There are few things more amazing than looking up at the stars on a clear night. With a telescope, kids can get an up-close look at the moon, planets, and other celestial objects. It’s a fantastic way to foster a love of astronomy and science.
Our astronomy advisor, Richard J. Bartlett, reviewed a variety of kid’s telescopes to select the best of the best telescopes for kids. After careful consideration, he chose the Celestron ExploraScope 114AZ as his top pick. With standout features like its large 114mm aperture and fully coated glass optics, this telescope is sure to please aspiring stargazers.
Our Expert’s Top 5 Telescopes for Kids
Here are the top picks from our astronomy expert. Compare the ratings and features of different models.
|Best Overall||Celestron ExploraScope 114AZ||Reflector||Alt-Azimuth||114|
|Best Budget Buy||Zhumell Z100 Portable||Reflector||Dobsonian||100|
114 LCM Computerized
|Best for Camping||Celestron Travel Scope 80||Refractor||Alt-Azimuth||80|
|Easiest to Use||Sky-Watcher Heritage 130||Reflector||Dobsonian||130|
*Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 and based on reviews, feedback, and opinions of actual customers
In This Article
Who Should Buy a Telescope for Kids
- Parents of kids who are interested in astronomy – If you have a budding scientist or astronomer in your home, a telescope for kids is the perfect gift. It will open up a whole new world of exploration and discovery.
Science teachers looking for a classroom telescope – If you teach science or astronomy, a telescope is a great way to bring the subject to life for your students.
- Anybody who wants to foster a love of science and astronomy in young minds – A telescope is a great way to get kids interested in science and astronomy. If you have nieces or nephews, grandkids, or are looking for a gift for a young friend, a telescope is sure to be a hit.
Who Should Not Buy a Telescope for Kids
- Parents of very young kids – If your child is under the age of 6 or so, they may not have the patience or attention span to use a telescope. In this case, it might be better to wait a few years before buying one.
- People who are not interested in astronomy – If you’re not interested in astronomy yourself, it’s probably not worth buying a telescope for kids. They’re likely to lose interest quickly if you’re not there to help them use it and get excited about what they’re seeing.
- Serious amateur or professional astronomers – A kid’s telescope is not going to have the same features or quality as a more expensive model. If you’re an experienced astronomer, you’ll want to invest in a higher-end telescope.
Research Tips (from an Expert)
As an astronomy expert, I often get asked about how to choose a good telescope for kids. Here are some tips and best practices to consider when purchasing a kid’s telescope. Be sure to do adequate research on the product you’re considering purchasing to look for key features and ask your friends, family, or any keen astronomers you know if they can recommend a beginner telescope for kids.
- Aperture size – The aperture is the diameter of the telescope’s main lens or mirror. The larger the aperture, the more light the telescope can gather. This means you’ll be able to see objects in greater detail.
- Mount – The mount is what the telescope is attached to. There are several different types, including Dobsonian, tripod, and equatorial mounts. It’s a good idea to go with a Dobsonian or tripod mount for a beginner telescope since they’re the easiest to use.
- Focal length – The focal length is the distance from the main lens or mirror to the eyepiece. A longer focal length will give you a higher magnification while a shorter focal length will give you a wider field of view.
- Ease of use – It’s important to choose a telescope that is easy for kids to set up and use. Look for models that don’t require any tools for assembly and have user-friendly controls.
- Included accessories – Many telescopes come with additional accessories, such as eyepieces, a finderscope, or a moon map. These can be helpful, especially for kids who are just starting out with astronomy.
How Much Do They Cost?
Between $60 and $400
For most telescopes for kids, you can expect to pay between $60-$400 and still get a quality product. At the lower end of the price range, you’ll find models with smaller apertures and fewer features. The more expensive telescopes will have larger apertures and additional accessories.
Our Methodology: Why Trust Moon and Back
As an astronomy expert, I’ve spoken with many amateur and professional astronomers about the best telescopes for kids. Many of these products were chosen based on my professional experience as an astronomy expert combined with product feature considerations. Products were chosen based on the criteria outlined above, plus personal experience using the product, price, customer reviews, and brand reputation.
The Best Telescopes for Kids: Full Reviews
The Celestron ExploraScope 114AZ is my pick of the bunch for the best telescope for kids. It’s a great entry-level reflector telescope that’s specially designed for astronomy beginners and amateurs.
The telescope has a 114mm aperture, which is perfect for gathering enough light to see faint objects in the night sky. It also has great features like a red dot finderscope and fully-coated glass optics. The Celestron ExploraScope 114AZ is easy to set up and use, making it an excellent choice for kids. It also comes with two eyepieces (K10mm and K20mm) so you can get started observing right away.
- Fully-coated glass optics produce clear images
- Easy to set up and use
- Comes with two eyepieces
- Red dot finderscope helps with aim
- The tripod is a bit flimsy
- Some users say it’s a little difficult to focus
If you’re looking for a great telescope for kids that won’t break the bank, the Zhumell Z100 Portable is a fantastic choice. It’s a portable reflector telescope with a 100mm aperture, making it perfect for young astronomers who want to view the night sky on the go.
The Zhumell Z100 also has a 1.25″ focuser, which is compatible with many different accessories. Changing magnifications is easy with the included 17mm and 10mm eyepieces. Plus, the red dot finder makes aiming the telescope a breeze, even for kids.
- Budget-friendly and great for kids
- 1.25″ focuser is compatible with many accessories
- Includes 17mm and 10mm eyepieces
- Some users say the parts are flimsy
- Support for the product could be better
The Celestron 114 LCM Computerized is an excellent option if you’re in the market for a computerized telescope for kids. It has a 114mm aperture and can automatically locate 4,000 celestial objects with its GoTo mount and hand control.
This telescope also has a “Sky Tour” feature that will generate a list of the best objects to view in the night sky. Everything you need is included in the box, such as an adjustable tripod, two eyepieces, and a StarPointer red dot finderscope.
- Computerized telescope with 114mm aperture
- “Sky Tour” feature generates a list of the best objects to view
- Includes an adjustable tripod, two eyepieces, and a StarPointer red dot
- Free starry night software included
- More expensive than some of the other options
- Some users say it’s difficult to set up and use
The Celestron Travel Scope 80 is a great telescope for kids who love camping and astronomy. It’s equipped with two high-quality eyepieces (20mm and 10mm), allowing you to get up-close views both day and night.
This telescope also has a large 80mm objective lens which provides enhanced views, making it a great choice for kids who want to explore the night sky. The Celestron Travel Scope 80 is quick and easy to set up, and comes with a bonus bag, tripod, smartphone adapter, and software.
- Great for young astronomers
- Portable and lightweight
- Comes with a range of useful accessories
- Quick and easy to set up
- Some users say the quality of the optics isn’t great
- Stability could be improved
Looking for a simple and easy-to-use telescope for kids? Check out the Sky-Watcher Heritage 130. It’s a tabletop telescope that requires no assembly, making it a great choice for kids who want to get started observing the night sky right away.
The Heritage 130 also has a large 130mm aperture, which is perfect for gathering enough light to see faint objects in the sky. Plus, the all-in-one compact design makes it easy to transport and store. This telescope comes complete with several accessories, including two eyepieces and a starpointer finderscope.
- No assembly required
- Large 130mm aperture
- All-in-one compact design
- Comes with several accessories
- Some reviewers say it’s a little bulky
- Customer service could be better
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good starter telescope for a child?
At what age can a child use a telescope?
Can you see planets with a kid’s telescope?
What should I buy for a kid who loves space?