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What’s the Best Telescope For Kids for Stargazing?

Opening children to stargazing at an early age helps expand their minds and educates them on the wondrous world around them. Children are naturally curious and so introducing them to a telescope or a good set of binoculars helps them explore the world beyond the norm. Finding the best telescope for them, however, can be a bit daunting.

So what is a good telescope for stargazing with kids? This guide aims to help you out with a good telescope for kids. It covers what to consider and compares some of the best telescopes for kids on the market.

Short on time? Here’s my suggestion for the best value for money kids telescope.

What is the Best Telescope for Children?

If you are new to using telescopes, you may want to find out more about the different telescope features.

Either way, you want more than a plastic toy, right?

Let’s start with the three basics when buying a kids telescope. These are the things you care about:

✓ Cost

✓ Ease of use

✓ Quality of the telescope

✓ Versatility

Cost

For a first telescope, you might not want to go as far as purchasing a GoTo telescope. You don’t want to overwhelm them with technicalities and you don’t know how long your child will maintain their interest in stargazing.

So, it’s a good idea to start with something fairly inexpensive. You’d probably be wanting to look at telescopes under $100.

>> Go to my review of the best telescope for beginners

Ease of Use

One thing about telescopes for kids: You don’t want something too technical or it may be a huge turn-off for the child (and you). From this perspective, the best childrens telescope is one they will use.

Quality of the Telescope

Naturally, when looking for telescopes for children, you’ll want something that’s going to give them enjoyment when viewing the stars. The features to consider include the eyepieces, the type of telescope, and the aperture size.

Versatility

Here’s a tip for you if you are wanting the best kids telescope. Choose one that doubles for birdwatching or other terrestrial uses. It is this about a telescope kids will enjoy, as it will give them more freedom to explore and of course, the telescope gets more use. More bang for buck, so to speak.

Finding the Best Telescope for Kids

If you are wondering which telescope should I buy for my kids, here is a comparison table and below are some pros and cons on recommended telescopes for kids. You’ll find ones here for under $100. These also make the best portable telescopes for those looking to travel.

Comparison Table of Popular Kids Telescopes

The children’s telescopes presented in the table are refractor types, all with an aperture size of 70mm, typical of entry level telescopes for sale. All are recognized as easy to set up. Alt-azimuth is the type of mount used in each. It is a simple two-way moving mount (vertical and horizontal movement) to help point the instrument at the object for viewing. Each has a star diagonal (correct image prism) for viewing from a position perpendicular to the normal eyepiece axis.

ProductTop FeaturesPriceEditors Rating
Celestron Travel Scope

Padded carry case
Magnification: 20×, 40×
Eyepieces: 10 & 20 mm
45º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
Astronomy Software
VIEW4.0 stars
Orion GoScope II

Roomy backpack
Magnification: 16×, 40×
Eyepieces: 10 & 25 mm
45º correct image prism
Tripod: 43 cm height
Moon Map
VIEW3.9 stars
Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ

Magnification: 35×, 70×, 175×
Eyepieces: 4, 10, & 20 mm + Barlow lens
90º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
Astronomy software
VIEW3.9 stars
Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ

Magnification: 45×, 90×
Eyepieces: 10 & 20 mm
90º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
Astronomy software
VIEW4.0 stars
Emarth Travel Scope

Instant refund or replacement until satisfied
Focal ratio: 5.1
Eyepieces: K10 and K25 mm
90° correct image prism
Tripod: 40 cm height
Maps of Moon and stars
VIEW4.0 stars

I cover more telescopes below where I review these five plus another three telescopes for kids.


#1 Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope

Suggested Ages: 6+ years

This is a popular scope for kids because of its portability and its quality at a low price. It has an aperture size of 70 mm (about 2.75″), a focal length of 400 mm, giving it a focal ratio of 5.7.

The item includes a lightweight adjustable tripod and two eyepieces (20 and 10 mm) for 20× (with a 2.5 degree field of view) and 40× magnification for likely views of Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons.

It ticks the box for easy to use as, like most listed here, it is easy to set up, with no tools required. The manufacturer, Celestron, stands by their claim that you can set this up in just minutes. Celestron is considered as one of the best telescope brands. It offers US-based support on the technical use of their instruments.

The telescope has an alt-azimuth mount for navigating to and pointing at celestial objects in the night sky. The pan handle with this works in an up and down, and left to right motion.

This telescope has fully coated glass optics for vivid views. Accessories include not only the tripod and eye pieces, but software to help your child get to know the solar system and where to look for planets and constellations etc. There is also a 45 degree prism to correct the image for a suitable plane of viewing. Tip: For looking at those objects high in the sky you might want to consider purchasing a 90-degree one as well.

