Best Telescopes for Kids
Review of 5 Starter Models for 2021
We can’t wait to get the next generation of astronomers to enjoy backyard stargazing. If you want to inspire your children, or your grandchildren, to stare at the wonders of the night sky and know more about the Universe, then our best telescopes for kids are exactly what you need.
However, choosing a telescope suitable for children is quite challenging. It should be consistent in your budget, but also be careful not to buy junk, because the low quality of the telescope can push the child away from Astronomy forever.
The other important thing when choosing a new telescope for kids is to take into account the size and complexity of the range with the age and capabilities of the child. What a 12-year-old kid needs from a telescope is different from what a seven-year-old needs. The good news is that there are telescopes that are relatively robust, require very minimal assembly, and cost less than $150 that meet all the requirements for a beginner telescope for kids. These instruments will allow them to see the Moon up close, some of the planets, as well as bright galaxies, nebulae and stars.
We researched a lot of telescopes and worked hard to find five models of telescopes that achieve both budget balance and attractiveness for different ages of your future Galileo or Maria Mitchell. Our top five are in the table below, click on the “Full Review” link in the table to see why you recommend each of these models.
Whether you’re looking for a telescope for a five year old or a teenager, ILoveTheUniverse.com has selected high-quality instruments from top manufacturers Celestron and Orion Instruments to ensure that you get the very best for your budget.
Our Best Telescopes for Kids
Celestron Inspire 70AZ
- Decent Optics
- Easy To Use
- Useful Accessories
Orion 10033 FunScope
- Sleek and compact design
- Light in weight
- Additional accessories are included
- Offers standard quality eye pieces for clear view
Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ
- Unbeatable value for money.
- Largest aperture of all the Celestron PowerSeeker scopes.
- Lightweight and compact, with a short 20-inch tube.
- Ultra-portable and easy to carry around.
- Beginner friendly.
Celestron NexStar 4SE
- Mirror with StarBright XLT coating
- GoTo tracking system with nearly 40,000 objects
- Easy to use
- Ideal for astrophotography
Celestron 70mm Travel Scope
- Good price
- Superior optics
- Powerful eyepieces for up-close viewing
- Large 70mm objective lens
- Bonus bag, tripod, and software
Note : To avoid serious eye injury, NEVER allow children to point a telescope or binoculars at the Sun
What Makes a Children’s Telescope Great?
To deal with the answer to this difficult question, we will need to look through their eyes.
The youngest children, say three or more, will probably be able to hold their attention for a very short time and will be happy to see the Moon and the Planets up close.
When they start growing, around seven or eight and up, they are much more likely to want their own telescope. When this happens, there are considerations that need to take into account.
Our small astronomers share many of the following characteristics:
- They are all very curious and want to learn
- The world around them constantly amazes them
- It is difficult to keep their attention for a long time
- They want everything to happen immediately
- They often find the preparation for the activity itself boring
- Short height
- Weaker muscles
- Little appreciation for the cost of a scope
It is very important to understand that the telescope we choose is directly dependent on age. For example, something small, easy and cheap is much better for younger children. They can use it to see craters on the moon as well as the brightest planets, and you won’t be very upset with them if they aren’t particularly careful with their telescope. However, if we give the same telescope to a young teenagers, they will probably get bored of astronomy very quickly.
Teenagers want to rely on great equipment and the latest technology. They will want to look beyond the moon and Saturn. Think, for example, about how excited your older child will be at the prospect of seeing a distant galaxy. This will definitely capture his attention and love for Astronomy.
Engaging with the Telescope
Lastly, we need to consider how much your child will enjoy being engaged with the telescope itself outside of stargazing. Is your kid one who will enjoy working with you on assembling, polar alignment, and general tuning the telescope, or will prefer immediate satisfaction outside the box?
Choosing a telescope for a child should take all of those aspects into consideration. However, there are a few more items to keep in mind:
- A child’s telescope should be easy and uncomplicated to use. An overly complicated telescope just won’t be as much fun.
- Compact size is important. A smaller child is not going to enjoy using an enormous telescope.
