It’s important to help our children pursue interests, even at a young age. Their creativity and interests can play a huge role in their future and smothering it can create a disappointing and confusing life for them. And the same goes for those that might be interested in what’s above us.
The pretty blue sky to them is just that for some, a sky. But for others, the sky is much more at night, and children might be interested in the stars, plants and moon that orbit and spin all around the galaxy.
So, for parents that are looking for the best kids telescopes to ignite the passion within them about space, look no further, as this is a comprehensive list of all types of telescopes you might be interested in. From telescopes for the serious stargazers, to those that are just getting started in the field, these are the best kids telescopes that you can find today.
10. Best Beginner Friendly: Celestron Portable Refractor Telescope, $109.95
Overall, one of the best kids telescope that is beginner friendly is the Celestron Portable Refractor Telescope. It’s easy to set up and easy to use, comes with a tripod and accessories, all that can fit inside a backpack to carry around with you. It also includes the Starry Night educational software so you can learn about the sky while viewing it.
It also allows you to view landscape and wildlife during the day, making it a perfect universal experience to share with your kids. Whether they want to look at the stars or birds, this is the perfect beginner friendly scope.
While it’s a bit pricier than most on the list, you’re getting several accessories and software within the purchase, making it worthwhile.
|Pros||– Changing the optics can allow you to look at land-based targets during the day for multiuse.|
– It comes with an educational software.
– Is portable for on the go stargazing.
|Cons||– Reviews complain about stability and non-durable material.|
|Features||– 70mm travel scope.|
– Manual Focus.
9. Best for Younger Kids: NASA Lunar Telescope for Kids, $44.99
Putting down a decent chunk of change for a sudden passion or interest that your child has might not be an exciting option, though. Young minds don’t have a great attention span, so maybe it’s best to test the waters first before diving headfirst into an expense.
If you’re wanting a decent telescope for younger kids that are getting into space without throwing away money, check out the NASA Lunar telescope.
It’s a functional child-friendly telescope for the kids that want to learn more about space. It includes two eyepieces, a tabletop tripod and finder scope as well as a learning guide.
|Pros||– Perfect for younger kids since it’s easy to use and assemble.|
– Comes with two different eyepieces, high-power and low-power.
|Cons||– Can only see the moon and isn’t in great detail.|
|Features||– 1 Inch Optical Tube Length.|
– Galilean Eye Piece Lens.
– 1 KB Objective Lens Diameter.
– Equatorial Mount.
8. Best Toy Telescope: GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope, $66.66
Some kids who are interested in space might be even younger though, so purchasing something really expensive might not be worth it. One, with children, breaking things is always an option, so if you’d rather, you could opt for a toy telescope to keep them interested, but also without the worry of having something really expensive around.
This is a great product because it’s great for young kids, it’s interactive and educational, which only further ignites their interests at a young age, however, it isn’t a functional telescope. This is really just for children around the age of four who want to learn about space with interactive pictures and slideshows.
This telescope features 24 built-in images from NASA and has over 200 fun facts and quiz questions that way parents can be involved in it as well. For the littles that want to know a bit more about what our planet is and where we are in the universe, this a great beginning spot.
|Pros||– Perfect for younger kids.|
– Has a talking function to interact and teach.
– Is compatible with several other languages beside English like Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, French and German.
|Cons||– Not a functional telescope.|
|Features||– Uses batteries for the talking feature.|
– Tons of content to explore from images to facts.
7. Best Portable: Astronomical Refractor Portable Telescope, $89.99
Most of the time, the telescopes that we have don’t work well where we live though. Most of us won’t get the full experience looking out into a light-polluted sky in the suburbs or city.
Thankfully, for those nature lovers that enjoy camping and want to give your kids a better activity, there are portable telescopes that are made specifically for travel. One such example is this telescope which comes with a backpack and is beginner friendly, allowing you to see the moon.
