Many adults will remember using microscopes in school and even at home. After some frustration and adjusting of focus knobs, a new world was opened up for viewing. Even today, the discovery of the “invisible world” among us can still generate a feeling of awe that video games can’t match. Microscopes for kids show students and young scientists aspects of our world that are not able to be seen by the naked eye.
Microscopes for kids and teens should be durable and simple to use. Magnification power is an important consideration. Higher power microscopes will allow viewing of smaller objects. Many microscopes include additional accessories such as carrying/storage cases and prepared microscope slides so that viewing can begin right away. Most importantly, any microscope chosen for a child should encourage scientific exploration in a fun and educational way.
Here are our recommendations in 2021 for parents looking to buy a great microscope for their child.
Best Microscopes For Kids
My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope
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AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W Beginner Microscope Kit
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Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope
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Celestron Beginner Microscope Kit
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AmScope M158C-E Compound Monocular Microscope
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Thames and Kosmos Biology Tk2 Scope
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Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Zoom LED Lighted Pocket Microscope
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SE Mini 16x Microscope with Illuminator
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Reviews of the Best Kids Microscopes
Winner of The Top Toy Award by Creative Child Magazine, the My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope is an excellent microscope for young scientists in middle or high school that they can use all the way into college. A real professional scientific microscope and not a toy, it functions as both a compound and stereo microscope. Its sturdy construction is great for younger users and it includes a 50 piece accessory kit. The quality was great and that it does things some of the scopes in your school lab might not do. It is made of very durable materials, is easy to use, and is extremely high quality for the price.
This microscope comes with an instruction manual to guide you and your child. The magnification levels you’ll be able to achieve with this instrument might surprise you. The combination of a 10x glass-optic eyepiece plus 4-40x magnification settings means you’ll be able to achieve 40x – 100x right up to a maximum magnification level of 400x. It’s a good choice for any aspiring scientist. It’s a good candidate for the best microscope for students as well – either high school aged or college – especially at this price point.
With its convenient storage case and well-appointed accessories, the AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W Beginner Microscope Kit is an excellent choice for any curious youngster. The microscope with its STEM kit is a great birthday gift for a beginner scientist and to create enthusiasm for STEM-related topics.
It is made from ABS plastic, and metal, which is durable and well-constructed for handling by young children. The ABS plastic portable case keeps the 49 accessories safe inside the case, perfect for storage and avoiding losing pieces. Ten prepped slides make it one of the best microscopes designed for kids and high school students who like STEM activities. The prepped slides are perfect for learning how to line up what you are looking at and finding the best focus.
Included in the kit is everything a budding scientist may need from reusable blank slides to tweezers, an eyedropper, a petri dish, and more. It even has a complete brine shrimp hatchery science experiment! The microscope features six adjustable magnifications: 120x, 240x, 300x, 400x, 480x, 600x, and 1200x settings and a built-in color filter wheel. The bright built-in LED light provides a light source that assists with direct easy to use viewing and the reflecting mirror is made for great LED illumination.
The AmScope Kit is the best microscope for kids who are starting to discover the world of science and biology. It is battery powered and requires 2 AA batteries. The microscope comes in two colors, white or black.
The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscopes is the best microscope for kids to develop an interest in biology and botany. The STEM toy is designed to introduce plants, animals, and household items to preschoolers while they listen to the voice of Bindi Irwin, Wildlife Warrior, Australia Zoo conservationist.
With 5x maximum magnification and a focus-free dual eyepiece, kids from 4-7 years old may learn more about nature up close. The dual eyepieces allow for comfortable viewing; there is no need to try and keep the one eye closed while focusing on the microscope eyepiece with the other eye.
The package contains 60 colorful images and over 100 facts and questions. The Fact Mode and Quiz Mode may keep children engaged in learning while having fun. Fact Mode teaches your child about the slide they are looking at, and Quiz Mode test their scientific skills.
The Celestron Beginner Microscope Kit has a maximum 1200x magnification and includes a carry case and accessories like prepared slides and blank slides for preparation. It also comes with brine shrimp eggs and hatchery. Teens can hatch the brine shrimp and then observe them under the microscope. This is one that’s fun, educational, and inexpensive too!
A step up from the less expensive microscopes for kids, the AmScope M158C-E Compound Monocular Microscope is great for older high school or college students that are ready for more in-depth scientific exploration. This digital compound microscope has a built-in camera for displaying images on a computer or projector. Simply plug in the USB microscope into your computer to get started. This tool will reach magnification levels of up to 1000x, which is great at this price point.
The ability to display images on a screen also makes this a good choice for teachers. This USB microscope is wonderful and well worth the price! The option to hook it up to the computer will really help to keep younger siblings from touching it, and it allows young scientists to show friends and family what they’re looking at.
The Thames and Kosmos Biology Tk2 Scope boasts durable construction and high-quality optics for clear viewing. It comes with several accessories and full-color manual that walks high school students through set-up, preparing slides, and using the microscope, as well as several fun experiments. It has optical grade objective lenses, a light switch that can be toggled from above or below the specimen, and is still easy for a teen or child to use. The clarity is amazing for a beginner scope. It’s one of the best all-around student microscopes.
The Carson MicroBrite 20x-40x Zoom LED Lighted Pocket Microscope is fun, inexpensive, and portable microscope for young explorers. I wish I had this microscope when I was a kid because it’s meant to be used. At this price point, you won’t be mad if it’s lost or broken, yet it still has enough magnification settings to allow your children to explore the natural world.