- Durability is a necessity for kids’ telescopes; lots of small, fragile pieces can easily get lost or broken. Fortunately, there are plenty of telescopes perfect for young astronomers.
Best Telescopes for Kids – Full Reviews
Younger Kids: Celestron Inspire 70AZ
Celestron’s Inspire series are the most famous range of entry-level telescopes in the market today. This 70mm refractor telescope from this series is a great first approach to astronomy for younger children.
The simple altazimut design of the mount allows even small hands to move the range in any direction. It is light, easy to move and the mount can be adjusted without the legs being fully extended, which makes it easier for young people to reach. You also don’t need to worry about polar alignment.
The Celestron Inspire has the most straightforward assembly of any telescope of its kind. Just pop open the tripod legs, twist the accessory tray’s lock knob, and affix the optical tube to the base with the quick release dovetail mount. That’s it. You’re now ready to explore the Universe!
What Can You See With Celestron Inspire 70AZ
The Inspire 70AZ comes with two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm), a 90° erect image diagonal, an integrated smartphone adapter, a StarPointer™ Pro red dot finderscope, and a red LED flashlight. The two eyepieces offer different magnifications to view your intended object. With the optics of the Inspire 70AZ you will be able to distinguish the Rings of Saturn from the Planet, see the moons of Jupiter and observe in detail the craters of the Moon. You will also be able to see the brightest objects in deep space, such as the Andromeda Galaxy and the Orion Nebula. Due to the long optical tube, the color inaccuracies are quite low, which is great!
Celestron Inspire 70AZ has a lens cap with a built-in smartphone adapter. Adjust your smartphone against the rubber friction surface on the outside of the lens cap so that the camera can watch through the image port. Two adjustable bungee cords help protect your device. The inside of the lens cap has a fitting that attaches to your eyepiece using two screws. That’s all you need to take high power images with your Celestron Inspire 70AZ!
This is a great telescope as a gift for younger children, but they will outgrow it quickly if they become interested in watching stars. So, keep in mind that you can spend less than $ 150 on this range (click on the yellow button below to check the price) … but in the future you will create a demand for a larger telescope!
- Light in weight
- In-built flash light
- Easy to set up
- Offers incredible stability
- Even a beginner can operate it effortlessly
- Ideal for taking some high-powered images
- Offers better and clear focus
- Its lens cap is equipped with a built-in holder for taking pictures
- Some users are not pleased with its magnification
- Wobbly focuser
Older Children: Orion 10033 FunScope
|Type||Aperture||Focal Length||Mount||Other Sizes|
|Reflector||3″/76 mm||300 mm f/3.9||Dobsonian||n\a|
Are you looking for a way to get your older children in love with astronomy, but not sure you want to spend hundreds on a telescope yet? If so, the Orion Funscope may just be the perfect telescope for you!
To jump right in, you won’t find too many bells and whistles on this telescope, but what you will find is a small, portable, easy-to-use telescope, ready to explore the skies. The entire family will be happy with the Orion FunScope. This is the ultimate beginner telescope, specially designed to be simple to use and fun. It’s exactly what its name says: a funscope. You and your children can start exploring the moon’s craters, as well as some of the brighter star clusters and nebulas with this Orion scope for beginners.
The Orion FunScope comes with a 76mm-diameter optics. Being so wide, this tabletop telescope collects 60 percent more light than any other typical beginner scope. The best part are the accessories: two eyepieces of 20 and 10 mm. They will give all the magnification needed to see our planet’s natural satellite, making it a legitimate moon telescope. Speaking of which, the scope comes with a detailed moon map with all the moon’s craters, valleys and mountain ranges.
What Can You See With Orion10033 FunScope?
The Orion Funscope is advertised as a “Moon Scope” and in that capacity, it will show you some awesome details on the moon such as craters, mountain ranges, shadows, and many other geological features on the lunar surface. However, just because the Orion Funscope is advertised as a moon scope, doesn’t mean it can’t resolve other celestial objects. Targets such as Jupiter and its moons, the rings of Saturn, as well as star clusters and other bright objects will all be viewable in the Funscope. Just note that they will not have the resolution, or detail provided by larger alternatives.
