Best Telescope for Kids | Full Reviews 2020

For millennia, we have all been fascinated by the night sky and the mysteries of the cosmos. This is particularly true for kids, and when they are introduced to a telescope, it can open up a whole new world of exploration for them.

Now they can see the stars, planetary bodies and our moon with their own eyes instead of reading about them in books. Astronomy is a fascinating and engrossing subject that can last a lifetime and even turn into an interesting career path for the most dedicated.

The best way to foster or support an interest is to purchase a telescope for your kids. But, if you’re not familiar with telescopes, this can be an intimidating process. The technical jargon takes some time to learn, and this can make research a frustrating process for many people.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that kids can go through phases where they are passionate about the subject for a short period. This is natural, but it can lead to making expensive purchases for no reason, and no-one wants a telescope that doesn’t get used.

Luckily, telescopes are more affordable now than ever before, and kid’s telescopes are geared towards simplicity. Many of the telescopes on our list are ready to use straight out of the box, and some have plenty of accessories to keep your kids entertained. Let’s take a closer look at seven of the best kids telescopes on the market today.

Best Telescopes for Kids

ProductImageTelescope TypeMore Details
Meade Infinity 102Meade Instruments 209006 Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor TelescopeRefractorCheck Price
Celestron Astromaster 130EQ​Celestron - AstroMaster 130EQ Newtonian Telescope - Reflector Telescope for Beginners - Fully-Coated Glass Optics - Adjustable-Height Tripod - BONUS Astronomy Software PackageNewtonian ReflectorCheck Price
Twinstar 60mmTwinstar 60mm Refractor Telescope (Black)RefractorCheck Price
Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science StargazerEducational Insights Nancy B's Science Club MoonScope, Telescope for Kids, Great to Explore Space, Moon, & StarsRefractorCheck Price
Solomark Telescope for KidsTelescope for Kids 70mm Apeture Travel Scope 400mm AZ Mount - Good Partner to View Moon and Planet - Good Travel Telescope with Backpack for Kids and BeginnersRefractorCheck Price
Celestron 22030 Travel ScopeCelestron - 80mm Travel Scope - Portable Refractor Telescope - Fully-Coated Glass Optics - Ideal Telescope for Beginners - BONUS Astronomy Software Package - Digiscoping Smartphone AdapterRefractorCheck Price
Celestron 31036 AstromasterCelestron 31036 AstroMaster LT 76AZ Breathtaking Views, Astronomical Telescope, BlueNewtonian ReflectorCheck Price

Meade Infinity 102

The Meade Instruments Infinity 102 Refractor Telescope has a generous 102mm aperture that’s ideal for viewing celestial and terrestrial objects. So, if you’re child is an aspiring astronomer or ornithological enthusiast, this telescope can fit the bill. There are three broad magnification eyepieces; they are: low, medium, and high.

These offer a nice focal range for beginners, but the included Barlow lens can double the magnification on each eyepiece for even greater clarity at impressive ranges. A red dot viewfinder is provided for more accurate tracking over longer distances.

This telescope is supplied with an Altazimuth mount to connect to any tripod system. This mount is a fantastic addition because the controls are fully adjustable for those slow motion tracking tasks when you need to capture an eclipse.

This is the largest telescope in the Infinity lineup, and as you might expect, it offers the clearest images. Of course, this makes this telescope the most expensive in the range too, but this offers good value for money.

The Meade Instruments Infinity 102 Refractor Telescope is a good instrument, and it offers a great deal of clarity for a relatively small investment. The design is aimed at slightly older kids than some of the other telescopes on our list.

Younger children that are especially mature for their age may be able to use this telescope with a few minor issues. But, it’s important to note that there are a number of smaller components that could represent a choking hazard for little ones.

Pros

  • The 102mm aperture has an impressive range.
  • The red dot viewfinder is a great way to track objects.
  • The three eyepieces offer a lot of versatility.

Cons

  • The smaller components make this unsuitable for smaller children.

Verdict

This is listed as ideal for 8-11 year olds, but it actually suits children much younger than that (3+). If you have a young child this may suit, but the other telescopes I’ve listed are more comprehensive and offer a better experience.

Celestron Astromaster 130EQ

The Celestron 31045 Astromaster 130 EQ Reflector Telescope has a lot of special features, and this may deter parents of younger potential astronomers. But, this should not be a barrier, this telescope can be very deep, but it’s designed to be friendly for kids.

A prime example of this is the “Star Pointer” this is a red dot in the telescope that helps the new astronomer to find objects in the sky. This is a great feature; the knob has notches that are clearly marked to track the movements.

This telescope is compatible with the “Starry Night” software, so the learning can continue at any time after packing the scope away. This program can be used on a smartphone or computer, and it presents over 10,000 celestial objects that you and your kids can find and observe together.

