The wonders of microscopy should not be limited to adults in the laboratory, in fact, it should be experienced by everyone, starting at a young age. The good thing is, many people believe in the same thing, and this is why microscopes are being made for kids (and kids at heart).
What’s great about this is that a desire for learning, as well as the skills needed in microscopy, are being honed and developed early. Kids don’t only learn how to use a microscope, but also what certain things look like, and even skills on creativity, resourcefulness, and critical thinking.
Moreover, these microscopes for kids aren’t mere toys, but actual functioning microscopes- some of them even having features and specifications that rival “real adult” microscopes out there, so kids can really make the most out of the experience.
Best Microscope for kids review
To share my passion for everything microscope related, here is a comprehensive list and review of the 12 best microscopes for kids that are sure to deliver a fun and interactive learning experience about the microscopic world.
1. Swift STEM Kit And Compound Microscope For Kids
My number one choice is the Swift compound microscope for kids, which comes with a complete STEM kit that consists of 39 different accessories. It’s a mid range kids’ microscope priced at under 60 dollars, giving you a great value for your money.
It features a decent magnification range of 60 to 200x with its 360 degree rotating objective lenses, a powerful dual illumination from the LED lights situated above and below the specimen stage, and easy to operate coarse and fine focus knobs.
The best part about this microscope for kids is that it has a unique feature, in the form of a smartphone holder and adapter that allows you to conveniently capture images and videos of whatever specimen is under the microscope.
2. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope
In second place is the GeoSafari Jr talking microscope by Educational Insights. It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product when it comes to children’s microscopes, so quality is guaranteed. At less than 50 dollars, it’s also pretty affordable.
And, the great thing about this talking microscope is it comes in various languages, including english, spanish, french, german, and Asian languages. It’s voiced by a popular Australian wildlife warrior, Bindi Irwin.
This children’s microscope is made of high quality plastic, and features a dual purpose base that serves as a storage for the slides, two eyepieces for easy viewing, and easy usage through the various control buttons- all in all, an excellent deal.
Ranking third is the AmScope kids beginner microscope, which is a certified Amazon’s Choice microscope for kids. It’s a complete microscope kit that comes with 52 pieces of accessories, as well as a hard plastic carrying case.
This might be a beginner compound microscope that’s built for kids, but that’s not to say it lacks in performance, since this microscope is equipped with a wide range of magnification levels, from 120 to 1200 times.
It features a monocular viewing head, a two-in-one mirror and LED light illumination source, a specialized color filter wheel, focus mechanisms for coarse and fine focusing, and a stain resistant metal frame in crisp white.
4. Omano Junior Scope Experiment Microscope For Kids
Next up is a microscope for children that’s a little pricier at just a little under a hundred dollars, but with all its features and inclusions, it’s a worthy investment. The omano Junior Scope microscope is perfect for kids aged 6 years old and above.
This microscope features premium grade glass objective lenses with a variable magnification level of 40 to 400x, good enough to view a wide variety of objects and specimens in clear detail. And with both the AC adapter and the battery slots, it’s a perfectly portable microscope too.
Perhaps the best thing about this kids’ microscope is that it has a dual purpose, meaning it can be used for both high and low powered uses, enabling you to conveniently observe and study both opaque and transparent specimens.
5. National Geographic 50+ Pc Kit Student Microscope
Another Amazon’s Choice product for a microscope for kids is this student microscope and microscopy kit made by National Geographic, which is sure to bring out the inner explorer and scientist in any child.
It’s also decently priced at under 70 dollars, especially considering that it’s a dual purpose microscope that makes use of both direct and incidental lighting to illuminate flat and three dimensional specimens with ease.
All in all, it’s a simple yet pretty powerful microscope that any child is sure to enjoy as he navigates the fun and excitement of the microscopic world. The only downside with this microscope is its low magnification, topping at just 50x.
6. Play22 Educational Toy Microscope For Kids
Here is another fun and educational microscope for kids that comes with its own complete scientific kit and a sturdy plastic carrying case. Using this microscope is not only a great learning activity for kids, but is sure to challenge their skills and creativity as well.
It’s a high magnification microscope with an impressive magnification range of 300 to 1200 times, no different than that of an adult microscope. Apart from this, it also features a built in rotating color wheel, a sturdy metal frame, and a non slip rubber bottom.
Moreover, this microscope also features mirrors and LED lights, giving you the choice between natural and direct illumination. In fact, it even comes with a spare light bulb in case the original one reaches the end of its lifespan.
7. Thames & Kosmos Kids First Big And Fun Microscope
A true children’s microscope for young kids is the Thames & Kosmos kids first big and fun microscope, which is everything you’ll come to expect on a microscope designed for kids just past the toddler age. Aptly named, it’s certainly big, fun, colorful, and educational.
It’s also smartly designed with an extra wide monocular eyepiece, so little kids can see through the microscope easily. And, it also comes with prepared slide images in different magnifications, as well as blank slides for the kid to prepare his own specimens.
Plus, the microscope also features a light up specimen stage powered by LED lights, easy adjustment mechanisms for clumsy fingers, and a full color manual that’s fun to read, making for a complete starter set for kids who want to learn about microscopy.
8. Thames & Kosmos Introductory Microscope Kit
Here is one more microscope for kids made by Thames & Kosmos, which is the kids first introductory microscope kit that is perfect for a child’s first home biology lab. It’s a great place to start for older kids who want to learn how to use a proper microscope.
This is because this microscope has ample magnification of 96 to 750x, more than enough to enable kids to discover the science behind living things at a microscopic level. It’s great for examining various specimens such as plants, cells, pond water, and various microorganisms.
It also features two sources of illumination provided by mirrors and LED lights to light up specimens being viewed. And, since this is a complete microscopy set, it comes with a variety of accessories, such as blank and prepared slides, tools, containers, and more.
