Telescopes are seen as sophisticated, expensive machines that are often portrayed in an upscale personal library or the cigar room of an elderly rich man. This is far from the case. Telescopes are for everyone and that includes children so let’s discover the Best Telescopes for Kids!
There are plenty of telescopes on the market made specifically for kids or that are perfect for kids either way. Here are some of our favorite telescopes for the young ones in your family.
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What to Consider
What makes a telescope good for children? There are a few things that should be considered when getting a telescope for the family.
How easy is it to use? Will my child enjoy it? Am I going to spend a fortune on another kid’s toy? These are all valid questions that we are going to go over.
The first is the age that the telescope can be used. Most telescopes can safely be used with supervision for around eight years old. However, there are telescopes designed for kids even younger in mind!
What should be avoided is getting a very expensive or complicated telescope that can confuse the kids or worse, get damaged or broken. This will only lead to frustration for everyone involved.
A good age-appropriate telescope will not be too complicated, it should be fairly durable and easy to use so that children can use it without getting frustrated and still enjoy the views it puts out.
Some telescopes are extremely complicated and require fine-tuning or calibrating to get the stellar views that everyone wants. A telescope aimed at family use should be a point and shoot telescope meaning it should be easy to line up and get a view of popular cosmic objects without fuss.
Another thing to consider when buying a telescope aimed at the family is how portable the device is. Many people want to take their kids out on trips into the outdoors and a telescope is a fantastic complementary object for this kind of activity. Portable telescopes can be taken camping, hiking, to the beach or just into the backyard.
A good portable telescope will add hours of fun to any adventure and can be easily taken along almost anywhere. This should be a factor in considering which telescope to get for kids as it will help keep the telescope fresh.
Best Telescope For Young Children:
Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope
If a young child is being considered for any telescope, then look no further than the Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope. This is a telescope specially designed by renowned manufacturer Celestron specifically for children. There are not many telescopes designed with kids in mind but this one is.
The telescope is small and light. It only weighs four and a half pounds assembled. This means it is easy to move and cannot fall over and hurt your child.
This model is a tabletop version, so it does not have any gangly or bulky tripods to wrestle with. It can be set on any flat surface and easily used by parents and children alike to view the night sky. This is possible due to the sturdy Dobsonian mount system.
The Dobsonian mount is flat and weighs the telescope down so that it cannot be knocked over or bumped out of alignment making it perfect for kids of all ages. Anyone who has kids knows that sometimes young children do not do well around things like tripods and stands.
This makes it the perfect point and shoot telescope which is the easiest kind to use. It does not require alignment with any plane or latitude and can simply be set down and used right off the bat. Even if kids do not know what they are looking for in the sky they are sure to still be amazed by what the telescope will show just by randomly pointing it at night.
This is because this telescope is no chump on the power side either. Sometimes things made for kids are watered down and are not as high quality as their adult counterparts. This is not the case with the Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope.
Celestron has made a quality telescope but has used their expertise to make the design as child-friendly as possible without compromising quality or ease of use.
The Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope is a reflector telescope with a 76mm primary aperture which gives it the highest theoretical magnification level of 180x. It can be adjusted to function anywhere from 15x to 75x magnification giving it plenty of power to see all of the classic sights in the sky.
The small size and weight make it very portable. It can be taken anywhere with a flat surface and a dark sky and set up immediately for use. The size also means that it stores out of the way when at home and will not take up valuable space that some other larger telescopes might require.
For anyone looking to get into astronomy, the Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope is perfectly designed to give anyone a great beginner telescope using experience. Adults and children alike will love this telescope and it also comes in at an extremely reasonable price, so it won’t break the budget.
With great reviews and versatile design, this is a safe purchase for anyone looking to get into stargazing and wants to use it with their kids and family.Check Latest Price
Best Telescope for On the Move Kids:
Celestron 21049 PowerSeeker 127EQ
The Celestron 21049 PowerSeeker 127EQ is designed with older kids in mind but still can be safely used with the younger members of the family. This telescope markets itself as a perfect beginner telescope because of its value, features, and ease of use.
Type and Power
The Celestron 21049 PowerSeeker 127EQ is a 127mm reflector telescope. This means that is has a great aperture size and decent focal ratio for great views of the solar system and beyond. Its ideal magnification is 50x but also boasts the ability to accurately be used at 250x giving it a wide range of uses.
