The Best Telescopes for Kids – Top 5 (2019 Edition)
When your child is an aspiring astronomer, you’ll need to find the best telescope for kids if you want them to glimpse celestial bodies. But not all telescopes are created equal.
Some are extremely expensive, and others are of poor quality. Which telescopes will give your child the ability to gaze at what they want without breaking the bank or buying a lemon?
In this article, we’ll review five of the hottest telescopes for kids on the market so that you can find the right tool for your stargazer.
5 Best Telescopes for Kids
6″ Handheld Brass Telescope with Wooden Box
A great little spyglass which your aspiring pirate or sailor will love to play with while they galivant around the backyard. While it isn’t suitable for stargazing, this little spyglass is gorgeous and can bring objects like a distant mountain a bit closer.
- Beautiful wooden storage box
- Maritime theme
- Looks great
- Low magnification
As far as telescopes go, the magnification on this scope is minimal, as is to be expected given its spyglass format. Nonetheless, the spyglass is beautifully presented. With the spyglass, you’ll get a teak wood box that looks like it’s heirloom quality.
The spyglass itself is also beautiful and is lined with real leather and built out of brass. While it may not be the most authentic spyglass you’ve ever seen, it’s ready for an exploration of new horizons right out of the box.
This spyglass is easy to use and very easy to transport. While it isn’t significantly more durable than other telescopes, it has only one moving telescopic part, which means that there are fewer parts that can break and critically damage the scope.
Serious stargazers might want more power, but nautical kids will love this telescope.
Black Twinstar 60mm Compact Kids Telescope
Great first telescope for your child. With a respectable amount of magnification, multiple eyepieces, and a dead-simple setup, this telescope might be the one which sparks a lifelong love of astronomy in your child.
- Easy to use
- Great magnification
- Includes multiple eyepieces
- Mediocre tripod
- No instructions
The telescope comes with a 2x Barlow lens, a 1.5X erecting eyepiece, a 6mm eyepiece, and a 20mm eyepiece. Even if you don’t know what those terms mean, you should recognize that this scope comes with a lot of options in a convenient package.
Swapping out scopes and eyepieces is quick, easy, and 100% reliable. You’ll never need to re-calibrate the scope after switching optics in or out of the tube. The focus on the telescope is passable, and you’ll have an easy time seeing planetary bodies.
You can get quite a bit of detail out of the Moon, too. You might not be able to see very much past the Moon on nights where there is a lot of ambient light, however; this telescope doesn’t have any light filtering capabilities, which is normal for children’s telescopes.
Unfortunately, the scope doesn’t come with any instructions. That’s right: you’re on your own in the vast universe without so much as a tip about which direction to look.
If your child is a self-motivated learner and is willing to find other resources to help them find the celestial bodies that they’re interested in, this telescope might be the right choice.
ToyerBee DIY Kids Telescope For Beginners
This is the stargazing package for the kids who want to build their scope from scratch. Serious astronomers will be pleased with the scope’s superior magnification. If your child is a good builder, this might be the right scope for them.
- Great instruction set
- Great customer service
- Tripod can be very wobbly or very stiff
The ToyerBee telescope has a lot of potentials, but your child will need to work for it to reach that potential. The scope has a great instruction packet, and the company also has a great customer service team to cover the tough spots in the assembly process.
Your child can probably assemble the scope within an hour. The little screws responsible for holding in the eyepieces aren’t the easiest to swap in or out, but once your child gets the hang of it, they’ll be flipping eyepieces every five minutes when they want a greater level of magnification.
Try to make sure that those screws don’t get lost. If they’re lost, the scope isn’t usable.
With the scope, you’ll find a 20X, 30X, and 40X eyepiece. These pieces afford the telescope with a fair amount of magnification. Unfortunately, the scope has very poor ability to deal with ambient light, even for a children’s telescope.
If you live in an area with high light pollution, you should probably look for a different scope.
ToyerBee Telescope For Kids
An introductory level scope which your young children can use to get a closer look at the moon or perhaps a distant valley. While it isn’t the strongest nor the best-constructed telescope for children, it’s very portable and surprisingly stable.
- A fun introduction to astronomy
- Tabletop tripod
- Poor build quality
This scope has a lot of magnification power in a lightweight package. With an objective diameter of 60mm and a focal length of 70mm, the scope is just as strong as many far more involved telescopes. Luckily, the scope is extremely easy to use, which means that it’s suitable for the youngest of astronomers.
The ToyerBee scope is made from weak plastic materials which will likely buckle and compromise the entire scope upon forceful contact with a hard surface. Thankfully, the scope’s tripod, while short, is a bargain.
