Getting started in astronomy and stargazing? Want to learn and understand astrophotography? We’ve put together a list of the best telescopes for kids to get started.
Viewing space should always be a fun, educational experience. There is so much to see, learn and understand about our solar system as well as distant galaxies. Below are 5 great telescopes to get your children interested in astronomy.
Best Telescope For Kids 2021
Celestron 76mm Firstscope
- 76mm Reflector Optical Tube
- High Quality Stand
- Table Top Design
- Two Eyepieces
- Easy to Use
- Decorative Design
Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm
- 76mm Lens
- Provides Great Views
- Has Two Eyepieces
- Includes Barlow Lens
- Altazimuth Mount and Tripod
- Comes with flashlight
- Has a Guide Book
- Moon Map Included
Orion StarBlast 90mm Altaz
- 90mm Refractor Telescope
- Two Eyepieces Included
- Barlow Lens
- Easy to Use Mount
- Tripod Included
- Mini LED Flashlight
- Moon Map & Star Target
- Comes with Carry Case
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The list of telescopes below has been curated specifically for children. They’re easy to use, affordable telescopes for getting started in astronomy and stargazing in general.
As with all of our buyer’s guides, we’ve only included telescopes that are manufactured by reputable brands so you can be sure even though the telescopes are designed with children in mind, they’re high quality and built to last.
1. Celestron 76mm Firstscope - Best For Kids
- 76mm Reflector Optical Tube: Makes it a great entry level item.
- High Quality Stand: Stand is a Dobsonian style.
- Table Top Design: Making it easy to store.
- Two Eyepieces: 20mm and 4mm to get different magnifications.
- Portable: This makes it easy to use at home or elsewhere.
- Lightweight: Easy for kids to carry around.
- Easy to Use: This means that children need no prior knowledge to use it.
- Decorative Design: It will look good in any child’s bedroom.
Celestron 76mm Firstscope
Children will find this entry-level telescope attractive and easy to use. It has a good quality stand but is lightweight which means that it is easy for children to carry and position. The design makes it a fun thing for them to have in their bedrooms and the tabletop style makes it easy to store. It has a 76mm reflector optical tube with two different eyepieces with different magnification which means that it can see more and less detailed views of things. The smaller magnification lens can be used to spot things and then it can be seen in more detail with the other.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Secure and stable base.
- Great quality for the price.
- No assembly required.
- Comparable to high end scopes.
- No software included.
2. Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm
- 76mm Lens: Has great light gathering properties for a clearer image.
- Provides Great Views: Can see the moon, planets and nebulas.
- Has Two Eyepieces: Two sizes for different distances of viewing.
- Includes Barlow Lens: This will increase the magnification of the eyepieces for even more details.
- Has an Altazimuth Mount and Tripod: To allow the scope to be easily handled and stabilised.
- Comes With a Flashlight: So that you can easily see the eyepieces when you are changing them in the dark.
- Has a Guide Book: So you can find out the sorts of things that you should be looking for.
- Moon Map Included: To identify different features of the moon when you are viewing it.
Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm Altazimuth Reflector Telescope Kit
The Orion SpaceProble II has a lot of great features. It has a 76mm lens which means that a lot of light can enter and that means that the image will be clear and crisp. It is possible to see the moon and planets as well as nebulas as well. There are two different eyepieces and a Barlow lens which means there is a good choice of magnifications so you will be able to pick one that will work for you. The mount and tripod make it really easy to support the telescope and so it can be used really easily. It comes with a selection of guides and books so beginners will be able to get guidance on what to look at.
3. Orion StarBlast 90mm Altaz
- 90mm Refractor Telescope: Has a large lens to let in plenty of light.
- Two Eyepieces Included: has a 20x and 56x magnification lens.
- Barlow Lens: Will increase the magnification of the eyepieces.
- Easy to Use Mount: To control the position of the telescope easily.
- Tripod Included: Can be easily altered in height and has an accessory tray.
- Mini LED Flashlight: To help you to look at the lenses and books in the dark.
- Moon Map & Star Target: So you can learn all about the things that you are looking for.
- Comes with Carry Case: Easy to transport safely and to store.
Orion StarBlast 90mm Altaz Travel Refractor Telescope Kit
If you want a large lens to let in lots of light for crisp and clear images, then this could be a good choice. It has a choice of eyepieces for different magnifications as well as a Barlow lens which will increase those magnifications to give lots of choice for different details of view. The tripod and mount are easy to use and set up and will keep the telescope stable. There is an accessory tray on the tripod to place the lenses so they are easy to keep safe as you swap them in and out. The moon map and star target help to know exactly what to look for.
4. Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ
- Very Easy to Set Up: So great for beginners.
- Coated Glass Optics: This will provide great quality images.
- Two Eyepieces Included: A 20mm and 10mm for views with different details.
- Erect Image: For day and night viewing.
- Pan Handle Control Mount: This makes it easy to track objects and position the telescope.
- Preassembled Tripod: For ease of use with a handy accessory tray.
- Rugged Items: So they can withstand some rough treatment – great for kids.