The included tripod is a great tool for adjusting the viewing angles to find distant constellations and follow stars as the Earth moves. Astrophotography is also possible if you order this telescope with an optional smartphone mounting system.

The Celestron 31045 Astromaster 130 EQ Reflector Telescope includes two eyepieces 10mm and 20mm with a magnification of 6x and 33x. These are used to control the quality and image depth with impressive quality for this type of product. This is a good starting telescope that’s a step up from some of the telescopes aimed at younger kids on our list.

This telescope could be used by slightly older beginners, and it would offer enough for intermediate users too. However, this telescope is user friendly, mature younger kids will find this easy to use, and the scope will grow with them as they gain experience.

Pros

  • The knobs are fully adjustable.
  • The “Star Pointer” is easy to use.
  • This telescope is compatible with the “Starry Night” software.

Cons

  • This is not a great option if you want to view terrestrial objects.

Verdict

If you want a telescope for older kids and teenagers, then this is a good starting point. Newtonian reflectors usually offer great ‘bang for your buck’, with the 130EQ being a great example of a powerful yet cheap telescope.

Black Twinstar 60mm Compact Kids Telescope

The Black Twinstar 60mm Compact Kids Telescope is a great product to introduce kids to astronomy. This refracting telescope can be set up and put away in around five minutes, and you simply point it at what you want to observe.

The telescope has a 300mm focal length with 15x and 50x magnification from the 6mm and 20mm lenses. A 2x Barlow lens is also included with magnifications of 30x and 100x, and if the 1.5x “Erecting Eyepiece” is used, the magnification is increased by 150%.

The larger objective lens is a full refractor telescope that provides astonishingly clear views of the moon and other objects in our solar system. With more experience, it’s even possible to view deep space objects such as binary star systems and the Orion Nebulae. The eyepieces are a fantastic option for close object viewing during the day. These two features combined together make this a very versatile option for kids to view nature close up and very far away.

This may sound complex, but the Black Twinstar 60mm Compact Kids Telescope is ready to use within five minutes of opening the box. A full sized Aluminum tripod and accompanying Altazimuth Mount are provided with this telescope. This offers the user a number of different viewing options, and it can easily fold away into a traveling bag.

Pros

  • This is a very versatile telescope for night and day use.
  • This product is easy to set up and start using straight out of the box.
  • The full sized aluminum tripod adds a great deal of value.

Cons

  • This may be a little complex for very young kids.

Verdict

This refractor telescope is cheap and very portable, so you can easily take it with you anywhere and set it up quickly. A good choice for those brand new to astronomy.

Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Moonscope and Star Gazer

This is a bright and colorful telescope that ideal for kids that like to work things out on their own. The telescope is comprised of adjustable sections that are interchangeable, and they can be swapped out to carry out different types of stargazing.

This may sound overly complex, but this telescope is actually pretty simple in practice. There are scopes, lenses, filters, and tripods to experiment with as the child finds the right pieces to achieve their goal.

The stand out feature of the Nancy B telescope is called the “Moonscope” which has a pair of 2mm and 20mm eyepieces and two magnification settings 18x and 90x.

This is a great way to look at the moon, and your child can zoom right in on the lunar craters. Even on an overcast night, a kid can set up their telescope and scan the skies like a true astronomer and select their best settings.

The Nancy B telescope has some other notable features that kids will love. A special filter can be placed on the lens if those celestial objects are too bright to view with the naked eye. The power levels can be viewed with a simple LED light system. There’s even a 22 page journal that kids can use to record their observations, compare lunar phase, and learn more about astronomy.

This is a great first telescope for any child, the format places them in the driving seat, and they can experiment as they watch the night skies.

Pros

  • This telescope has a simple design with plenty of viewing options.
  • There is a decent range of magnification.

Cons

  • Only predetermined magnifications can be used.

Verdict

This is listed as ideal for 8-11 year olds, but it actually suits children much younger than that (3+). If you have a young child this may suit, but the other telescopes I’ve listed are more comprehensive and offer a better experience.

Solomark Telescope for Kids

The Solomark Telescope for Kids comes with a lot of stuff, including the telescope, a tripod, a finder scope, a 3x Barlow lens, a sunshade, a smartphone adaptor, a 9mm and 20mm eyepiece and a backpack to carry everything. All of the pieces combine together to give your child an effective and easy to use telescope.

Setting up the 9mm or 20mm eyepiece to observe the night skies is simple, and if they want to watch something else, they can use the Barlow lens. Every kid likes to take pictures and videos, and they can connect their favorite device to the included smartphone mount.