Pros:

Comes with a sturdy padded backpack, is lightweight, affordable, and easy to set up. Can double for wildlife spotting. Wide field views. Included software for education.

Cons:

Full size tripod is flimsy – Tip: adjust to place it on a table, the roof of your car, or top of a fence for better stability. Otherwise, consider investing in a sturdier tripod with the easier movement of controls. Has plastic components (but this reduces the weight and cost factors).

SEE THE LATEST PRICE ON THIS TELESCOPE ON AMAZON


#2 Orion 10034 GoScope II Refractor Telescope

Suggested Ages: 6 – 18+ years

This is another one with an aperture size of 70 mm (about 3″), a focal length of 400 mm, giving it a focal ratio of 5.7, this time by Orion. The eyepieces that come with this one are 25 and 10 mm. These lenses provide good magnification for viewing details of the moon, like craters, and the telescope comes with a moon map for educational insights.

Orion is another well-known brand of telescopes.

You’ll likely get views of Jupiter and its moons and rings of Saturn. It might be worth buying one or two smaller lenses (e.g. 4 mm, 6 mm) separately or in an accessory kit, if your child is going to be interested in the details of planets. This telescope like most listed here is not suited to viewing deep space objects given the limitation of the aperture size.

It comes with an adjustable tripod and sturdy backpack to carry the telescope and all accessories.

Like most of these, it doubles for daytime use with terrestrial viewing and is a portable scope.

Pros:

Moon map included for information about the moon’s features. Easy to put together. Affordable price. The backpack has extra space to include personal items along with the accessories.

Cons:

Tripod is not full size for adults but it can be placed on table or top of a vehicle to give it added height.

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON


#3 Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ Refractor

Suggested Ages: 6 – 18+ years

This refractor telescope is one of Celestron’s PowerSeeker range. It is simple to use, well built, and of good quality. It’s an ideal children’s telescope. Being a PowerSeeker, it comes with three eyepieces (4, 10, and 20 mm) and a 3× Barlow lens.

The optics are fully coated glass to provide enhanced image brightness.

Aperture size is 70 mm (about 3″) and focal length 700mm, giving a focal ratio of 10. Your child should get a good view of the moon and be able to observe the bright planets such as Venus.

It comes with a full-size tripod and stands about a meter from the floor. The mount is an alt-azimuth for manual movement to navigate to and adjust to stay pointed at objects in the sky.

The child will have fun in trying out the different lenses and working out the trick in figuring out which lens to use.

With this telescope, you will get a computer program where you can add your location and it will show you what constellations and planets are visible in that part of the sky at certain times of the year.

Pros:

Lightweight, portable, and affordable. Has a 90º correct image prism. Easy set up with no tools required. Good achromatic optics for a lightweight package. The range of eyepieces.

Cons:

Plastic parts (designed for lightness and low cost). No carry case — you will need to buy it separately.

CHECK REAL OWNER REVIEWS ON AMAZON


#4 Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor

The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ is similar to the PowerSeeker 70AZ (above) but is said to have better construction (less plastic). The alt-azimuth mount is solid metal and the tripod has metal legs and a locking tray.

The other differences: It has 2 eyepieces (20 and 10 mm). The focal length is 900mm and aperture size 70mm, giving a focal ratio of 13 and making it a ‘slow’ telescope with a narrower field of view but higher magnification for the eyepieces used. (Magnification = telescope focal length ÷ the eyepiece focal length).

With this, you should easily see the Moon in HD and then Mars, Jupiter and its moons, Saturn, Venus, and the Orion Nebula.

Includes free Starry Night astronomy software.

Pros:

Easy to set up. Affordable price. Includes a container for the eyepieces. Includes a 90º elbow for ease of viewing. Focal length.

Cons:

No carry case. The tripod can cause frustration when trying to keep object in view.

BUY ON AMAZON


#6 Emarth Telescope 70mm Refractor

Manufacturer Recommends Ages: 12+ years, but 3+ years can use this telescope designed for children.

This lightweight kids telescope comes with a 40 cm adjustable tripod, a finder scope, and carry bag. It has an aperture size of 70mm, a focal length of 360 mm, and therefore a focal ratio of 5.1.

It is super easy to set up since it is a no-tool gig. It has an alt-azimuth mounting and can be moved vertically as well as horizontally.

It sports fully coated optics and extras for the child to experience using, including a 3× Barlow lens to increase viewing power and two eyepieces (25 mm and 10 mm) giving magnifications of 128× and 51×.  It uses BAK-4 prism for better viewing. Other accessories include a solar system map.