The Orion Funscope 76mm telescope is a classic Newtonian reflector, mounted on a single arm Dobsonian styled base. This is one of the most common types of telescopes for visual observing. The Orion comes on a tabletop base for easy setup, and only weighs 4lbs put together. In fact, all you need to do is take the scope out its storage location, set it on a solid surface, and it’s ready to go. The Dobsonian, push-to styled controls make traversing the sky on the Funscope, intuitive and easy.
The Orion 10033 FunScope Blue 76mm TableTop Reflector Telescope Moon Kit is one of those telescopes that is designed for the smart kids of 21st century. It’s easy to set up and use, compact, portable, and lightweight. Because it’s so easy, it stands a far better chance of actually making it out of the closet, and into the field, compared to heavier, more complex alternatives.
- Price – this telescope’s price is just incredible. The amazing combination of excellent optics and a great price makes this moon telescope an incredible purchase.
- Portability – the Orion FunScope is very light. With only 4lbs, this moon telescope can fit in any bag pack.
- Eyepieces – the tabletop telescope comes with two incredible eyepieces. That means that the Orion FunScope images of the moon are other celestial objects are clear and crisp.
- Easy to use – as soon as you get this scope out of the box, you can use it. Remove the dust covers, put the eyepieces and start your astronomical adventure.
- Possibility to mount it on a tripod – the Orion 10033 FunScope 76mm tabletop reflector telescope moon kit comes with a built-in table-top tripod of 3/8 inches. In itself, it was designed to stay on the top of a table, but being very versatile, you could attach a tripod. However, that’s on the condition that you use a strong, steady device and not a weak aluminum. The Orion FunScope works best on a table, but at the very least, it’s not your only choice.
- Functionality -Basic functions that are not advance enough for professional use
Teenagers: Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ
|Type||Aperture||Focal Length||Mount||Other Sizes|
|Newtonian Reflector||5″/127mm||1000mm, f/7.9||Equatorial||50/60/70/80/114|
The Celestron 127 EQ PowerSeeker is an affordable reflector telescope geared towards stargazing teenagers who want a good viewing experience, but don’t want to invest a fortune in their new hobby. Consistently ranked among the top telescopes in its price range, this model has won numerous awards and is produced by a manufacturer that has been in the business for more than 50 years.
With this model, Celestron has really played to their strengths, which is delivering decent quality for a fair price. In this case, the young astronomer in your life gets 5 inches of reflecting telescope on an equatorial mount and all for $200 or less.
The telescope is very easy to assemble, and you don’t need a single tool to get the job done. In terms of portability, the Celestron 127 EQ PowerSeeker is the perfect in-between telescope, being light and compact enough for traveling, but not so small that it limits your ability to get a clear view of the sky. In addition, a very-easy-to-transport collapsible aluminum tripod accompanies the telescope and includes a storage tray for holding the spare eyepieces and accessories within easy reach when you’re stargazing.
What Can You See With Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ
This is a Newtonian reflector scope. It uses a 5″ mirror, and a smaller secondary mirror, to reflect and focus the image to an eyepiece on the side of the scope. Despite its price, the Celestron 127 EQ PowerSeeker has very good optics, which come with aluminum reflective coatings that makes the image you see very well defined. In addition, the 127mm (5″) aperture gives you the ability to view a wide variety of objects in the night sky, including the moon, bright planets, clusters of stars and nebulae.
The 127EQ is supplied with a decent starter pack of accessories, including 20mm and 4mm eyepieces, which provide 50x and 250x magnification respectively, and a 3x Barlow lens which can be used with the 20mm eyepiece to give 150x magnification.
An equatorial mount is not the best for younger children – it needs to be polar aligned and can be quite hard to set up (it’s bigger than it looks!). However, for teenagers, this is a great way to learn astronomy. Equatorial mounts align with the Earth’s rotation, so when you have an object in the eyepiece it is much easier to track.
This is a well priced starter model for teenagers (click the button below to see today’s Amazon price). With its equatorial mount there is more going on to keep an enthusiastic mind occupied, and its five inch mirror will deliver rewarding views of the night sky. The teenager in your life will be very excited to own this. Beginners will find that this telescope perfectly meets their needs, and over time as they progress with the hobby, you can expand the functionality of the model with additional eyepieces.
