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What’s the Best Telescope For Kids for Stargazing?

Encouraging children to stargaze helps expand their minds. Children are naturally curious and so introducing them to a beginner telescope or a good set of binoculars to check out the night sky helps them develop a broader understanding of the world around them. Finding the best telescope, however, can be slightly daunting. This telescope buying guide is about helping you with what to consider when buying a kid’s telescopes.

So what is a good children’s telescope? Lightweight telescopes are a start. These make the best portable telescopes not only for taking on hiking trips and other outdoor ventures, but also for kids to learn about astronomy. There are other qualities to look for, as well, so read on.

Short on time? Check out this best value for money portable telescope.

Comparing Popular Kids Telescopes

Here is a comparison table of popular kids telescopes. You’ll find reviews including pros and cons of these telescopes for kids plus others (list includes telescopes under $100) in the following sections. After the table is the section on features to look out for.

ProductTop Features$$$Editors Rating

Celestron Travel Scope 70mm

Padded carry case
Magnification: 20×, 40×
Eyepieces: 10 & 20 mm
45º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
See Price4.0 stars

Orion GoScope II 70mm

Roomy backpack
Magnification: 16×, 40×
Eyepieces: 10 & 25 mm
45º correct image prism
Tripod: 43 cm height
See Price3.8 stars

Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ

Magnification: 35×, 70×, 175×
Eyepieces: 4, 10, & 20 mm + Barlow lens
90º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
See Price3.9 stars

Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ

Magnification: 45×, 90×
Eyepieces: 10 & 20 mm
90º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
See Price4.0 stars

Emarth Travel Scope 70mm

Instant refund or replacement until satisfied
Focal ratio: 5.1
Eyepieces: K10 and K25 mm
90° correct image prism
Tripod: 40 cm height
See Price4.0 stars

Which is the Best Telescope for Children?

Which telescope should I buy for my kids? The children’s telescopes presented in the table are refractor types, which are typical of entry level telescopes for sale. Compared to reflector telescopes, refractors are smaller and very lightweight. Also, they require very little maintenance, making them popular kids telescopes. Those listed are easy to set up.

Alt-azimuth is a type of mount to look for. It is a simple two-way moving mount (vertical and horizontal movement) to help point the instrument at the object for viewing. A star diagonal (correct image prism) is another feature to aid viewing from a position perpendicular to the normal eyepiece axis.

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

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

Let’s start with the three basics when buying a kids telescope: ✓ Cost, ✓ Ease of use, ✓ Quality of the telescope, and ✓ Versatility.

Cost of a Telescope for Children

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

Refractors

So, maybe start with something that’s reasonably inexpensive, like a refractor. All those listed here are refractors in that $100 or less price range. Also, consider what extras you get for that price. Does it include a backpack, for example.


Dobsonians

If you are looking for something more upmarket, maybe a couple of hundred dollars more, and still really simple to use for a 7 year old or beginner, consider a quality Dobsonian telescope with a larger aperture (at least 8″), like the SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope by Orion. You’ll learn more skills with these, like collimation, which could make it the best telescope for a teenager who likes to fiddle with things.

Check Out the Skyquest xt8


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). Remember, the best children’s telescope is one they will use. A refractor is a good telescope for kids, for this reason. All those listed here claimed to be easy to set up.

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. For example, what is the quality of the glass? Are you looking for a toy, or something more?

Versatility

Here’s a tip for you if you are wanting the best kids telescope. For a telescope kids will enjoy the most choose one that’s portable and which can double for birdwatching or other terrestrial uses. It will give your child more freedom to explore and of course, the telescope gets more use. More ‘bang for buck’, so to speak.


Popular Kids Telescopes Reviews

Here are reviews of eight telescopes for kids that are top sellers, including the five compared above.

#1. Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope Review

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 and Cons: the Celestron 70mm Refractor

You may need to adjust the tripod, 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.

Pros:
  • Comes with a sturdy padded backpack
  • 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 (but you can fix this – see notes above)
  • Has plastic components (though these reduce the weight and cost factors)

CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICE


#2. Orion 10034 GoScope II Refractor Telescope Review

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, e.g. 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 and Cons: the Orion GoScope Refractor

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

CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICE


#3. Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ Refractor Telescope

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 and Cons: The Celestron Powerseeker 70AZ

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

CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICE


#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 and Cons: The Celestron Astromaster 70AZ

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

CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICE


#5. Emarth Telescope 70mm Refractor Review

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 – according to Emarth, who is a supplier of outdoor, sports, and electronic goods.

What to expect with the eyepieces:

Pros and Cons: The Emarth 70mm Refractor Telescope

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

CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICE


#6. 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 and Cons: The CSSEA 70mm Refractor Telescope

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

CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICE


#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 and Cons: The MaxUSee 70mm Refractor Telescope

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

CLICK HERE TO SEE LATEST PRICE


#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 and Cons: The TwinStar 60mm Refractor Telescope

Pros
  • Comes with a full standing height tripod that is also lightweight
  • Cheap price
Cons
  • No carry case
  • Flimsy tripod
  • Turning portion not smooth when adjusting for Earth’s rotation
  • Smaller aperture size than others listed here

CHECK PRICE AND MORE REVIEWS HERE


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. These are not the usual kids’ toys.

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

When seeking to buy the best telescopes for kids on the market, there are a few things to consider. You’ll notice that the ones recommended are 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).

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