It includes two 1.25″ eyepieces, a 5×24 finder scope with mounting bracket and crosshair lines inside to make locating easy. It even comes with a smartphone eyepiece so you can take amazing photos to remember the experiences with.
|Pros||– Has smartphone adaptor.|
– 70mm aperture.
– Includes backpack for easy storage and carrying.
|Cons||– Reviews mention that the tripod can be unstable at times.|
|Features||– 70mm lens.|
– Manual focus.
– Compatible with smartphones.
6. Best Computerized: Celestron Computerized Newtonian Telescope, $387.99
Another great option when it comes to beginner friendly telescopes for kids are computerized ones. These are incredibly expensive, however, and are very fancy. For those that are interested and have the money to spare, this is the best option for those getting into the hobby of stargazing.
Essentially, computerized telescopes are just that, telescopes that will move and find things for you, making it super simple to look at things without trying to find it yourself. Most of them come with apps that way you can learn on your phone as you look.
One such examples is the Celestron Computerized Newtonian Telescope. You can find up to 4,000 celestial objects, and if you’re not sure what to look at, the scope will create a tour for you. It comes with its own software that you can use to program, find, and learn about the things you’re seeing.
|Pros||– Motorized scope for easy finding.|
– Automatically locate 4,000 celestial objects.
– Comes with its own software.
– Can give you a tour of objects.
|Features||– Battery operated.|
5. Best for Photos: Celestron Inspire 100AZ, $359.95
But sometimes kids enjoy other forms of art, like photography. So, what if we could combine that interest with space? Taking amazing photos of space and celestial objects is just as much of a hobby as simply stargazing.
There are thankfully several scopes you can use to make this happy. One such scope is the Celestron Inspire scope. It’s easy to set up, is still an entry level scope for kids, but allows you to take breathtaking photos of space right at your fingertips.
It’s compatible with smartphones, has two eyepieces for different magnification, a red LED flashlight, and a finder scope. It also includes a free software and app for you to learn about thousands of objects above you.
|Pro||– Takes clear, great photos.|
– Has multiple eyepieces.
|Feature||– Compatible with Smartphones.|
– 100mm lens.
– Comes with software and app.
READ MORE: How to Prepare Kids for Preschool
4. Best Refractor: Horox Refractor Telescope, $89.99
If you’re looking for a specific type of telescope and want to opt for a refractor telescope, which is just a big tub that uses magnifying lenses to bring objects closer when viewing, this is one of the best you can find.
It comes with all the cool gadgets that you need to make the stargazing trip worthwhile. From a handy backpack, multiple eyepieces, a phone adaptor and a tripod, this telescope is one of the best kid telescopes that you can find right now, all while being reasonably priced.
Whether this is a first gift for your kids, or a step up now that they’ve gotten older, this is a perfect option for those looking for an easy-to-use refractor telescope.
|Pros||– Easy to install and use.|
– Has two eye pieces for different magnifiers.
|Cons||– Some reviews say the assembly can be tricky.|
|Features||– 70mm glass lens.|
– 5×24 finderscope.
– Dual Kellner eyepieces (20x-44x magnifications).
– 400mm focal length.
3. Best Reflector: HSL Reflector Telescope, $139.99
For the reflector telescopes, you’re looking at a bit of a bigger price tag, as this scope does a bit more than just magnify an object. A reflector telescope does what the name might imply, reflect. Using mirrors, the image is bounced off the mirror and towards the eyepiece to look at it.
It can be a lot more powerful and produce a clearer image than just refractors, which creates the higher price. For this scope, you’ll receive three extra eyepieces for more magnification.
The tripod can also adjust for different heights, making it perfect for the whole family. It also has a phone adaptor for those that enjoy taking pictures of the things they see. With this scope, you’ll be able to see the moon, the landscape and even animals for multipurpose use.
|Pros||– 76mm aperture.|
|Cons||– Some reviews mention that it can be hard to focus.|
|Features||– 700mm focal length.|
– 3 eyepieces.
– Smartphone adapter.