- Optic quality – By getting the Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope, you are investing in a top quality optical instrument that offers an exceptional viewing experience.
- Aperture size – The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope has the largest aperture of all the PowerSeeker scopes.
- Magnification – The fact that this scope comes with a 3x Barlow lens is yet another awesome advantage. The magnification of both eyepieces included will be tripled for beautiful images.
- Accessories – You get plenty of accessories when you purchase the Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ telescope. From the 3x Barlow lens to the two eyepieces, tripod, and accessory tray, you will have everything you need to start using the scope once you receive it.
- Easy assembly – You don’t need any tools to mount the Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker telescope, as opposed to many other scopes.
- Portable – The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker telescope can easily be carried around when traveling for observation.
- Affordable price – This scope comes with one of the most remarkable price-quality ratios on the market.
- The telescope will require more care – Again, we are dealing with a Newtonian Reflector telescope, so the primary mirror will be exposed to air and dust. This scope is quite fragile, so you should take great care of it.
- You will need to upgrade the eyepieces – We’re not talking about an immediate update, but, in time, you will need to add some eyepieces to your telescope.
- Slow motion controls – Some customers report the slow motion controls being finicky, in that you can feel the scope vibrating with each turn, which can cause the image to distort.
- Hard for younger children to setup
Hi-Tech Fans: Celestron NexStar 4SE
|Type||Aperture||Focal Length||Mount||Other Sizes|
This children’s telescope is more expensive than the others. The Celestron NexStar 4SE Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope retails for around $ 600 (click the button below for current price) and all for a relatively small aperture. So why is this model in our selection of children’s telescopes?
Well, there are many astronomers out there, including children, who love to look at celestial objects, but are not very happy trying to find them. A computerized telescope like this model from the NexStar range offers just that.
Celestron has equipped the 4SE with its SkyAlign system for pointing and tracking the 40,000 objects in its database. SkyAlign is not totally automatic. It’s not difficult to set up but it’ll take time and you’ll need to know your precise location and time. But once all is set up and ready, your young astronomer can consult the database of thousands objects and have the scope pointed at exactly the right spot within seconds, so you hardly need the supplied red dot finderscope except to set up the tracking.
The 4SE is so small and light, and the tripod folds so easily, you can quickly jump into almost any vehicle and drive to find dark skies. And someday, if you grow into a larger telescope, you’ll probably want to keep this one as a “grab-and-go” scope. It’s great for chasing solar eclipses in faraway locations where you can’t lug a lot of luggage.
What Can You See With Celestron NexStar 4SE
The 4SE’s 102mm aperture isn’t huge, but the portability of this rig far outweighs any size limitation. And Celestron’s nicely coated optics make the most of every photon fetched. The 4SE’s four-inch primary mirror packs enough light-gathering ability to observe the best that the solar system has to offer: Saturn’s rings, the cloud bands on Jupiter, and geographic features on the surface of the Moon. When it comes to deep sky objects, take your 4SE to a dark-sky site and you’ll see hundreds of pinpoint stars in the Hercules Globular Cluster, the spiral arms of the Whirlpool Galaxy, and more.
The 4SE does well at lunar and planetary astrophotography – we’ve attached a few images that has been made with 4SE and a cheap 640×480 webcam, and attached a 1.25” nosepiece and 2x Barlow lens to. Forget deep-sky, however – the 4SE’s f/13 focal ratio, mediocre tracking capabilities, and the alt-az nature of the mount do not allow for good long exposure photos.
The Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope delivers a state of the art stargazing experience, along with incredible magnification, and a motorized computer technology system that will make your astronomical hobby easier than ever before. If your son or daughter has their heart set on a compound, go-to scope, then this is one of the cheapest way to get one. But, if their goal is to see details on Jupiter’s and Mars’s surfaces, and objects outside the solar system, like galaxies, then give serious consideration to a larger aperture at a smaller cost.