- Astronomy Software Included: With a 10,000 object database, sky maps and more.
Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope
Beginners will find this set easy to set up and use and it comes with software that will help with identifying what to look for in the night sky. This will make it easier to get started with stargazing. The telescope itself has coated optics that will let in lots of light to clear images which are the right way up for day and night viewing. There are different sized eyepieces so that you can get different views. The telescope comes with mount and tripod which are also easy to use and mean that it can be kept stable wherever it is being used.
5. Sky-Watcher Infinity-76P
- 30x Magnification: To be able to see night sky images.
- 76mm Lens: To draw in lots of light for quality images that are sharp and bright.
- Has Eyepieces: To get better views than most kids telescopes.
- Upright Design: To make it easy to view the sky.
- Focussing Screw: So images can be clearly seen.
- Easy to Manoeuvre: Up, down, left and right movements possible to easily observe the sky.
- Table Support: To make it safe and secure when being used.
- Gift Box: Ideal present idea for any child.
Sky-Watcher Infinity-76P Telescope with Parabolic Mirror 76mm
Many children’s telescopes are not of good quality but this one has a large lens to draw in lots of light for clearer and crisper images. It has different eyepieces to see the sky at different levels of magnification. It has a mount that is easy to move and so is ideal for children to scan the sky. It can be fixed to a tabletop which means that it can be kept secure when children are using it. It gives upright images which means that it can be used for terrestrial views as well as celestial ones. It comes with a gift box and so would make a great present.
Telescopes for Kids Buyer’s Guide & Advice
Buying a child-friendly telescope can be tricky. A children’s one will often be very basic and could be disappointing, but you do not want to pay for a really expensive one if it is not rugged enough for children to use or perhaps too complex. It is therefore worth making sure that you know what to look out for.
Ease of Use
Children may be put off using a telescope if it is too difficult to use. They may not always have an adult present to show them how to use it and so they may use it less for that reason. They may also not like an adult having to do it for them, especially if they are a bit older and like to be independent. Of course, you do not want it to be too simplistic though or else they may just think it is for babies as they get older and not use it. Therefore, it needs to be simple enough but not too basic.
Children tend to be rougher with things than adults and so having a pretty rugged item can be helpful. If you are keeping it fixed in one place then this will not be quite so important but if you plan on taking it out and about, then having something durable can be helpful anyway. It is worth looking at the telescope, mount and stand to see how rugged they seem to be and whether it looks like they will be up for some rougher treatment.
It is important to think about the weight, both of the single items as well as all of them together. This is for several reasons:
- Manoeuvrability in the home – If you want to be able to move the telescope around in the home then you may need to make sure that it is portable. If it is heavy, an adult may have to do this and you will need to consider whether there will be an adult always available and willing to do this or whether you would rather have a weight that the child can deal with by themselves.
- Kids can put them together – If the telescope is going to be taken apart for storage then you may want it to be light enough so that it can be put together by the child.
- Transporting them – If you are planning on using the telescope outside and in different locations then it might be the case that the weight will need to be considered for this to make sure that it is possible to easily carry it around as needed.
The image is really important. To get the perfect image you will need a large lens so that it lets in lots of light and some eyepieces which will give a good magnification. Sometimes a Barlow lens can be handy to increase the magnification more and to give more options with regards to magnification strength. You may be able to buy extra lenses and eyepieces, but it can be useful to start with some decent ones so that you can work out whether star gazing is popular with the child. If they have lower quality items they may not be so enthusiastic about using them as they cannot get the quality of images that they were hoping for.
Guide Books / Information
Having some guides and books could be useful for someone new to astronomy. Some children’s telescopes will have these included. However, it might be the case that the child already has some or perhaps they will not be interested in them. It is possible to buy them separately too, so you will need to take a look at the items which have them packaged together and whether you think that it is worth getting them included or not.
Telescopes for Kids / Children FAQ
It is a good idea to think about whether you want the telescope to be really simple or whether it can be a little more complex. This could very much depend on the age of your child and how much help they will be able to have with using the telescope. If it is only tricky to assemble, then perhaps a parent will be able to help with this each time but if it is hard to operate then this will mean there will need to help each time.
This really depends on what you are looking for. If you just want something that is fun and will be used a few times then you will not really need to worry about paying much. As long as it works well enough to spot a few items that will be fine. However, if you are looking for something that will help to nurture a special hobby or you know that they will use it a lot so it needs to last, then you could be prepared to pay more. You also need to consider that there may be siblings that might be interested in using it too or whether parents or other family members might have an interest. All of these factors will determine whether it is worth paying a bit more money or not.
If you are buying for a younger child then getting a telescope that is suitable for their needs means that getting a child’s model is probably for the best. It will be simpler and lighter and will look fun and may even come with books and other items that can help a beginner learn more about stargazing. However, an older child may be better suited to an adults model as it will be more sophisticated. It will also normally be more expensive and complex and so you will have to decide whether it is the right choice. Consider how long it might be used for and who might be using it as well. It might be that there are adults interested as well as children.