2. Best Value: Emarth Refractor Portable Telescope, $59.99
If you’re looking for a decent telescope that does a bit more but also doesn’t break the bank, check out this one. With two different magnification eyepieces, you and your kid will be able to look at the moon in a whole new way.
While not as advanced as some of the other examples on the list, this is still a great beginner-friendly, money-saver when experiencing this hobby.
The scope is easy to use and set up, and the tripod allows your kids to explore different areas of the sky without the hassle of a heavy item to carry. This is the perfect value telescope for kids starting to get interested in space and the sky.
|Pros||– Inexpensive while still being able to see the moon.|
– K10mm and K25mm eyepiece.
|Cons||– Not as high quality as some would want.|
|Features||– 70 mm aperture.|
– Multiple magnification options.
– Reflex finder scope.
1. Best Advanced: Orion 10016 StarBlast 6, $429.99
If you and your kids are enjoying their time spent on the telescope and want something a bit more advanced, or if you’re ready to drop a lot of cash right away to spur on your kids’ interest, check out Orion’s StarBlast 6.
This beast of a telescope weighs about 23 pounds and is perfect to set on a tabletop to look out in the night sky. It’s easy to use, even while being advanced, so it’s perfect for advanced gazers that want to introduce any beginners to the hobby or field.
It does come preassembled, which is perfect for those that don’t want to deal with hauling this about to put it together. It includes 25mm and 10mm Sirius Plossl 1.25″ telescope eyepieces, EZ finder II aiming device, eyepiece rack, starry night software and more. The highest magnification that it can go is 300x.
|Pros||– Clear images.|
– 150mm aperture.
– Delivered pre-assembled.
|Cons||– Tabletop design, no tripod.|
|Feature||– 300 multiplier zoom ration.|
– Reflex finder scope.
– 150mm lens.
– 6″ aperture reflector optics.
Types of Telescopes
Refractors are the most common types of telescopes for kids as well as the most affordable. A long tube attached to a lens magnifies objects in the sky or ground.
Reflectors use a curved mirror instead of a lens for greater clarity and quality with clearer views of the sky than refractors but can’t be used for objects on Earth.
Compounds combine the best of both worlds, as they have both lenses and mirrors to see clearly in space and Earth. These, however, are pricier and now as common when it comes to best kids telescopes.
What to Consider When Choosing a Telescope
Like you’ve noticed above, there are several factors playing in when thinking about a great kid-friendly telescope.
Finding a telescope that is just generally easy to use and setup is also vital, as having anything complicated will only make the experience stressful and unwelcoming for children.
Look for the accessories that are included. While having a basic telescope, having other accessories can make the experience a bit better. For example, the apps that some telescopes include are extremely helpful when kids want to learn about different celestial bodies. Of if your telescope doesn’t come with a tripod, making figure out what works best for the kids and your family as something could cause more stress than needed.
And of course, branded telescopes are always better than others. For instance, Celestron is a popular name and is featured on this list quite often. It might be best to look at their roster of telescopes if you want to make sure you’re getting high-quality.
What to Look for In a Telescope
Granted, all that is great but what about features and specs should you watch for?
Aperture is one of the most important features as it relates to the amount of light that the telescope can capture. The more light, the more you can see. Meaning, the larger the aperture, the better. The basic number is 70mm, so don’t opt for anything below that number.
The type of telescope, like we discussed, is another big factor. While for kids, you’ll most likely just see refractors or reflectors, but it depends on your desires. To start with, I’d say go with a refractor as it just has more options, is more affordable, and easier to use.
Magnification, or the ability to zoom based on eyepieces is another great way to decide. Most telescopes give you multiple eyepieces, so finding one that has a decent magnification so you can see a bit closer to the objects. A lot of magnification along with high aperture could create some amazing views.
How Old Should a Child be to Use a Telescope
Honestly children can start looking at telescopes at a very young age. Like mentioned above, there are even young kid-friendly telescopes that, while are not functional, still provide ample experience and fun for children.
And then with adult supervision, you could start showing your kids how to use them at around age 4-6.
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