Having all this stuff straight out of the box is fantastic, but it may seem a little intimidating for the new astronomer. However, this shouldn’t be a concern; the Solomark Telescope for Kids is a ready to grab and use immediately. All of the extra parts are optional extras that your kid can start to use when they become more comfortable with the telescope.

The best way to approach the Solomark Telescope for Kids is to consider it as a simple and yet versatile telescope that can grow with your child. Even a toddler can use the basic telescope straight out of the box, but an older child or perhaps even a teenager will get a lot of use out of those accessories later.

This is a great little telescope that kids in a wide age band will appreciate, and it’s fun for the entire family.

Pros

  • This telescope has decent optics that provide a bright and clear image.
  • Solomark has packed a lot of accessories in this package.
  • The included backpack is a great touch.

Cons

  • There are many smaller parts; younger kids should play with the basic telescope until they get a little older.

Verdict

This isn’t one of the big name brands, but it comes with a ton of accessories which can help your kids get used to astronomy quickly. It’s another awesome choice if you have young kids looking to get into astronomy.

Celestron 22030 Travel Scope

As the name suggests, the Celestron 22030 Travel Scope is designed for kids that are always on the go. This is a very travel friendly optical device that measures in at only 22” x 13” in size.

This makes the telescope lightweight and portable, and to reinforce this functionality, Celestron includes a hand backpack to store all the components. Kids will like this telescope because it’s tailored to their height, and parents may also enjoy this product because it has a laser star finder and precise controls.

This telescope has two eyepieces 10mm and 20 mm that are interchangeable to provide varying depths of field and magnification levels. An adjustable tripod is provided that can be used in two different ways, it can be a taller freestanding mount, or you can use the compact base to mount the telescope on a desk or table. The Celestron 22030 Travel Scope has very precise panhandle controls with left/right and up/down movements for accurate observations.

As a light, flexible, and portable little telescope, the Celestron 22030 Travel Scope is an optical instrument that the entire family can use and enjoy. But, it is primarily designed for kids, and in that role, it excels because it’s fun and easy to use. Celestron has packed in enough functionality to make this telescope a good purchase that will grow with the child as they learn more.

Pros

  • The precision controls are extremely accurate.
  • A smartphone adapter is included for astrophotography enthusiasts.
  • The two eyepieces proved excellent levels of magnification.

Cons

  • The image quality could be improved compared to other telescopes on our list.
  • The tripod can be unstable if it’s not positioned on a level surface.

Verdict

This Celestron model is one of my favorite telescopes, because it’s very easy to get started using it without a lot of effort setting it up. It will be a bit advanced for younger kids, but older kids and teens will appreciate it’s power.

Celestron 31036 Astromaster

The Celestron 31036 Astromaster is a great telescope for looking at the night sky and terrestrial objects during the day. The internal glass mirrors have an aluminum and Si02 coating provides very clear magnification. The telescope comes with a pair of eyepieces that are easy to switch between to get the best view depending on the viewing distance that you need. The eyepieces are 10mm and 20mm, providing 70x and 35x magnification, respectively.

This telescope comes with a durable steel tripod that feels safe and stable. It has non-slip feet which do a good job at anchoring the tripod to the ground and absorbing vibrations. When the tripod is set up, there is a handy base tray to hold the eyepieces or other small parts that you may need. The tripod is pre-assembled and ready to use straight out of the box, and it’s to set up for viewing.

The Celestron 31036 Astromaster is not a good telescope for younger children. This is a more serious instrument that’s well suited elementary or perhaps middle school kids that are just getting interested in astronomy or upgrading from a more basic telescope. This telescope has the perfect mix of simplicity for kids in those age groups, and it provides crystal clear images.

Setting up the 9mm or 20mm eyepiece to observe the night skies is simple, and if they want to watch something else, they can use the Barlow lens. Every kid likes to take pictures and videos, and they can connect their favorite device to the included smartphone mount.

Having all this stuff straight out of the box is fantastic, but it may seem a little intimidating for the new astronomer. However, this shouldn’t be a concern; the Solomark Telescope for Kids is a ready to grab and use immediately. All of the extra parts are optional extras that your kid can start to use when they become more comfortable with the telescope.

The best way to approach the Solomark Telescope for Kids is to consider it as a simple and yet versatile telescope that can grow with your child. Even a toddler can use the basic telescope straight out of the box, but an older child or perhaps even a teenager will get a lot of use out of those accessories later.

This is a great little telescope that kids in a wide age band will appreciate, and it’s fun for the entire family.

Pros

  • This telescope works well with terrestrial and celestial viewing.
  • There are strong magnification options available.

Cons

  • Younger kids may find this telescope to be too complicated to use.
  • This telescope is not very portable.