For this reason, it is perfect for older kids who want to get into the more advanced side of astronomy. This telescope is still very easy to use but it can scale the difficulty and complexity with the family so they will be able to grow into this telescope and beyond.
This has a lot to do with the features that it comes without the box. It comes with multiple eyepieces that allow the family to experiment with different zoom levels and swapping out accessories for different goals. This is a skill that is great to have when moving onto more advanced telescopes.
The 20mm and 4mm eyepieces give the users two different magnification levels which will allow them to find a level of detail that is right for their viewing session.
The mounting system also allows the family to start basic and get more complicated as they learn and grow. The Celestron 21049 PowerSeeker 127EQ comes with a manual German equatorial mount. This means that it can be manually moved and pointed at the sky like any other telescope, however, the inclusion of the German equatorial system also means that it can be calibrated for long session viewing as well.
The equatorial mount can be lined up properly to track any object in the sky and this telescope comes with an easy to use knob that will keep any object in view for long viewing. This allows for slow-motion adjustment, or micro-adjustments, which is also a necessary skill for more advanced astronomy down the road. This is perfect for kids who are learning because at the start they can just point and shoot but can also figure out how to align it with the equator and learn to track objects across the sky.
This is a tripod mount system though so it will require a little more watching and adjustments than say a Dobsonian mount. It can be bumped or set up on an unlevel surface which is something to keep in mind when using it with younger children.
In addition to all of that, the Celestron 21049 PowerSeeker 127EQ also comes with a portable bag and breaks down easily. It comes with a separate storage area for the many accessories that can be used with this telescope so it can be packed up and taken along on family trips. It comes in at 21lbs assembled which is still very portable.
For those in the family who get hooked on the night sky, this also comes with a software program preloaded with over 10,000 astronomical objects to see and learn about. This is an invaluable tool for anyone just starting and can show them the ropes on what and where they are looking in the sky.
While not designed specifically for kids in mind the Celestron 21049 PowerSeeker 127EQ is a family and beginner-friendly telescope. It comes with some basic bells and whistles to play around with and has the depth to allow young and new users to grow with their telescope. It can be used easily almost anywhere and comes in with great consumer ratings.
For a family with younger kids looking to get into stargazing this is a great choice.Check Latest Price
Best Medium Budget Telescope for Kids:
Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refractor w/ Smartphone Adapter
The Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refractor comes in a little higher on price and in features. This is a durable Celestron refractor telescope that comes with a bunch of features to introduce budding astronomers to the more complicated parts of the hobby.
This telescope is a classic refractor featuring a 100mm objective lens which gives it a decent amount of power for near-Earth viewing as well as farther fainter objects. It comes with enough power to satisfy both beginners and intermediate users.
The draw of this telescope is the number of intermediate level accessories it includes standard. This makes it the perfect telescope for a kid who has a strong interest in astronomy that will probably stick with the hobby long term.
It comes with a smartphone adapter as well as a focus micrometer. These items are rarely included in beginner-level telescopes like this one and will allow kids to explore the deeper aspects of astronomy while getting a great user-friendly scope.
Astrophotography is an advanced niche of astronomy that is very difficult for new users to figure out. It usually requires long sessions, micro adjustments, and sky tracking along with specific cameras and eyepieces to allow for high-quality images to be taken of the stars. With the Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refractor’s smartphone adapter this process becomes a breeze.
Once the adapter is set up, the phone is put into place and adjusted so that the camera is lined up with the viewing port so that the camera sees what the user would see. This allows any smartphone to take high-quality images of what is being shown in the eyepiece. Not only can this make for some attention-grabbing posts on social media but can also open the door to the wider niche of astrophotography from a young age which can be an extremely satisfying hobby or even a money-making opportunity down the road.
This paired with the micrometer gives kids with an eye on moving on to more advanced areas of astronomy plenty to mess around with and learn and grow.
At its core, it is still a reliable Celestron device that is a point and shoots refractor meaning that it will be very easy to use and master for those dedicated to using it regularly. It looks sharp, performs sharp and is sure to keep the attention of the budding stargazer.
Is it worth it?
While it is a little more expensive than some of its beginner peers, the advanced features and accessories are what you get for the money. Also included is the Starry Night professional software suite, an accessory tray, a red LED flashlight for easy nighttime illumination that won’t brighten the sky and erect optics.
