Best Telescopes for Kids (5 great options in 2021)

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The best telescope for kids will be easy to set up, easy to use, durable and – most of all – fun!

A telescope can make a great present for a child. It can stimulate interest in the sciences and the wider world and also give a parent something they can do as a family.

We recommend the Orion Funscope as a great telescope for kids.

It’s simple enough for a child to use on their own, but also has genuine capabilities to view the moon and planets.

Below are some more options that would suit children of all age groups.

Five best telescopes for children

FunScope 76mm Tabletop Reflector Telescope

1. Orion Funscope Telescope

You can probably gather from the name Funscope that this telescope is made for children.

It is easy to use as well as being small and light.

Through it, you will be able to get great views of the moon and even see the other planets of our solar system.

This model includes useful a red dot finder and you’ll probably want to add some accessories later – like a tripod and Barlow lens to make the most of it (if you want information on what these mean, see our guide to telescope accessories.)

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Reflector
  • Aperture: 76 mm
  • Mount: Manual

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Celestron Signature Series Moon by Robert Reeves Features A Superb Moon Astronomical Telescope, Black (22016)

2. Celestron FirstScope Telescope

This is a great little telescope that is intended as a first telescope for beginners and children (hence “FirstScope”).

It is lightweight, portable and can be set up without tools.

It is capable of providing views of planets and detail on the moon.

Note that there are two versions of the FirstScope but we recommend to go for the option linked here that includes better accessories (a finderscope, red dot finder, and two eyepieces) which will be worthwhile in the long run.

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Reflector
  • Aperture: 76 mm
  • Mount: Manual

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Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope

3. Celestron 70mm Travel Scope

This telescope is designed to be highly portable and comes with a backpack so that it can be packed away easily and taken on trips.

No tools are needed for setup, but a small child would need a bit of help getting the tripod up properly.

It’s not specifically aimed at children but it ticks all the boxes in being easy to use, easy to transport and store, and not too expensive.

There is a less powerful 50mm version, as well as a more powerful 80mm version. Usually, the more power (aperture) the better the viewing it provides, but also the more expensive. So get the best you can for your budget.

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Refractor
  • Aperture: 70 mm
  • Mount: Manual

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Meade Instruments Day and Night Telescope -227002 EclipseView 60mm Refracting Telescope with Removable Filter

4. Meade Day and Night EclipseView 60mm Telescope

This telescope from Meade is a great option for kids as it is tailored for both daytime and nighttime use (hence the name).

It comes with solar filters so it can be used to look at the sun in the daytime (remember to never look at the sun through a telescope with specialized filters though).

There is also a tabletop version similar to the FunScope and FirstScopes covered above.

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Refractor
  • Aperture: 60 mm
  • Mount: Manual

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Celestron 60LCM Computerized Telescope (Black)

5. Celestron 60LCM Computerized Telescope

The last option on this list is slightly different as it is a computerized telescope.

This means that it can locate an object in the sky from a database of more than 4,000 at the press of a few buttons.

This makes locating objects to view much easier.

The downside is that this a more advanced piece of kit and so would suit older children of 10+ years who will take care of it. Computerized telescopes also generally cost more.

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Refractor
  • Aperture: 60 mm
  • Mount: Computerized

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Best telescopes for children FAQs:

What to look for in a kid’s telescope?

For children, most people will want telescopes that are easy to use, durable and relatively cheap.

One additional thing to consider is size and weight, as you will probably want something that can be moved around and stored easily.

These telescopes above should meet all these criteria, but check what suits you and your child most.

We would not recommend large reflectors like the Celestron Powerseeker for kids though (or for any beginners).

These telescopes are big and heavy, bulky to pack and store, and take a fair amount of learning to be able to use.

What is a good brand of telescope for children?

Three of the most trusted and leading manufacturers of telescope are:

  1. Celestron
  2. Orion
  3. Meade Instruments

The telescopes recommended above are all from these brands.

In our opinion, you are better off buying from trusted telescope manufacturers like this, rather than, for instance, picking up something from a no-name brand in a department store.

With telescopes from brands like Orion, Celestron and Meade you get companies with reputations at stake and who provide customer support if you need it.

What do the specifications mentioned above mean?

There are three main things that you have some knowledge of when choosing a telescope. These are:

  1. Telescope type
  2. Aperture
  3. Mount

For telescope types, there are three options – reflectors, refractors, and catadioptric.

For kids, we recommend smaller refractors or tabletop reflectors – these are what are recommended above.

The key points to remember are that refractors are what most people think of as traditional telescopes – you look in one end of a long tube and see out the other end.

With reflectors, you look in the side of the telescope, and the tube tends to be shorter and fatter due to how they are constructed.

Lastly, catadioptrics are a range of telescopes more suited to intermediate and advanced users. See our article on the best overall telescopes to see some recommended models.

Aperture is the best measure of the viewing capabilities of a telescope.

Basically, the higher the aperture, the better the images you should see.

Lastly, the mount refers to the tripod and system for operating where it points.

There are many different types of mount but most relevant thing for parents to consider really is whether you want a manual or GoTo/computerized option.

Is a GoTo or computerized telescope suitable for kids?

If your budget goes higher, then computerized (GoTo) telescopes provide a different option.

With a computerized telescope, technology is in-built into the telescope and it locates the planets and objects in space for you.

This contrasts to a regular telescope where you need to locate the objects manually.

This can save a lot of time and make stargazing much easier, but would only suit those with a higher budget, or for an adult to use together with a child.

See the Celestron Nexstar 4SE as a great example.

Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope

For kids, there’s a decision to ponder here as, although GoTo is easier, a keen child may benefit from being encouraged to learn astronomy and how to locate things with a manual telescope.

Also, since they are cheaper without GoTo, you may prefer a manual telescope that you won’t be so upset if it gets broken.

However, you might want something that delivers quicker results to use together as a family.

It ultimately depends on the individual child and their parents or people that know them best.

We have mostly recommended cheaper, non-GoTo telescopes as the best starter telescopes for kids in this article.

What’s the best telescope for a 10-year-old?

All of the telescopes above should suit a 10-year-old.

If your child is a bit older (say, 12+) then see this article for beginners’ telescopes might also provide some alternative options.

Are there any good children’s toy telescopes?

There are toy telescopes, like the My First Telescope.

Educational Insights Geosafari Jr. My First Telescope Stem Toy for Boys & Girls 3+

These are really just toys and not actual telescopes though, so if this is what you are looking for then great.

You will not really be able to see much through them though.


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