- User-friendly software and technology
- High-end materials and craftsmanship
- A lot of features for a very moderate price
- Great beginner telescope and secondary scope for intermediate users
- Very sharp optics
- Quality mount with acceptable gearing
- Acceptable aperture
- Very stable
- Good included low-power eyepiece
- No collimation required
- Will need an external power supply or large amount of rechargeable batteries
- Small aperture that dims the view unless in an ideal environment
Traveling Kids: Celestron 70mm Travel Scope
This 70mm Travel Scope offers something a bit different compared to the rest of the models in our list. This is a great little scope for a kids vacation. It weighs just 6 lbs (2.7kg), is supplied with its own backpack and used just about anywhere with a stable tripod.
Summer breaks and spring camping trips, with time away from the PC Games, are great times to get any child engaged in backyard astronomy. With this model, it’s super simple too, place it on a sturdy mount and point it in the right direction – that’s it!
The Celestron 70mm Travel Scope is a great tool when you plan on moving to a great observation point. It’s a 70mm refractor telescope with a 2.76-inch aperture. In addition, pack includes two eyepieces of 10mm and 20mm, giving a magnification of 40x and 20x.
As a plus, this scope comes with full-color, detailed instructions, a sky X software that allows you to learn more about planets and stars, an aluminum tripod and a padded backpack case where you can keep everything.
This Celestron 70mm Travel Scope model makes a good gift for children (12+) and grownups alike, as it can be carried throughout the learning period and even after. The telescope itself weighs1.5 lbs and is 17”x 3.87” іn size – extremely lightweight and compact they included full-size tripod weighs1.8 lbs, so everything comes in together at around 3.3 lbs. With all the accessories loadеd into the included backpack for travel, you truly have a portable set up that can conveniently be tаken on the go. Hiking, biking, driving, flying – the Travel Scope is build for easy travel.
What Can You See With Celestron 70mm Travel Scope
A two eye pieces (20mm one for a 20x magnification and a 10mm one for a 40x magnification) and a 45 degree correct image prism are included in the telescope bundle. And last but not least, Celestron includes a copy of The Sky X software which was contains a database of over 10,000 objects and printable sky maps (which can be very helpful if your new to astronomy). While the 10 mm eyepiece boasts of higher magnification, it has Little performance benefits trough this scope other than magnifying an image, particularly to see lunar and planetary details. However, field of view is restricted, and image resolution degrades.
The 20 mm eyepiece will do well for most purposes with its wider viewing, bright and sharp image resolution, and good power. It provides up to a max useful magnification of 140x but pushing it to 168x magnification than the manufacturer states will result in picture of degradation.
We strongly recommend it for all beginner kids astronomers and especially travel ones. The best features of Celestron 70mm Travel Scope are its price and portability. Given the number of components, the price is extremely small. This is an excellent, easy-to-use, portable scope. We love the rucksack and the way in which everything just fits in.
With the Celestron 70mm Travel Scope , you can actually see the rings of Saturn, not to mention the Moon, nebulas and a variety of celestial bodies. Again, don’t expect full clarity and amazing details, after all, it’s a remarkable tool for children.
- Portability – Celestron 70mm Travel Scope comes with a stylish backpack and weighs only 3lbs. You can grab it and run to the closest observation point with ease. Not to mention that you can take your travelscope with you on your trips or during your holidays.
- Price – You can purchase the Celestron travel telescope for around $90. Celestron is a company whose quality is world-renowned, and it has never disappointed its fans.
- Quality -A resistant telescope, despite its plastic parts, that may give it sometimes a cheap look.
- Light weight tripod – It could work if you set your gear on a table or a flat and stable surface. However, if you’re going out to an observation point, this may not be the best option. If you want something better, you can buy another tripod, and everything will be just fine. The Celestron Travel Scope’s tripod might just add some extra weight to your backpack.
- Plastic finder and focuser – It doesn’t look cheap, but all plastic components make it quite fragile, so you will have to be extra-careful while handling it. Still, that’s what makes it a great portable telescope because it’s very light. If you consider that the entire pack has approx. 3 lbs (approx. 1.5kg), it’s more than perfect.
