Kids love looking up into the sky and marvel at the stars they see. Space is fascinating for both children and adults. A telescope is a great way to allow kids to explore the night sky and develop a love of astronomy. Using a telescope will help your child develop their imagination and STEM skills and is a great way to get them interested in science and the solar system.
There are plenty of options on the market, including some toy telescopes to teach younger kids about the stars and planets. I’ve created this list of the 7 best telescopes that will allow your child to explore space.
The Best Telescopes for Kids
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: This Discover with Dr. Cool telescope was designed to allow your child to check out the moon in detail. It comes with two eyepieces at different magnifications, and the finder scope makes it easy to locate the moon and zoom in on it. It’s easy to use, making it great for beginners. It also comes with a table tripod to keep it steady, allowing your child to scan the moon freely. You’ll also get a learning guide that teaches your child all about the moon and its many features. At an affordable price, this is a great telescope to encourage your child’s love of space.
Keep in mind: This one is really only meant for looking at the moon and doesn’t have enough magnification to see much else.
Good for: An affordable telescope for kids who love the moon.
(Best beginner telescope — $$)
Why it’s great: This telescope will help teach your child how to use all the pieces and parts of telescopes. It allows them to get a close-up view of the moon and check out stars and planets. It comes with two eyepieces to switch up the magnification and a detailed map of the moon. It’s easy to set up, and the tripod is height adjustable, so it grows with your child while still allowing them to get the perfect view. The finder telescope makes it easier to locate the moon or other objects before trying to zoom in on the bigger telescope. Plus, the lower magnification can be used for bird watching or nature watching during the day. The telescope is lightweight, so you can easily take it with you for stargazing or nature-watching trips.
Keep in mind: The stand is lightweight and a little flimsy, so be careful not to let your child lean on it when they’re looking through the telescope.
Good for: Kids that are interested in astronomy and need an easy-to-use telescope for beginners.
(Most educational — $)
Why it’s great: This telescope comes with a projector and three discs that have 24 space-themed images. Your child will love projecting these scenes onto their ceiling or walls and checking them out with the telescope. It also comes with an educational guidebook to teach them all about astronomy and outer space. It has a soft, flexible eyepiece that makes it easy for your child to get a comfortable view. It also has a little tripod to help keep it steady. The projector can be attached to the telescope, or you can hold it and move the images all around the room. The tripod folds up for storage, making it easy to put away when it’s not in use. This fun little telescope will spark your child’s imagination and allow them to explore space from the comfort of their room.
Keep in mind: This one isn’t a real telescope, only a projector.
Good for: Getting kids interested in space and teaching them about astronomy.
(Most portable — $$)
Why it’s great: This telescope comes with everything your child will need to start exploring the night sky. It has two different magnification eyepieces. It comes with a Barlow lens that helps increase the magnification of each eyepiece, making it easier to see the moon and stars in detail. The tripod is adjustable, allowing your child to get the perfect view. It also comes with a smartphone adapter and wireless camera remote, which lets your child take pictures of whatever they see through the telescope. It folds up and comes with a storage bag, making it easy to carry around and take on camping trips or anywhere that you might want to stargaze.
Keep in mind: Setting up the smartphone for photos can be a little tricky since you need to get the camera lined up with the lens.
Good for: Kids that want a good telescope that’s easily portable.
(Easiest to use — $$)
Why it’s great: This is a compact, tabletop telescope that’s easy for beginners to set up and navigate. You can adjust the angle and direction of the tube to get on target quickly. It comes with a 4mm and a 20mm eyepiece, giving you a couple of options for magnification. These are great for beginners and allow your child to get a clear view of the moon and stars. It’s lightweight and small, making it easy to carry outside or take with you on a trip somewhere with better views. Its simple and basic design makes it easy for children to use and helps to spark their interest in the moon and astronomy.
Keep in mind: This isn’t the most high-powered option on the list, but it does give a clear view of the moon.
Good for: Kids and beginners who want something affordable that will allow them to get a better look at the moon and stars.