9. My First Lab I-Explore STEM Stereo Microscope
This next one is a great stereo microscope for older kids. The i-Explore STEM stereo microscope by My First Lab is an award winning microscope for kids that’s easy to use, great for exploration, and isn’t ridiculously expensive, since it costs less than 70 dollars.
It makes use of real glass optics that deliver high quality magnified images of various objects, such as leaves, rocks, insects, and lots of other items, which can easily be seen through its binocular eyepiece. And, it has a somewhat decent magnification level of 20x too.
More than that, this is also a portable field microscope that is great for exploring the outside world and understanding the basics of microscopy. In fact, it can even be used for both bright and dark field techniques, since the stage plate is reversible.
10. F2C Portable Kids Biology Microscope Kit
Perhaps one of the most affordable options that doesn’t sacrifice quality when it comes to microscopes for kids is the F2C portable kids biology microscope that comes with its own complete microscope kit and hard carrying case.
The F2C microscope for kids features a sturdy and high quality steel frame, a monocular viewing eyepiece, and two types of illumination from a mirror and an LED light bulb. It also boasts of a high variable magnification of 100 to 1200x.
There’s a lot of included tools, accessories, and even specimen samples, including a complete experiment set for brine shrimp hatchery that kids are sure to enjoy, promising unlimited hours of fun and learning all from a tiny package.
11. Explore One Beginner Microscope For Kids
Another nice microscope for smaller kids who are just learning how the world works is the Explore One beginner microscope. It’s a complete microscope and accessory set that comes in a crisp looking white and blue, and is decently priced at just under 50 dollars.
This microscope is especially designed with a young child in mind, especially with its binocular eyepiece, the textured frame grip, and large focus knobs, not to mention the compact and lightweight engineering of the microscope itself.
What’s especially great about this is that while it’s a microscope for little kids, it still features a high magnification of 100 to 900x, which is quite difficult to find on most beginner kids’ microscopes. It even has a built in color filter wheel.
12. Buki Mini Children’s First Basic Toy Microscope
Last but certainly not the least is the Buki Mini children’s first basic toy microscope, which is an adorable little package that is built with a young, clumsy, and adventurous kid in mind. In fact, the design of the microscope is all curvy, so there’s minimal risk of injury.
This microscope even features binocular eyepieces for little kids who don’t yet know how to focus with one eye. It’s also easy to use with its compact build and large, protruding knob, and comes in a bright and energetic color palette.
It also makes use of bright LED lights to provide illumination for viewing various objects, and a magnification of 10x that’s just adequate to allow kids to view and observe textures and details of objects found at home and in nature.
What you should consider when buying a microscope for kids
As you have seen above, there are various types of children’s microscopes, all promising lots of different things- which is great, but can be a pain when it comes to the time you need to choose which microscope is most suitable for the intended recipient.
To help you out, here are the most important things you need to consider when buying a microscope for kids:
Since a microscope is an optical tool that is used to magnify images of a specimen, it just goes to say that the magnification power of the microscope is important, since this will determine how much can be seen through the microscope.
Most microscopes for younger kids have low magnifications of only up to 20x, since these will be used to look at easily tangible objects, not stuff like cells, which are hard to comprehend for a four year old.
That said, microscopes for older kids, say, aged 8 and above, may often feature higher magnifications that reach up to 1200x, which is the standard for a compound microscope.
Another essential factor is how the microscope provides illumination to the specimen being studied. One nice thing about children’s microscopes is that a lot of these feature two different light sources in the form of a mirror and a light bulb.
Mirrors are great and low maintenance, and provide ample incidental lighting, while light bulbs are excellent for transmitted light. These days, most bulbs are LED, which are bright and energy efficient.
Another thing is that you may find that some microscopes have the capacity to provide lighting both above and below the specimen stage, making them dual purpose compound and stereo microscopes, thus maximizing their use.
Components and specs
How the microscope is designed and built also matters, since a child will be using it. It needs to be compact and lightweight, with a sturdy base, easy to control knobs and mechanisms, and eyepieces that are easy to look through.
For younger kids, this often means a binocular eyepiece, since their eyes are not yet trained to peek through by just using one eye.
And, in this aspect, the focus of the microscope is also essential. We all know that microscopes can be difficult to focus even with our experienced hands, so how much more for clumsy little fingers of a small child?
Now, most microscopes for kids come with their own accessory sets, which include the usual things you’ll need for standard microscopy, except these are a child friendly version. These include tweezers and pipettes, petri dishes, specimen containers, and so on.
What you should be looking for are the specimen slides, since most kids’ microscopes come with a set of readily prepared slides of various specimens. Some of these are just printed images rather than actual specimen samples.
Besides, some of these microscopes have especially designed slide stages, so a standard microscope slide may not fit properly.
As with any sort of material purchase, the price matters when it comes to buying a microscope for kids. You definitely don’t want to spend anywhere near the same amount of what a “real” microscope costs, since you’re only getting a fraction of the performance.
The beauty of kids’ microscopes, however, is their cheap prices. You’ll easily find microscopes that are just a little over 20 dollars, and some of these are complete with lots of accessories already. Although, there are also more expensive options at around 100 dollars.
What’s important here is to make sure that you are getting the best value for your money by not looking only at the price, but the quality of the product as well.
Microscopes for kids are fun and educational tools that children are sure to enjoy as they discover the microscopic world around them. The great thing about them is that they are affordable, easy to use, and come with lots of exciting must haves.
My personal recommendation for the best microscope for kids is the Swift STEM kit and compound microscope, which is a mid range kids’ microscope with a complete accessories set, an average magnification, and a unique smartphone adapter for taking live images and videos of the specimen on the microscope stage.