Best 5 Telescopes for Kids Selling by Amazon
- EDUCATIONAL LUNAR TELESCOPE FOR KIDS: MoonScan is an educational and fun way for children to explore their astronomical dreams. This telescope is lightweight, easy to use and is perfect for kids to skywatch and learn about the astronomical sciences in a fun way.
- 90X MAGNIFICATION KIDS TELESCOPE: The telescope has a maximum magnification by about 90X times. It is a powerful telescope for astronomy as well as viewing daily animals and birds in the sky. The telescope comes with a 1.5X Erecting Eyepiece that enhances the magnification.
- PORTABLE MINI TELESCOPE: MoonScan is a lightweight and portable kids educational telescope designed to be travel friendly. It weighs less than 1 kilogram and is a perfect travel telescope for kids as well as adults. Apt for wildlife watching or even birdwatching from your lawn.
- ASTRONOMICAL AND TERRESTRIAL KIDS TELESCOPE: This kids educational telescope is perfect for astronomical gazing as well as viewing terrestrial wildlife, birds, monuments and others. It can be used as the perfect educational and recreational science kit.
- ALTITUDE-AZIMUTH MOUNTING KIDS ASTRONOMY TELESCOPE: The telescope is equipped with an altitude-azimuth mounting (N), i.e., it can be moved vertically (altitude) and horizontally (azimuth). This technology in the telescope also makes for great children’s gifts.
- Quality Optics: 400mm(f/5.7) focal length and 70mm aperture, fully coated optics glass lens with high transmission coatings creates stunning images and protect your eyes. Perfect telescope for astronomers to explore stars and moon.
- Magnification: Come with two replaceable eyepieces and one 3x Barlow lens.3x Barlow lens trebles the magnifying power of each eyepiece. 5x24 finder scope with mounting bracket and cross-hair lines inside make locating objects easily.
- Wireless Remote: Free includes one smart phone adapter and one Wireless camera remote to explore the nature of the world easily through the screen and take amazing celestial images.
- Adjustable Tripod: This telescope allows for many different viewing positions with a adjustable aluminum alloy tripod and a carry bag, the telescope and tripod can fit inside the bag for easy traveling and storage.
- Satisfaction: TWO-YEAR warranty. And technical support from our team of experts in 24 hours.
- INSPIRE CURIOSITY – The NASA Lunar Telescope allows your child to see the moon in incredible detail; the perfect gift for girls and boys interested in space, the moon, and astronomy
- HIGH-QUALITY OPTICAL GLASS AND FINDER SCOPE – This easy-to-use telescope comes with a finder scope, low power, and high-power eyepieces; when used correctly, this combination will allow your child to easily locate the moon and then zoom in for a close-up view
- TABLETOP TRIPOD – Use the included tripod to steady your Lunar Telescope for optimal viewing
- PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS – This telescope is easy to assemble and use, making it ideal for young scientists and parents to enjoy together
- 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE - You and your child will love this Lunar Telescope! We take pride in the quality of our products and our mission to inspire a child’s natural love of science. If you or your child had a negative experience with one of our products, we want to know so we can make it right
- Read, John A (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 72 Pages - 07/27/2017 (Publication Date) - John A Read (Publisher)
- Telescope for Astronomy Beginners: This lightweight telescope paired with the 20X 30X 40X eyepieces and adjustable angles helps to locate and view objects faster. Makes land, moon and stars exploration easy.
- Hands-on Experience: This kids’ telescope gives hands-on experience to children. They will learn the nature of scientific experiments and get more familiar with astronomy. This children’s telescope also bestows great environmental awareness.
- Easy Set Up: The Astroshot Kit comes with great instruction manual which makes the set up easier and fun. Perfect for camping, school, youth groups, travel, birthday gifts, office gifts, or leave in your car convenience.
- Space Telescope for Kids Beginners: Designed for curious minds fascinated by boundless space and wonders of the universe. Great for vivid images of stars, star clusters land exploration, viewing moon, distant scenery, earth-based objects.
- Ideal for Outdoor Play and Home Learning: Let your kids out and allow them to explore the spectacular world. Make them curious about astronomy. This astronomy telescope is a perfect mixture of kids learning and having fun at home.