When it comes to finding the best telescopes for kids, the mission can prove to be longer than you first thought it might be. Telescopes for kids come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and budgets, from small to large, from cheap to expensive, from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced. The art, craft and science of astronomy is a wonderful way for children to work to discover space, with the help of facts, kits and hands-on observing. Before you research for kids telescopes, you can begin by making them familiar with the science through information; first, start with a good definition, continue with telescope facts for kids (like Hubble telescope facts for kids) and then make them understand how a telescope works.
A nice starting point would be offering them details about the Hubble telescope for kids; you can look for radio shows, interactive reviews for beginners / kids and articles you can read to them. Your little one surely will have lots of questions in store for you, like How does a telescope help you see space?, so be prepared to have your answers at hand. Once you go through facts about the Hubble space telescope for kids, you can look into how to make a telescope for kids and even put one together with your child as a family activity. If you decide on buying a telescope for kids, you might be in need of shopping guidance. This is why we have dedicated an entire article to helping you find the Best Telescopes for Kids. Check out these popular and quality telescopes for children below and see which model is the best for your budget and your child.
Discover the Best Telescopes for Kids in 2016!
1. Orion SkyQuest XT8 Telescope
While our list of telescopes for kids is in no particular order, we have to admit that the Orion SkyQuest XT8 Telescope (click to see our individual review) is truly one of the best telescopes for children. This good telescope for kids is one of the most praised models on Amazon, with 74% of customers currently rating it with 5 stars. Out of over one hundred reviews, almost all of them are positive and customers honestly recommend the Orion SkyQuest XT8 Telescope as one of the top kids telescopes. It is very inexpensive for the value it offers (currently $389.99 on Amazon, with free shipping).
The large aperture will help your child discover breath-taking nebulae and galaxies, while the reflector optics with an 8 inch diameter will aid them in observing planets. It is a great Dobsonian that the entire family can enjoy and that will most likely last for years and years to come. If you purchase the Orion SkyQuest XT8 Telescope on Amazon you will also receive a 25 mm eyepiece (Sirius Plossl), a 2 inch focuser (Crayford – works with 2 inch and 1.25 inch eyepieces), a cap for collimation, an EZ Finder II and specialized software so you can get some extra guidance for observing.
Customers note that it is very easy to assemble and even easier to use, so you can understand why it could be the perfect telescope for kids. If you are looking for budget telescopes for children but you will want to offer an amazing observing experience, the Orion SkyQuest XT8 Telescope is the way to go.
2. Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope
Why not take your family camping trips to a whole new level and introduce your children to observing celestial objects while traveling? For this, Celestron has designed the Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope (click to order on Amazon). Not only is it one of the most awesome telescopes for kids that you could ever hope for, it is also a fantastic way to introduce education on vacations.
In addition to this, the Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Telescope for kids can be your next reason to spend more time with the family in the great outdoors. If you look into the Travel Scope on Amazon, you will instantly notice that it is a #1 best-selling refracting telescope, and for only $85.74 how could you not be interested in it? The refractor comes with a custom-made backpack and it only weighs 3.3 pounds for light traveling. The package comes with both low and high power eyepieces, as well as astronomy software for boosting the educational experience.
The most helpful Amazon review for this product clearly states that: For this price there is no better telescope in the market. As your family progresses with using telescopes, you can use the Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope for some jaw-dropping images through astrophotography. If you want to find out more details about the Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope and see our full individual review, you can click here. We truly recommend this for families who are searching for an authentic adventure with kids telescopes.
3. Meade Instruments 209002 Infinity 60 AZ Refractor Telescope
Why not teach your child to observe the skies both night and day? The Meade Instruments 209002 Infinity 60 AZ Refractor Telescope (click for complete review) is ideal for this situation and is clearly one of the best telescopes for kids on the market. You can treat your kid to quality, fun and interactive education throughout the day by observing the sea or doing some bird-watching while the sun is out, and then move to discovering stars and planets at night.