The tripod is very stable, and the scope traverses smoothly on the top once it’s deployed, unlike with many other telescopes for children. You can easily use this scope with a very young child without fear, which is its greatest strength.
Emarth Telescope, Travel Scope, 70mm Astronomical Refractor Telescope
A next-level telescope for the elite among child astronomers. This scope is a serious and fully-fledged telescope which incorporates high-grade hobbyist optics into a package with very high build quality. If your child knows the ropes of astronomy and wants to get serious, this is probably the right scope.
- Great light filtering
- Great light absorption
- High magnification potential
- No tool setup
- Not for beginners
It’s conceivable that a hobbyist who wasn’t a child would buy this telescope for stargazing. With this scope, you’ll be able to see most of the planets and get a great look at a few of the nearby stars, too.
Unlike nearly all other telescopes for children, this telescope has effective light filtering, which means that there’s a chance it’ll see something in areas with high light pollution.
Simultaneously, the scope has a huge “light bucket” which means that it can collect light from distant stars which wouldn’t be visible to most other children’s scopes. This also makes it better at observing darker planetary bodies within the solar system.
This scope offers tool-free setup, which is a nice plus. Nonetheless, this isn’t the right scope for children just getting started with astronomy. The scope has a great potential for laser-sharp focus, but it needs skilled – or at least not a novice – hands before it can sing.
Likewise, this isn’t a scope for traveling around, nor is it a scope for constant switching between magnification levels. If your child has a niche in the galaxy that they prefer to look at more than any other, this is the scope for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I look for in telescopes for kids?
Telescopes for children come in a few different varieties. The simplest variety is the spyglass style telescope, which looks exactly like a pirate captain’s scope. These telescopes are typically low magnification, cheaply build, and easy to transport in a bag or backpack.
Other telescopes are do-it-yourself, and your child will need to build them from scratch, aside from grinding the lenses to specification. These telescopes are typically made from average quality components, and the result will be as durable as your child is attentive during construction.
Finally, miniature telescopes can be bought pre-made. These are the most expensive telescopes for children but have the highest build quality and magnification.
You should look for the kind of telescope that fits your child’s profile. Is your child interested in running around unexplored lands and taking a peek at horizons afar? The spyglass style telescope is a great fit for them.
Would your child rather do serious stargazing than mess around with building the telescope themselves? Purchase a pre-made telescope. Likewise, if your child enjoys building gadgets, the DIY telescope kits are great.
Overall, your child’s telescope should be paired with how serious they are about using it as a tool versus using it as a toy. Most telescopes are fairly fragile, so keep that in mind if your child wants a toy rather than a tool to view the stars.
How long should I expect my child’s telescope last?
If your child treats their telescope gently, it should last forever. In the event of roughness, telescopes are extremely fragile. Anything from a scratch on the lens to a crack on the housing tube can completely ruin the entire telescope.
With that in mind, make sure your child understands how fragile the telescope is, and it’ll last longer.
Are telescopes good for creative play?
If your child likes to dream of undiscovered worlds, a telescope will be an excellent gift for their imagination and their creative thinking. Otherwise, telescopes aren’t the best gifts for creative play. Most of the experience of using a telescope is exploratory rather than imaginative.
If your child prefers a spyglass style scope, they have a few opportunities to perform creative play along with the lines of a nautical adventure.
Which brands of telescopes are the best?
There isn’t any single best brand of telescope for children, but you should avoid the brands which make real telescopes if possible. These brands mark up their telescopes for children substantially, but there isn’t necessarily an improvement in the quality of the scope.
What can I do to help my child enjoy their telescope?
Your judicious assistance might be helpful when it comes time for your child to look at the stars. Often, star maps are hard to interpret, so your help will ensure your child gets to see something interesting.
Likewise, it may be hard for your child to figure out which celestial objects are worth looking at with the magnification that the telescope provides. This step is where your help comes in handy.
Read the telescope’s literature and see which kinds of objects it is the most effective at viewing – planets, stars, moons, or other points on land. Then, consult the map and find which quadrant of the sky to point the scope.
Calibrating telescopes can also be a bit of a chore, but luckily most children’s telescopes have a bare minimum of calibration. Even if your child doesn’t calibrate their scope, they’ll still be able to see stuff in the sky – just not specific things of interest that they identify on a map and want to pan the scope to see.
Gazing Into Deep Space
Now that you know all about science toys, it’s time to hop into the lab – or maybe your backyard. Science toys are a lot of fun and a great learning opportunity for your child, but they need your help to make it happen.
Treat science toys as a lesson in a box rather than a traditional toy and get ready to see your child’s powerful little mind jump into action.