This kids telescope, sold by EmarthTech, comes with a 24 month warranty: “We will make an instant refund or replacement for you until you are satisfied with it”, and 24 hour service. Emarth is a supplier of outdoor, sports, and electronic goods.

What to expect with the eyepieces:

Pros:

Compact scope at an affordable price. Having a carry case makes it good for traveling also.  It also has a lifetime money back guarantee.

Cons:

Tripod (40 cm) is not a full standing height for an adult. No astronomy software but does include maps of the moon and stars.

READ REVIEWS ON AMAZON


#5 Review of the CSSEA 70mm Telescope for Kids

Suggested Ages: 3+ years

This refractor kid telescope seems pretty much similar to the Emarth telescope but with different badging.

It comes with an adjustable tripod, finder scope, two eyepieces (25 mm and 10 mm) and a 45º correct image prism for viewing object in a suitable orientation. Aperture size is 70mm and focal length is 360 mm, giving a focal ratio of 5.1. The glass optics are fully coated.

The package includes a backpack carry case, manual, and a map of the moon and stars.

Expect this to be easy to set up as it is promoted as a no-tools quick setup.

Like the others, it doubles as a nighttime telescope for sky watching and a daytime scope for bird watching and scenery viewing.

Pros:

It includes an educational kit. And, it has a lifetime money back guarantee. A good price considering the number of items included in the package.

Cons:

Short tripod.

CHECK OUT ITS REVIEWS ON AMAZON


#7 Review of the MaxUSee 70mm Refractor Telescope for Kids

Suggested Ages: 6+ years

Similar shape to the previous telescopes for kids shown above. This comes with a tripod and a finder scope. It is another ‘no-tool’ needed setup that’s easy and good for portability.

Includes a 3× Barlow lens, three eyepieces (6, 12.5, and 20 mm), Moon mirror, and an erecting eyepiece. The package also includes binoculars (8 × 21) with BK7 roof prism and FMC green multi-coated optics, which offer clear vision.

Pros:

A bit cheaper than the last two. Has four eyepieces — 6 mm, 12.5 mm, 20 mm, & 25 mm. Includes a set of binoculars that the child can use to explore the outdoors or simply to complement the telescope in locating an object in the night sky.

Cons:

The tripod is short and is not adjustable. No carry case.

BUY ON AMAZON


#8 TwinStar 60mm Refractor Telescope Review

Suggested Ages: 6+ years

This is a compact telescope. It comes with two eyepieces 6 mm and 20 mm, a 2× Barlow lens, a lightweight tripod, and is fitted with an alt-azimuth mount. Aperture size is 60mm and has acromatic lens. The focal length of 300mm, means the focal ratio is 5.

Like the others, it is easy to set up. It is simple to use with just 4 parts.

With some practice, you will be able to pick up at least four of Jupiter’s moons and the rings of Saturn.

Pros:

Comes with a full standing height tripod that is also lightweight. Cheap.

Cons:

No carry case. Flimsy tripod. Turning portion not smooth when adjusting for Earth’s rotation. Smaller aperture size than others listed here.

SEE REAL OWNER REVIEWS ON AMAZON


 

What Can Kids Learn Through a Telescope?

A good child’s telescope will encourage children to learn about astronomy!

A telescope will open your child’s thinking to new perspectives. For example, they will learn about constellations, the unique features of the moon, and the Milky Way, and the enormity and complexity of our Universe. They will get an idea of just how small, the planet they live on, Earth, is compared to the size of the cosmos.

With stargazing, they will learn how to read sky maps and get to know the names and features of distant objects. They will get to learn how to take care of instrumentation.

As the telescopes mentioned double for terrestrial pursuits, they will learn about nature and be able to watch the behaviors and characteristics of animals and plants close-up. Especially early morning or late afternoon they will learn the most when birds and animals are active.

They’ll practice calculations e.g. with understanding the magnifying power of eyepieces.

A telescope will teach them a whole new set of horizons and support their fascination and curiosity. It will remain a toy for some, but even as a childrens toy telescope, it will still help develop their imagination.

If there is one available, it’s best to get them involved in a local amateur astronomy club or similar, as they will learn the most from the experience of others.

Final Thoughts

You’ll notice that these are all refractors. Refractors are low maintenance and durable types and hence why they are suitable for children’s telescopes. The alt-azimuth mount is common because it is light and simple. But, a thing to note, is that it does not track objects and you will need to manually adjust by moving the handle up and down or left to right to account for the rotation of the Earth. For example, a star might go out of view in 20 to 30 seconds on high power (175x magnification).

Hi, Jeff Madden here. I’m an enthusiast of the wide open spaces with over 15 years experience in presenting spatial data. I like to research and compare the latest technology available. My writings are about helping others explore and capture visuals of the outdoors.