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Telescope for Kids: Ultimate Guide + Recommendations

When introducing your child to stargazing, finding the right telescope for them can be somewhat daunting. I’ve written this to help you find one that’s best, including what to consider and examples of some popular kid’s telescopes on the market.

Best Telescope For Kids V2

A telescope can offer a child so much fun but also education. You can get a cheap kids telescope for around the $100 mark. For a decent one you’ll probably need to pay more.

What is the best telescope to buy for a child?

A good telescope for a child is a 70–80 mm aperture refractor, which should allow them to get a closeup of the Moon and a glimpse of the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn. It’s also low maintenance, light, and compact.

Buying one they can use to explore nature in the day and astronomy at night will extend their enjoyment of it. Refractors are best for this dual purpose.


For kids…Orion offers telescopes, binoculars, and microscopes for them to explore the wonders around them without having to leave home or venture too far!
See what Orion has to keep kids educated and engaged!

Comparison of popular kids’ telescopes

Here’s a quick comparison chart of telescopes for kids around the $100 mark that are popular on Amazon. These are typically refractors (vs reflectors), suitable for both terrestrial and astronomy use.

ProductTop Features$$$
1. Celestron Travel Scope

Celestron - 70mm Travel Scope - Portable Refractor Telescope - Fully-Coated Glass Optics - Ideal Telescope for Beginners - BONUS Astronomy Software Package

80mm aperture
Padded carry case
Smart phone adapter
Magnification: 20×, 40×
Eyepieces: 10 & 20mm
Erect image diagonal
Tripod: Adjustable
See Price*
2. Orion GoScope III 70mm
Editor’s Pick for the price

Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope

Magnification: 44×,20×
Eyepieces: anti-reflection coated 9,& 20mm Kellner
Correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
See Price*
3. Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ

Celestron - PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope - Manual Alt-Azimuth Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - BONUS Astronomy Software Package - 70mm Aperture

Magnification: 35×,70×,175×
Eyepieces: 4,10,& 20mm
+ Barlow lens
90º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
See Price*
4. Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ
Celestron - AstroMaster 70AZ Telescope - Refractor Telescope - Fully Coated Glass Optics - Adjustable Height Tripod – Bonus Astronomy Software Package

Magnification: 45×, 90×
Eyepieces: 10 & 20mm
90º correct image prism
Tripod: Full size
See Price*
5. Emarth Travel Scope 70mm

Telescope, 70MM Aperture Kids Telescope with 2 Eyepieces, 360MM Refractor Portable Telescope for Kids with Tripod & Finder Scope, STEM Toys Astronomy Gifts for Children

Focal ratio: 5.1
Eyepieces: K10/ K25mm
90° correct image prism
Tripod: 40 cm height
See Price*
* at Amazon (affiliate link)

What to look for in a telescope for kids

You might want to consider these basics when buying a kid’s telescope:

In telescopes for kids, you don’t want anything too technical that will be a huge turn-off for the child (and you). Remember, the best children’s telescope is one they will use. Easy setups are part of it. You also don’t want a plastic toy.

Let’s go on and look at these: ✓ Cost, ✓ Ease of use, ✓ Quality of the telescope, and ✓ Versatility.

type of telescope

A refractor type is versatile as a kid’s telescope. This is because refractors (vs reflectors) are small and lightweight, and need little to no maintenance.

Plus…a refractor can fit the dual purpose of wildlife watching and astronomy. Apart from the telescope getting more use, it will give the child more freedom to explore.

Apart from this, if you want one for astronomy only and don’t mind spending a few hundred dollars, check out the Dobsonians on the market. Though bulky, they’re simple to put together and offer more bang for the buck. I discuss why in my article on advantages and disadvantages of Dobsonians.

mount type

A telescope with an alt-azimuth mount is typically best for kids for ease of use. The reason is it’s simple to operate (vs an equatorial type).

children's telescope, a girl looking through a telescope
A refractor with alt-az mount

It moves in two directions (vertical and horizontal movement) to point the instrument at the object of interest.

It’s not useful for tracking or astrophotography, however…

Why?…with Earth always rotating, Jupiter or Saturn seen through the scope will go out of view within seconds. The viewer will need to manually adjust the scope using the mount controls to account for this.

I explain more about mounts in this article article with diagrams of how they work.

A star diagonal

A star diagonal corrects the image so it’s not upside down. It’s an accessory that helps when viewing from a position perpendicular to the normal eyepiece axis.

If you are new to using telescopes, start with my beginner’s guide. You’ll find more info in my article explaining the technical terms relating to telescopes.

Cost of a telescope for children

According to Dickinson, you’re best outlaying $300 or more to avoid the “trash-scope blues”, even with choosing something for a child. See examples of types Dickinson recommends in my article on portable telescopes.


Regarding computerized types, eg. GoTo telescopes, you’ll be paying a lot more and there’s the following to consider:

  • Is the cost within your budget
  • You mightn’t want to overwhelm the child with technicalities
  • You don’t know how long the child will maintain interest in it for such a large outlay


I mentioned a Dobsonian earlier. You’ll pay a few hundred for one of these. A Dobsonian telescope with a larger aperture (say 6″) would be simple to use for a 6 or 7-year-old upwards.

You’ll need somewhere to store this bulkier telescope but your child will learn new skills with a Dob. For example, collimation, could make it the best telescope for a teenager who likes to fiddle with things.


There are a bunch of budget telescopes on the market to choose from as well.

You can get a refractor for around the $100 mark or less that could keep a child entertained for a bit. Some of these come with extras, such as a backpack, sky map, education software, or maybe a smartphone adapter. See five popular examples here with their pros and cons.


One thing… the tripods with these kid’s telescopes are usually flimsy. A shaky tripod will take away from the ease and enjoyment of use for your child. But you can either upgrade or improvise by the means I describe in my piece on dealing with flimsy tripods.

Quality of the telescope

Weigh up whether you want quality that’ll last or just something to occupy your child as an introduction. Does it have cheap plastic or high quality glass optics?

Info sources

  1. Nightwatch, a Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson (available at Amazon – affiliate link). This book contains sky charts and has a spring binding and so is practical for use on location.