For just a bit more money this could be a great investment for more interested kids who will get the most out of these accessories and can grow with this telescope.Check Latest Price
Best Deep Space Viewer for Kids:
Orion SkyQuest Classic Dobsonian Telescope
For older kids who want to look past the moon and Saturn into deep space, there is one telescope that will be perfect for them. The Orion SkyQuest Classic Dobsonian Telescope can peer deep into space for more advanced views. This also means it is geared more towards an older audience than some of the others on this list.
The Orion SkyQuest Classic Dobsonian Telescope comes in a few varieties: the XT6, XT8, and XT10. The larger the diameter the farther it can see (and the more expensive they are). I am reviewing the XT8 for this article.
The massive diameters make these very powerful telescopes but also makes them more fragile than some of the others. The large mirrors that power this telescope can get misaligned, damaged or dirty which requires more care than some other telescopes.
The large optical tube and heavy-duty Dobsonian mount also mean that this telescope is not as portable as some of the others but is extremely stable and ideal to set up in one spot. It is 30% heavier than many other telescopes on this list and requires disassembly before being moved.
Who does this best suit?
That being said, if you have older kids who are clamoring for some stunning views then this telescope is right for them. While aimed at older kids, this telescope can be used by the whole family for years of entertainment.
The incredible light gathers the ability of this telescope means that it can be used to view distant galaxies, nebulas and star clusters. I upgraded to the XT10 then the magnification becomes truly and amazing. It can see things that other smaller telescopes simply can’t. If the moon and Orion’s belt have lost their luster, then this telescope can broaden the horizons of any aspiring astronomer.
If unique deep-space views are what the kids are after, this telescope has it in spades. If they can sacrifice some of the simplicity for this absolute beast of a telescope, then it can be a great purchase.
The fragile nature of large reflectors, the advanced magnification and the lack of portability make it a harder sell to young children, but teenagers could sink their teeth into it. It is a little more expensive than some other telescopes but that is the cost of having one of the most powerful backyard telescopes on the market.
While not a universal all-around telescope this can be a great long term fit for the right kids and the right situation.Check Latest Price
Best Telescope For Technological Kids:
Celestron NexStar 4SE
The Celestron NexStar 4SE can be the perfect telescope for kids, especially those with technological aptitude. This 4inch Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope comes with a completely computerized setting that allows kids to program what they want to see, and the telescope finds it, tracks and shows it. This is a true technological marvel that can keep kids entertained indefinitely.
Despite the amazing computerized features, the Celestron NexStar 4SE still comes in at a very manageable size and weight. It is not bulky or complicated and does not require a tripod. It can be set on a tabletop or other flat surface.
This makes it ideal for kids who want to run outside and program a few objects quickly on any given night without a complicated setup process.
The Celestron NexStar 4SE ships with proprietary Sky Align technology which makes it extremely simple to calibrate the telescope for computerized use. It just takes the position of three bright objects in the sky and calculates its location so it can find the objects automatically.
Who does this best suit?
If the kids can use a computer or smartphone, they can easily use the Celestron NexStar 4SE’s control panel to find and select from over 40,000 preloaded celestial objects to track. It also comes with the ability to be hooked up to a computer and used with Starry Night and other telescope software to give the computer-savvy kids in your house an unprecedented amount of control over their telescope.
This means that it can provide endless hours of fun and discovery. If the kids have any inclination for astronomy or technology then this telescope can easily be a lifelong purchase.
Not only is this telescope great for kids, but it is also great for the adults in the house too. If life is busy and a finicky hobby like stargazing which requires a lot of time and adjustments sounds like too much, then this telescope is perfect. Just take it outside, plug-in Saturn and see if it is visible that night, the telescope will find it for you.
This makes it great for busy parents or techie kids who want to play around with its endless computerized features. It is an overall amazing telescope that can be used in almost any situation. The features in this model make the night sky infinitely visible and can allow anyone to find and track tens of thousands of objects depending on the night.Check Latest Price
Everyone’s families and children are different which are why there are different telescopes for any situation. Whether you have very young kids that you want to take along on stargazing adventures out in nature or older kids who want a more advanced start in astronomy there is a telescope for everyone. All of these telescopes come with great reviews and can fit specific circumstances extremely well. It all depends on what your situation is but if a telescope is part of the picture then there is one for you.
Taking into account budget, age and complexity the perfect telescope can be found for the family that will provide years of enjoyment, learning, and excitement for everyone who wants it.