Verdict

Another Celestron option, instead a Newtonian reflector as opposed to a refractor. This will give you a lot of aperture and capabilities to see far into the distance – it’s a good choice.

Kids Telescope Buying Guide

A kid-friendly telescope is a great investment if your child has even a passing interest in astronomy. These optical instruments are geared towards beginners, so they don’t have a lot of technical controls to master. All the child has to do is point the telescope at an object and observe, and this makes it simple to operate.

These types of telescopes often have larger buttons that are easier to press and size appropriate tripods. Many of the telescopes on our list are available in bright colors, and some have accessories such as books, stickers, journals, and even backpacks that adds extra excitement. If you want to buy the best telescope for a child, there are a few things that you need to consider.

3 Types of Telescopes

There are three types of domestic telescope on the market.

The Refractor Telescope

This is the most common type of telescope, it’s a long tube with an attached lens, and it could be mounted on a tripod if it’s a larger product. This can be used to view celestial and terrestrial objects so you could use it for astronomy or ornithology.

Pros

  • They are typically very affordable.
  • They are versatile.
  • A refractor telescope is easy to use.

Cons

  • This type of telescope lacks the power to view very distant objects.

The Reflector Telescope

This type of telescope improves the quality and clarity of the image by reflecting it onto a mirror. This allows the user to see distant celestial objects that a refractor telescope simply cannot reach. But, there is a caveat; a reflector telescope cannot magnify terrestrial objects.

Pros

  • On an aperture to cost ratio, they usually give you the highest value.
  • A reflector telescope provides high quality images.
  • This is a great option for stargazing.

Cons

  • This telescope is not suited to Earth viewing.

The Compound Telescope

A compound telescope gives the user the best of reflector and refractor instrument. They can see celestial and terrestrial objects well because they have a combination of lenses and mirrors to create a sharp image. But, these types of telescopes are designed for professionals; they are sensitive instruments and expensive. For this reason, a compound telescope is not suitable for younger kids.

Pros

  • High quality celestial and terrestrial images.
  • These are versatile telescopes.

Cons

  • Too complicated for most kids.
  • An expensive option.

5 Components of a Telescope

Every kids telescope can have these five key components:

This is the long tube that holds the refractor lens or the reflector mirror or both if you purchase a compound telescope.

This is the part that you look through when you’re viewing, and they are typically available in a number of magnifications. Experimenting with eyepieces is a great way to improve your viewing results, and most modern telescopes have at least two eyepieces.

You could purchase the best telescope in the world, and if you can’t hold it steady, it would be useless. So, you need a stable viewing platform, and this is where a good tripod is invaluable. Most kids telescopes have a tripod that’s height adjustable for smaller ones, and they can be folded away for portability and easy storage.

The quality of the lens or mirror in the optical tube will determine the magnification and quality of the image. Look for a lens or mirror with a high aperture because this will provide a better image.

This is a type of small telescope that’s attached to the larger instrument, and it helps kids to line up their angels for a more accurate viewing experience.

3 Key Telescope Features

Here are the three most important features of a telescope explained.

Aperture

This is the size of the lens or mirror in the telescope, and the larger the aperture, the more clearly you can see distant objects.

Focal Length

This is the distance between the focal point of the optical tube and the installed lens or mirror. A bigger focal length will produce a bigger image in the eyepiece.

Magnification

The magnifying power is measured in units, for example, 10x or 20x. This is a comparison between the focal length of the eyepiece and the telescope. The greater the magnification, the better the final image will be, but the laws of physics places an upper limit on magnification.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you don’t really need a professional grade telescope for a kid. That being said, the telescopes on our list can deliver great results, and they will certainly spark a child’s imagination. A kid’s telescope is an affordable way to gauge a child’s interest in an engrossing subject and have fun at the same time. This list of telescopes is aimed at younger kids though – if you have a teenager, you might be better off looking at a more powerful telescopes.

The accessories that come with the telescope can be tempting but consider what you really need first. A younger child probably just wants something they can point at distant objects and observe them. So, they won’t need a lot of extra stuff that would probably ignore anyway. However, more mature kids will appreciate accessories, such as star charts, viewing journals, stickers, and backpacks.

Three accessories that you should consider carefully are the Barlow lens, a good tripod, and a smartphone mount. The Barlow lens can double or triple the magnification of an attached eyepiece. A good tripod is essential to create a stable viewing platform. A smartphone mount is the best way to carry out basic astrophotography. Finally, most kid-friendly telescopes have a one year warranty for peace of mind.

About Derek

Hey! I'm Derek, I've been interested in astronomy since.. well, forever! I'm an engineer by trade, but I've been playing around with telescopes for many years. I hope to impart some of the knowledge I've learned over the years onto you!

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