(Best quality — $$$)
Why it’s great: This is another telescope from Gskyer. Like the previous one, it comes with an adjustable tripod, finder telescope, smartphone adapter, and wireless camera remote. However, this one comes with three magnification eyepieces and a Barlow lens, allowing your child to see more detail on the moon and planets or stars that are farther away. It’s one of the few on the list that will allow your child to see Mars, Jupiter and its moons, and Saturn and its rings. The optics are clear, and the tube is heavy, solid, excellent quality, and durable. It’s not as light as some of the other options, but the tripod does fold down, making it small enough to be portable.
Keep in mind: This is a pricey telescope to get for your child, but it has much more power and allows them to see more detail and spot planets and stars that are too hard to see with the cheaper telescopes.
Good for: Kids who are already interested in astronomy and need a better quality telescope that allows them to have a better view of the planets.
(Best for preschoolers — $)
Why it’s great: This is a cute little telescope designed to get toddlers and preschoolers interested in astronomy and outer space. It helps build your child’s imagination and allows them to view images of space from NASA. The images are all built-in to the telescope, so you don’t have to worry about any extra parts. It’s also a talking telescope and will teach your child over 200 facts about space. It features the voice of Emily Calandrelli, the star of Netflix’s show Emily’s Wonder Lab. This telescope makes learning fun for younger children who may not be able to spend time outdoors at night or are too little to use a real telescope properly.
Keep in mind: This is a toy, not a real telescope, but it does encourage young children to get interested in astronomy.
Good for: Parents that want to get their toddlers and preschoolers interested in outer space and the solar system.
FAQs about Telescopes for Kids
1. What are the benefits of getting my child a telescope?
Children often get bored looking at pictures and especially reading about things in books. A telescope will allow your child to actually see the moon and stars and, in some cases, even the planets. Learning about astronomy is much more fun for them when they can experience seeing some of these things themselves. It also sparks their imagination and gets them interested in astronomy and learning more about the heavens. They’re great for STEM education as well.
2. Why do I need to get a kid’s telescope?
Your child can absolutely use an adult’s telescope with some help. However, the benefit of getting them a kid’s telescope is that it will be simpler and more accessible for them to use. There won’t be as many moving parts to figure out, the knobs are larger and easier to turn, and they usually have tripods sized for kids. These features make them much easier for kids to use. Plus, they’re generally much cheaper and come with moon maps, pictures, stickers, or other educational books to help teach your child.
3. What’s the easiest way to find objects to look at with a telescope?
It can be challenging to find stars and planets with the naked eye, making it impossible to know where to look with your telescope. Some telescopes come with finder telescopes that will help you get to the right area and locate the object you want to see. However, it may be easier to use one of the many smartphone apps designed to help you pinpoint the location of planets and other exciting things to see in space.
4. What kind of detail should I be able to see with a telescope?
The telescopes on this list are not going to give you an incredible amount of detail. They don’t have the magnification that professional telescopes do, so you won’t see the same kind of quality as you do in NASA’s pictures. The color will also be duller than those pictures. Since these telescopes are meant for kids and beginners, they don’t have the same clarity and quality you’ll find in more expensive telescopes. However, you should be able to make out craters on the moon and other details. Depending on the telescope you use, you should be able to spot other planets too.
5. What features should I look for in a telescope for my child?
This will depend on what you want to get out of the telescope. If you’re just hoping to get your child interested in astronomy, either of the toy telescopes that show images of space and teach fun facts would be great. If you have children that have shown an interest in space, you’ll want a telescope that will allow them to at least see the moon in some detail. If you live in a city, you may want to choose a portable telescope, so you can take it on trips to places where you can get a better view of the night sky. If you’re looking for something that will allow your child to see other planets and make out some of their features, you’ll want something with higher magnification and power.
Whether it’s your idea or theirs, a telescope is a great tool to help develop your child’s STEM skills. It opens their imagination and gets them thinking about astronomy and outer space. Kids of all ages are fascinated by space, and a telescope can make it come alive for them.
Choosing the right telescope doesn’t have to be complicated. Consider your child’s current interest level, skill, and your budget. Look for the one that matches your needs, and remember that you can always upgrade to something higher quality if your child continues to enjoy astronomy.