit.
The slides include a wide range of viewable images including planets, insects and other images from space.
As they view the images, by pressing a button, the unit will provide 200 fun facts in audio, making it a great learning tool to inspire and teach kids about a wide range of fascinating STEM topics.
There are even game modes including a quiz, so they can test their knowledge as they play.
It’s worth noting that the telescope does require 4 batteries in order to power the bulb and audio, which are not included, so make sure to pick them up to avoid disappointment!
Orion AstroView Equatorial Refractor Telescope
The large and powerful Orion AstroView Telescope is ideal for older kids who are serious about astronomy, as well as families who want a serious visual tour of space.
For the image quality, light gathering ability, clarity, the field of view and magnification this telescope offers maximum value for money and will allow the entire family to get together as a group and explore outer-space.
This Telescope is larger than the previous models listed, so you will need a little more space to house it in your home or garden. It also requires a little more assembly than the others, but all instructions are easy to follow, illustrated and the tools required for the job are included.
However, this shouldn’t be seen as a drawback, since you are getting a powerful microscope, with a robust and extremely durable construction. It also has some superior features such as the slow-motion celestial tracking that enables you to keep objects in the field of vision using a slow-motion knob.
The Orion Telescope also includes an EQ-2 adjustable tripod with storage rack to keep everything within reach, a finder scope and two Sirius Plossl eyepieces at 25mm, which is considered low powered and 10mm considered medium powered.
The Telescope itself is able to reach magnifications of up to 180X, which is more than enough to view key stellar objects details and it collects adequate light to view even faint objects, such as the Andromeda Galaxy.
This Telescope also comes with Orion’s Starry Night planetarium software, which is an extremely useful piece of software full of information and stunning images.
This will allow you to explore the most popular planets, stars, and galaxies and see three-dimensional models of them, the perfect complement for budding astronomers.
Telescope for Children Basic Information
When reading about telescopes the terminology and language used can be confusing to the newcomer and average buyer, so here are the basics you should be aware of when on the hunt for a telescope for kids:
What is Aperture?
Aperture is the diameter of your telescope’s mirror or lens. This is the number one factor in choosing a telescope since it will dictate the amount of detail you will be able to observe.
The main thing to keep in mind is that the larger the aperture the greater the viewing experience. Essentially, this is due to the amount of light it can allow in, therefore, making far away and blurry objects clearer and easier to observe.
What is Focal Length?
This is the total distance from the focal point to the mirror or lens of the telescope. It can help provide greater magnification. The main thing to remember is the greater the focal length, the larger the objects will look.
What is Magnification?
The magnification will dictate how large the objects will be and it is the result of a combination of the focal length of the telescope and the eyepiece focal length.
Essentially, if you opt for a telescope with a long focal length, the eyepieces included will be sufficient and you can always get your hands on stronger eyepieces at a later date.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Telescope for Kids
Telescopes are a great way to encourage kids to explore and learn about the universe around them and encourage a love of STEM subjects.
Whether you are looking for a budget telescope, a toy telescope or a premium model, there’s really nothing in the way of you securing a scope with a solid construction that provides clear and crisp images.
Other important factors include the age of your child, what you intend to use the microscope for, available room to house the telescope, portability, image quality, magnification, accessories, software and overall brand reputation.
With all of these factors in mind, here’s what to look for in a great kids telescope:
Age of Your Child
The age of your child is probably the most important thing to think about since this will dictate the type of telescope most appropriate for them to use.
If you have a toddler or preschooler who is showing an interest in stars and the night’s sky, then a toy telescope is a great place to start. This will allow them to learn how to use a telescope and teach them the basics, preparing them for a proper one in a few years time.
For more mature kids and teens, a real telescope that allows them to explore space is essential. There are lots of user-friendly models that are easy to set-up offered by some of the most reputable brands out there.
Cheap, plastic alternatives marketed to kids that are commonly marketed to kids should be avoided since these typically offer a poor experience that is likely to put your child off telescopes for life.
Image Quality & Magnification
Probably the most important factor when it comes to selecting a telescope for your kid is the image quality. After all, you want to be able to see a wide range of stellar objects and observe a good amount of their details with clarity.
The biggest factor in determining the amount of detail you will be able to see is the magnification, which is determined by both telescope aperture (as discussed above) and to a lesser degree the focal length.
Therefore, it’s always better to opt for a telescope with a bigger aperture and focal length, so keep an eye on these two metrics.
Terrestrial Vs. Celestial Telescope for Kids
If the telescope is going to be used purely to view the night’s sky, then your average telescope should be fine the majority of the time.
However, if you intend on using it during the day and to view Earth objects such as animals and wildlife, you will need to check the telescope is made with this use in mind.
Refractor telescopes are most suitable for viewing both terrestrial and celestial objects, while reflector telescopes are only suitable for celestial observation. Compound telescopes are also suitable for both uses.
Available Space & Portability
Telescopes come in a wide variety of sizes, from small plastic toy telescopes to tabletop telescopes and the large standard sized ones.
The majority of people intend on housing their telescopes outside on starry nights, so the size isn’t usually an issue. However, if you live in an apartment or plan on using it from a window, then the space you have available will dictate the telescope you require.
Portability is another factor. If you plan on taking it with you on a family vacation or camping, then ensure it has a lightweight design, can easily be disassembled and ideally is smaller than your average scope.