The Meade Instruments 209002 Infinity 60 AZ Refractor Telescope is just $55 on Amazon, currently at a 27% discount from its original price (did we mention that you also get free shipping?). Let’s take a look at the specs: it has a 2.4 inch aperture (60 mm) and a focal length of 800 mm. You get two eyepieces with your package for different types of viewing: a low magnification eyepiece at 26 mm and a high magnification eyepiece at 6.3 mm. Additionally, it comes with a 2x Barlow lens that can literally double the power of magnification for either of these two eyepieces.
One of the best perks that this telescope presents is that it is a refracting instrument, meaning that you do not have to spend time and energy collimating it (a process also known as alignment). All you have to do is unpack the scope, assemble it and start learning. Customer reviews show that assembly is simple and that the only step that might take a bit of time and experience is focusing the red dot viewfinder.
4. Celestron FirstScope Telescope
It’s no wonder why Celestron named this model the FirstScope, it sincerely is one of the most promising telescopes for kids and adult beginners alike. In our Celestron FirstScope Telescope review, we explained that this 2009 model has received awards and is highly appreciated by customers form across the United States. Almost 400 reviews on Amazon offer the Celestron FirstScope Telescope positive feedback, with customers stating that they are highly pleased with their purchase. Furthermore, it ranks #8 in the Telescopes for Kids category on Amazon and #11 in the general Telescopes category on the same platform, making it one of the best-selling scopes in its class.
The telescope itself is currently just $49.95 on Amazon and also benefits from free shipping. The tube can be moved so you can easily navigate and it also includes two eyepieces. The FirstScope is very lightweight (only 4.5 pounds) and is 9 inches long, 9 inches wide and 16 inches tall. The reflector optical tube has a 76 mm aperture and can easily be used by kids.
The FirstScope, a reflecting Newtonian telescope, was inspired by Galileo Galilei and is bound to serve as an intriguing history lesson for your kids, as well. Just like the Travel Scope we described above, the Celestron FirstScope Telescope is also an excellent choice for traveling to remote areas to observe in the best conditions. Pack up your scope, gather the family and take a drive towards an unforgettable observing experience.
5. Orion 10034 GoScope II 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope Moon Kit
One of the greatest issues that come up when looking for telescopes for kids is that they take up a lot of space. We all already know how difficult observing can be in urban areas, especially those with light or air pollution. Like we previously mentioned, we have to travel to certain regions where there are as little buildings, lights and all-around pollution as possible to truly enjoy viewing the night skies. This is where the Orion 10034 GoScope II 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope Moon Kit (click for a complete review) comes in.
This compact, portable and trusted telescope is exactly what you need to create a family vacation to remember. You and your spouse will be thrilled to see how easily it can fit into the trunk of your car (it only weighs 3.5 pounds and is 14.5 inches long, 11 inches wide and 20 inches tall), especially thanks to its useful backpack. It is one of the top 5 best-selling refracting telescopes on Amazon, partly owing to the fact that it is only $89.99. It is designed and manufactured by Orion, one of the most respected companies in the telescope industry.
Add that you get a finder scope (5 by 24), one 25 mm eyepiece (for 16 power magnification), a 10 mm eyepiece (for 40 power magnification), free shipping for your package and a free Orion Moon Map 260 (valued at $13) and you really have all the reasons to purchase it for your child and, frankly, the entire family.
6. TwinStar AstroMark 50mm 75x Power Refractor Telescope
With a huge discount of more than 50% off on Amazon, it’s hard to not consider the TwinStar AstroMark 50mm 75x Power Refractor Telescope for your child. For just $49.99 (plus free shipping) you can enjoy one of the most popular beginner telescopes in the refractor category. The scope is really easy to set up and use, all you have to do is point and shoot to get some amazing images.
