In a time where kids spend most of their days confined indoors and immersed in their phones and computers, parents find it hard to lure their kids outdoors. Interacting with the world around them is highly encouraged for children. It helps them build themselves mentally and physically. To encourage your children to leave their phones and look at the world around them, you need to capture their interest. Giving your children a taste of astronomy is a great way to do this. And that’s why we’re going to be looking at the best telescopes for kids today.
There’s a huge range of astronomy telescopes that are made specifically for kids. These telescopes aren’t as powerful as a full-fledged telescope. However, they’re more than capable of doing what they’re made for. A decent telescope for kids can easily provide a great view of nearby celestial objects.
Kid-sized astronomical telescopes are pretty much like adult sized telescopes. The only difference is that they aren’t designed to offer extreme precision and laser focus. They pack just enough power to produce a decent image of what you’re pointing it at. However, this doesn’t mean that these telescopes aren’t worth buying. They’re supposed to provide an astronomic viewing experience that tickles your child’s interest at a reasonable price point. And this is exactly what they do.
In today’s article, we’re going to provide you with all the information that a parent may need to pick a telescope for their kid. We’re going to give you a brief introduction on astronomical telescopes. Then we’re going to take a look at some awesome telescopes for kids.
What’s The Right Age For Getting a Kid Telescope?
The best thing about astronomy is that everyone enjoys it. You don’t need a particular mindset or level of intellect to understand it. People like gazing up at the stars, it’s just an instinctual habit that is derived from our curiosity. As soon as your child is old enough to understand the concept of stars and planets, they become eligible for a telescope. Kid-sized telescopes are made for children between the ages of 7 to 10 years. If your child is older than 10 years, then you can buy a proper telescope for them. There are plenty of beginner telescopes that can be great options for kids entering their teens. We’ve covered a couple of beginner telescopes in a previous article.
Things to Look Out For
If you’re going to buy a telescope for your child, then you need to make sure that you get something worth buying. Your child’s astronomy experience will be influenced greatly by the telescope that you provide for them. You want to make sure that you buy a kid telescope that is child-friendly and also functional. Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when looking for a telescope.
- You can find many toy telescopes on the market. These are the kind of telescopes that you want to avoid unless you’re simply buying a toy for a toddler. A proper child astronomy telescope should be functional. Toy scopes offer poor image quality, aren’t stable, and generally are a bad purchase.
- You also want to keep the price in mind. You don’t want to spend too much money on a telescope that you’re getting for your kid. This is because your child will eventually outgrow that telescope. A decent telescope for kids will cost around $100 to $200. A telescope within this price range will provide a pretty great stargazing experience for your kid.
- Safety is going to be important when your child is using the telescope. You may be wondering what could be dangerous in stargazing. A telescope can become a very harmful object if it is pointed towards the sun without proper precaution. Your child may not understand why you shouldn’t view the sun through a telescope. It’s your duty as a parent to make sure that they realize how to use a telescope safely. We recommend that you monitor your child whenever they’re stargazing during day time.
Types of Telescopes
There are three major types of telescopes. We won’t be going into too many details about their types and functioning here since these things won’t matter much. You can read about telescope types in more detail here if you’re interested. There are reflector telescopes and refractor telescopes. There’s also a third kind of telescope that are a combination of reflectors and refractors.
Reflector telescopes are the easiest to use and maintain. They make use of mirrors to capture light and direct it to the viewer’s eyes. Reflectors are also more affordable since their construction is simpler. However, they aren’t ideal for use in well-lit areas. Reflectors are a great option if you want to view nearby objects in the night sky.
Refractor telescopes use lenses to capture light. They cost a bit more than refractors but are also able to provide better image quality. Their closed tube design also makes them usable in well-lit areas. Refractors can perform well during the daylight as well as during night time. They also capture objects that are further away more clearly.
Apart from the design of a telescope, there are a handful of other things that you should be aware of — namely, a telescope’s aperture, focal length, and magnification.
The aperture of a telescope is the diameter of its main (objective) lens. A bigger objective lens captures more light and makes the telescope more powerful. The focal length of a telescope is the distance between your telescope’s lens and its focal point. The focal length will determine the size of the image that your telescope captures. A longer focal length will produce a larger image. Lastly, your telescope’s magnification determines how much can a captured image be enlarged. This is determined by the focal length and your telescope’s eyepiece. Eyepieces are usually detachable and can be swapped out for stronger ones later on.
Now that we’ve acquainted you with telescopes, let’s take a look at some great kid’s telescopes.
Best Telescopes For Kids Reviews
Meade Lightbridge Mini 114
Zhumell Z100 Portable Altazimuth Reflector
Celestron Inspire 100AZ
These are some great telescope options for parents who want to introduce their kids to astronomy. All of these telescopes are reasonably priced and well-made. They’ll provide your children with a decent stargazing experience that will let them explore this hobby. The best thing about these telescopes is that they’ll provide you with a great way to bond with your child. You can learn the ropes of astronomy together and witness the wonders of space.