10 Best Telescopes for Kids in 2017

best telescope for kids

Astronomy is one of the most fascinating subjects for young children. With children’s songs alluding to heavenly bodies up above and many children’s stories revolving around the sun, the moon, and the stars, it’s not really difficult to comprehend why kids are captivated by things that we can never hold in our hands. Perhaps, it is for this reason that the stars up in the heavens can command such vivid imagination from our kids. What better way to help them understand astronomy and really appreciate these stellar bodies than with the ten best telescopes for kids? While some of the products in our selection are for make-believe purposes, they are nonetheless wonderful introduction to the concept of using telescopes to see very far objects.

10 Best Telescopes for Kids

Celestron 21035 70mm Travel ScopeCelestron5
Black Twinstar 60mm Compact Kids Refractor TelescopeTwin Star4.9
Educational Insights Nancy B's Science Club Moonscope & Sky Gazers Activity JournalEducational Insights4.8
Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First TelescopeEducational Insights4.7
TwinStar 60mm Compact Refractor AstroVenture TelescopeTwin Star4.6
Balance Living Refractor Telescope (50X /100X) with TripodBalance Living4.5

1Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope by Celestron

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The Celestron 21035 is an excellent starter kit for school aged children who have already a grasp of the basics of astronomy. With a super compact design, the Celestron 21035 can be easily slipped in its accompanying soft carrying case that is designed like a backpack. Featuring an f-stop of f/5.7 and a 70mm aperture, the Celestron 21035 is one amazing optical device capable of giving your kids fantastic views of the wildlife during daytime and more amazing scenes of the stars and other heavenly bodies during the night. This is made possible by a dual eyepiece for different magnifications. A 20mm eyepiece gives your kid excellent 20x magnification while the 10mm eyepiece deliver an even more stunning up-close scene with 40x magnification. And if you’re thinking with all of these technologies involved, you’re going to break your bank with the Celestron 21035, the use of a variety of plastic components has surprisingly reduced its overall cost. Not only is the price reduced, even its weight has been dramatically reduced because of these technologies. The Celestron 21035 also includes an astronomy software which your child can use to turn his or her computer into a magnificent virtual planetarium. It also comes with a very sturdy tripod to help stabilize the observation.

What We Like about It – Whether it’s the Milky Way or some migratory birds resting beyond your backyard, you’ll have no problems visualizing every detail. The optical quality and compact size are remarkable as well.

2Black Twin Star 60mm Compact Kids Refractor Telescope by Twin Star

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If you want an easy to use telescope, the Black Twin Star Compact Kids Refractor Telescope is the one to get. It’s as easy as propping the tripod, attaching the scope, inserting the eyepiece, and that’s it. Your kid can now look into the stars and the planets of the Solar System. While the Black Twin Star is a kiddie scope, it is powerful enough to give your child a glimpse of the main craters of the moon, the moons of Jupiter, and even the rings of Saturn. Binary stars such as the Big Dipper will also come into full view with the Black Twin Star, thanks to its powerful 60mm aperture; although a bit lower than that of the Celestron. There are two eyepieces included. A 6mm eyepiece allows for 15x magnification which should be excellent for viewing and scanning the surface of the moon. The 20mm eyepiece with 50x magnification should be sufficient for scanning more distant heavenly bodies like Jupiter and Saturn.

What We Like about It – Its portability and ease of setting up more than make up for its modest aperture rating. It is a great optical device that will enable all members of the family to enjoy watching the stars in the heavens.

3Nancy B’s Science Club Moonscope & Sky Gazers Activity Journal by Educational Insights

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Both the Black Twin Star and the Celestron are marvelous looking telescopes but they don’t look anything like kiddie scopes. The Nancy B’s Science Club Moonscope is the perfect example of a kiddie telescope with toy-like features. But don’t be fooled by its colorful and fun design as this scope and provide your kid with magnificent views of the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. It’s got 18x magnification courtesy of its 4mm eyepiece as well as 90x magnification from its 20mm eyepiece. The optics used in the eyepieces is all glass, not plastic. The Nancy B’s comes with the 22-page Sky Gazers activity journal which guides your child on how to begin his or her celestial adventure. It comes with a very sturdy tripod as well as a moon filter to enable your kid to visualize the mountain ranges on the lunar surface. Who says that a scope with toy-like appearance cannot provide the functionality of a professional telescope?