The TwinStar AstroMark 50mm 75x Power Refractor Telescope has an achromatic objective lens (50 mm), a focal length of 600 mm and it comes with a wide range of goodies: a tripod (full size), Altazimuth mount, a 30 x magnification eyepiece (H20 mm), a 48x magnification eyepiece (H12.5mm – both eyepieces have a diameter of .965 inches), as well as access to an online guide for assembly that takes you through all of the necessary steps.
Amazon customers gladly state that it is an excellent idea for gifts for children and that you get decent value for the price you pay. Please keep in mind that this is a telescope for beginners, and for kids in particular, so do not expect to get a top-notch professional telescope. However, it is one of the best telescopes for kids around age 10, so think about it when shopping for the instrument for your child.
7. Celestron 21041 60mm PowerSeeker Telescope
As we explained in our Celestron 21041 60mm PowerSeeker Telescope review, it’s hard to find a telescope that can fit into a tight budget, but that still offers great value (you are paying for it, in the end). The great part about the Celestron 21041 60mm PowerSeeker Telescope is that it is exceptional from this point of view; it is one of the most celebrated and praised telescopes for kids and beginners on the market. It’s a delightful choice if you want to travel with your family but still benefit from a quality product that is worth your money. The Celestron 21041 60mm PowerSeeker Telescope is a refractor, which means that it is simple to set up and use; another reason why it works so well for children.
One of the perks of buying the Celestron 21041 60mm PowerSeeker Telescope on Amazon is that you also get a 3X Barlow lens, which takes the magnification of each eyepiece and triples the power. Your order also comes with a 5 x 24 finder scope, astronomy software and two 1.25 inch eyepieces. You can use it to observe both terrestrial objects, as well as celestial ones, so you get the best of both worlds.
At the moment, the Celestron 21041 60mm PowerSeeker Telescope is just $59.99,with no shipping fee included. The majority of customer reviews recommend this scope for beginners (especially kids), as it can help them ease into the world of astronomy at a nice pace. One of the greatest advantages that this scope has against others is that you get an abundance of accessories just by ordering the telescope; most of them usually come with the instrument itself and an eyepiece or two. This is a lovely opportunity to make a small investment and save money on other accessories you might want at one point or another for viewing.
How to Teach Kids to Use a Telescope: Tips & Tricks
If you have reached this section of our Best Telescopes for Kids article, it means that you have either decided on your favorite scope or you have already bought one and want to learn how you can pass on knowledge to your child. Like with any other activity, teaching your kid to use a telescope can be a bit challenging, depending on their personality. Above all, the key is to make the activity itself as attractive as possible, emphasizing the fun part and including the educational aspect just as a side note. Here are a few tips and tips that might come in handy when teaching your kids about how to use a telescope and about astronomy, in general:
You don’t always have to offer your child all of the instructions from the beginning; sometimes the most exciting part of the entire process is to allow them to discover how themselves. You can let your kid play around with the telescope and find out what each part and piece does by experimenting. Encourage them to view the night skies and describe what they see; this way, you will help them develop their vocabulary, descriptive skills, imagination and knowledge all at the same time.
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
Remember when you were a child and you were fascinated by colorful books, with as many pictures as possible? The situation is exactly the same for your kid right now. The younger you are, the more attracted you are to visual learning and seeing information, rather than reading it in words. This situation is exactly the same for astronomy; make sure that you are well prepared with charts, diagrams and all sorts of pictures that can aid you in the teaching process. By showing your child images of what they are about to witness in the skies they will be noticeably more engaged in this activity.
Depending on what type of telescope you have, setting up a telescope can be easy or difficult. This is the reason why we recommend telescopes that do not require collimation (alignment) for beginners and children. You should walk your child through all of the necessary steps to set up the telescope, work with focusing, aiming and spotting and moving the scope to observe various objects. You can consult our complete guide on How to Use a Telescope for detailed instructions for different types of scopes. In the end, you should make observing an entertaining and informative activity, never forgetting to have fun and enjoy the quality time spent with your little one.