What We Like about It – It may look like a toy but the Nancy B’s is one fully functional celestial scope perfect for budding astronomers. Teaching kids the basics of astronomy has never been this fun and effective.

4GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope by Educational Insights

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Built specifically for preschoolers, the GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope is a great tool for introducing astronomy and telescoping to children who have yet to enter school. Just don’t expect the My First Telescope to provide your preschooler or toddler a great view of the outer planets like Jupiter and Saturn. At most, your kid will be able to visualize the moon, albeit not the full details of its famed mountain ranges and impact craters. The kiddie scope features a 10x magnification capability with a minimum focusing distance of 100 feet. Any object that is less than 100 feet away will not be in sharp focus. Unlike the monocular eyepieces of professional grade scopes, the GeoSafari comes with binocular eyepieces so your kiddo will not be straining to see Mr. Moon up close.

What We Like about It – It is a toy, first and foremost. But it is also a functional scope so it should be a great introductory astronomy instrument for young children.

5Handheld Brass Telescope with Wooden Box for Pirate Navigation by ITDC

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Is your kid a fan of Captain Jack Sparrow? Does he or she envision himself or herself to be following in the footsteps of the legendary Captain Hook? No matter which pirate he or she admires, there’s one gadget that all pirates or any other seafaring master cannot do without: a telescope. With a very rustic, antique look, the Pirate Navigation Handheld Brass Telescope looks more like it’s the scope that Captain Jack used to spot the Black Pearl. This makes for an excellent tool for kids’ make-believe play as well as role playing activities. Capable of magnifying objects up to 3x their size, the Pirate Navigation doesn’t disappoint either. It comes with a beautifully finished wooden box to complete the feel of a pirate instrument.

What We Like about It – It may not enable your kid to view the planetary bodies, but it sure can provide an interesting props for pirate pretend play.

6Astro Venture 60mm Compact Refractor Telescope by Twin Star

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If you think the Black Twin Star looks spectacular, just wait until you see the Astro Venture. This scope from Twin Star actually features the same specs as the other variant. The only difference is that the Astro Venture has a bulkier scope and a more stable mount for superb celestial viewing. It comes with an Altazimuth mount that provides superb stabilization while focusing the lens of the Astro Venture. It has the same 15x and 50x magnification provided by its 6mm and 20mm eyepieces, respectively. This enables your kid to view some of the major satellites of Jupiter as well as the fantastic ring cloud of Saturn. At any rate, viewing the craters of the moon will be made even more vivid because of the excellent combination of stability, ease of operation, and powerful magnification.

What We Like about It – The Astro Venture is a great starter kit for young astronomers. There’s no complicated operation; just plain point and view.

7Edu-Toys Mobile 20/30/40x Telescope by Elenco

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First and foremost, the Edu-Toys Mobile 20/30/40x 30mm Telescope is a toy and should not really be taken seriously as an astronomy instrument. It’s good for viewing birds and other wildlife as the 40x maximum magnification can work pretty well with the 30mm lens. But if you’re thinking that the Edu-Toys will let your child view the lunar craters, it might not be possible. Nevertheless, it is one excellent toy scope that should give your 8 to 12 year old child the feeling of looking into the skies. Complete with a tripod, an eyepiece, and the scope, the Edu-Toys is good enough to help children begin to appreciate astronomy.

What We Like about It – The Edu-Toys has a rather realistic celestial scope design. Too bad, it won’t give your kid a great view of the moon.

8Balance Living Refractor Telescope (50x/100x) with Tripod by Balance Living

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Need a sleeker profile for a telescope? Then the Balance Living Refractor Telescope should fit the bill just right. With a 50mm aperture and a minimum f-stop of f/12, the Balance Living can provide young kids with the opportunity to study the different objects in our Milky Way. Behind the lens is a mirror that refracts light into its glass eyepieces for a magnification of either 50x or 100x. Getting acquainted with the heavenly body that provides illumination during the night has just become a lot more fun. So is the learning of the other planets in our Solar System. With superior tripod lock mechanisms, your kid will be getting crisp and clear images every time.

What We Like about It – The Balance Living is a great tool for instilling love for astronomy in your child. Its sleek profile is also admirable.

9GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope by Educational Insights

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Part kiddie telescope, part slide viewer, the GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope is one of the most educationally beneficial toys we’ve seen so far that has something to do with astronomy and wildlife. The different colorful slides feature images of both celestial bodies and the animal kingdom. When kids insert the slide onto the viewing deck, he or she will learn more interesting facts about the image in the slide, complete with sound effects to make the learning more sensory. Once learning is done, your kid can always detach the 4x telescope from its base and he or she will be seeing his or her world in an entirely different perspective.

What We Like about It – The educational benefits of the Talking Telescope is more than welcome as kids now will have a more fun way to learn about outer space and some of the animals that we often view using scopes.

10PRO Series Refractor Telescope by Discover with Dr. Cool 

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Boasting of the most powerful lens aperture in our list at 80mm, the PRO Series Refractor Telescope is not only for budding astronomers but also for more advanced users. The focal length stands at 720mm with a very powerful 288x optics as well as a 3x Barlow which effectively increases the degree of magnification of the image, giving you superb views of Saturn and Jupiter as well as other celestial bodies like star clusters and binary stars. There’s even a red dot finder scope and a fully adjustable zooming eyepiece. The moon filter should give your kid a spectacular look at the pock-marked face of the moon. It even comes with a universal phone adapter so you can instantly snap pictures of what your kid has seen through the lens.

What We Like about It – With such powerful magnification, the PRO Series is one excellent instrument for appreciating everything outside of this earth.

How We Chose the Amazing Kiddie Telescopes in Our List

We were not quite sure how to approach this particular project since it telescopes are superb pieces of optical engineering. While we do recognize that kids deserve only the best kind of telescope they could possibly have, they might not really be able to appreciate the rather complex knowledge associated with astronomy. We cannot go for purely telescope toys, either; although we do recognize the need of kids to use their imagination. So, we decided to strike a balance between the play needs of children and their need for learning. This is the reason why there are real telescopes in our list and there are also toy telescopes that are designed primarily to stimulate the imagination of children during make-believe or pretend play.

That being said, we made sure that the toy telescopes are appropriate for the developmental age of kids. Different features were carefully evaluated and then analyzed as to what developmental benefits the toy can provide. The safety and quality construction of the product were also examined and correlated with the trustworthiness of the company that made it.

As for the kiddie telescopes, there were three things that we had to look for: the quality of the optics, the stability of the platform, and the diameter of the telescope’s aperture. These three are very important in any type of telescope as they do allow for a more superb experience. Unfortunately, we had to compromise a bit as high quality optics can easily translate to thousands of dollars. The same is true with the aperture. The greater the aperture, the more expensive it is. And since we’re only talking about beginners’ telescopes, then something that’s affordable yet functional should be the main focus of our search. And that’s exactly what we did.

How You Can Choose the Right Telescope for Your Kid

Choosing a telescope for your child can be quite tricky. When choosing your kid’s first telescope it is often important to consider a variety of things. While you can always refer to a comprehensive parents’ guide to children’s telescopes, sometimes you only need to consider the following.

  • Your kid’s interests – This is very important as a child who clearly has no interest in astronomy will be bored to death and you’ll end up with another junk in your basement or even backyard. Make sure to introduce your child first to astronomy concepts before buying a telescope. The same is true if you want wildlife viewing.
  • Your budget – True telescopes can range between $100 and $5,000. Before you head out to your favorite retailer, ask yourself how much you’re prepared to shell out.
  • Your understanding of the basics – This is related to the second point, your budget. Know that telescopes are excellent pieces of engineering ingenuity. The more sophisticated the construction, the greater is the telescoping experience. Unfortunately, it’s also pricier. So, you need to strike a balance between what’s functionally acceptable and what’s economically feasible. To help you with this, you’ll need to understand aperture, optics, and the mount. A good starting point is to choose an aperture of at least 70mm for superb astronomical observations. Also, don’t buy into the magnification bandwagon. A good rule of thumb to follow is to always get a telescope with a maximum magnification that is no more than twice its diameter in millimeters. For instance, if you have a 70mm aperture, the maximum power you must look for is 140x. Any value greater than this can lead to fuzzy viewings.

The Bottom Line

Astronomy may not be everyone’s favorite but it sure can draw fascination from many kids. With these 10 best telescopes for kids, you can now help grow your kids’ fascination or initiate them to the wonderful world of astronomy.

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Selina Marie
Selina Marie is our head of content for MyKidNeedsThat.com, mum of two and a self proclaimed toy geek. When she isn't juggling the madness at home, on a school run or baking her world famous blueberry muffins, you will find her product researching and keeping the site freshly updated with the latest toys and fun for our readers!


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