It doesn’t have the raw magnification power of other microscopes for kids, but it’s a perfect field microscope. Young explorers will enjoy using this microscope to explore the world around them. I love the portability of this microscope. It fits nicely in small hands, kids can look at just about anything, and easily carry it with them. It’s a great choice to quickly get your high school students exploring outside the bounds of the classroom.
The pocket-size SE Mini 16x Microscope is the best microscope for kids who like to take their microscope on field trips and backyard adventures. The microscope has a carry pouch to fit snugly in your child’s pocket or backpack. The pouch also protects the microscope lens from scratching.
With a 16x magnification, the microscope is a perfectly reasonable priced option for children who also enjoy collecting stamps, coins, or other treasures. Now they can include their hobby with STEM activities by investigating items under the microscope.
The two bright LED lights are adjustable to illuminate the viewing area for the best results. Your little one may be delighted to discover the details of insects or leaves under magnification. Using the microscope is easy. Place the object on a flat surface and adjust the focus until you have a clear picture through the viewfinder. For improved vision, slide the LED light switch on for LED illumination of the object. The microscope needs 4 AG7 batteries, which are included in the package.
Best Microscope For Students Buyers Guide
Features To Look For In A Microscope for Kids
When buying a microscope for your child, you should consider the basic features of a microscope and your child’s age and experience too. Your child’s level of skills operating a microscope and what your child is going to use the microscope for may determine which microscope you buy. Are you buying toy microscopes to stimulate motor skills or tools that may stimulate your child’s interest in STEM subjects? Does your child need the microscope for classroom use, field trips, or are you buying it for an experienced user that needs a professional microscope? Is this for fun or for class – are you looking for microscopes for students? Most kids won’t need professional operating systems; the microscopes designed for children should be sufficient.
Magnification and Focus
Check the magnification and focus specs of the microscope considering your child’s age. Younger children and beginners may not mind the limited image quality and focus range of a cheaper model because it is more of a toy to inspire interest than using the microscope for science projects and as an educational tool. While not designed as microscopes for students, they are designed to take a little more punishment – something important if your child isn’t a teenager yet.
The older the child or, the more experienced a child is, the more important magnification power becomes. Seeing deeper into the microverse feeds the flames of inquiry. You don’t want your child disillusioned and have an adverse reaction toward biology or science because the microscope couldn’t focus or magnify well enough.
Construction and Frame
Microscopes made from sturdy and durable material may last longer than flimsy microscope toys. A high-quality plastic microscope with metal pieces, for example, may withstand a young child’s rough handling and may clean effortlessly. The best microscopes have a mechanical stage for better fine focus.
A quality microscope may cost more initially but be a cost-effective solution in the long run.
Viewing a slide or specimen under a microscope requires a light source. Microscope light sources are LED, or fluorescent, or halogen. LED illumination last longer and are very bright, ideal for a microscope.
Check the number of bulbs the microscope uses, not all microscope function with only one LED bulb. Make sure the package includes replacement bulbs. If replacement bulbs aren’t included in the purchase, make sure you can buy the bulbs elsewhere.
The best kids’ microscopes often come with a starter kit that includes all the accessories needed to stimulate usage. Some beginner microscope kits include prepared slides that children may view. Others have science experiments and specimen collectors so that kids can grow their specimens.
Most kits may include all the necessary elements to prepare a glass slide for viewing: clean slides, droppers, test tubes, Petri dishes, methylene blue, tweezers, specimen storage, and more. You may find kits that include an activity journal for kids to make notes and record their findings.
When selecting a microscope kit, consider your child’s enthusiasm, age, ability, and desire to experiment.
Different Types of Microscopes
Monocular and Binocular Microscope
A binocular microscope (also known as stereo microscopes) with two eyepieces may seem like the obvious choice for a child, but it isn’t always. Children’s eyes are set close to each other. With two eyepieces, the microscope must have the ability to adjust to fit the child’s eyes; it differs from toddler to teen. A toddler may prefer using a monocular microscope with one eyepiece if the binocular microscope is too wide for their eyes.
A monocular eyepiece requires closing one eye for better viewing. If your child struggles to keep the one eye closed or close the correct eye, then a binocular microscope could be a better option.
Traditional and Digital Microscopes
A traditional microscope’s optic specifications are for the human eye. The child views the slide through an eyepiece. They adjust the focus and magnification according to what they see with their naked eyes.
A digital microscope delivers the information to a computer or Mac by means of a digital camera and optics. Kids who enjoy science and technology may appreciate a digital microscope because of this built-in camera. Thes tools usually come with a built-in LED microscope light source, and the optics meet digital specifications, not human eye specs. Digital camera microscopes may have a better magnification range or a monocular head.
Using a digital microscope may have less of a learning curve for kids and beginners but are generally more expensive than traditional microscopes. Traditional microscopes, however, may include prepared slides and accessories digital microscope kits may not have. The latter works with apps instead of kids creating slides with Petri dishes, a test tube, and other experiment items. You may even find video games that inspire the usage of digital microscopes.
Stereo Microscope and Compound Microscope
A stereo microscope has limited functionality and ideal for young children and beginners. It may have fun, educational value to inspire kids, but it can’t view tiny objects not visible to the naked eye. Younger children generally view specimens that they can see with their naked eye, like a bug or a spider web.
If your child is interested in STEM subjects or you want to stimulate their interest in science experiments, then a compound microscope is an excellent choice. The compound microscope has the ability for detail viewing and is suitable for kids to prepare their specimen slides. Compound microscopes have the functionality teenager and budding scientist require when viewing cheek cells, pond water, and interesting specimens.
Many manufacturers design kids’ microscopes that have stereo and compound properties.
Benefits of Microscopes
Microscopes designed for kids to teach kids about science and biology in a fun way. It opens a world that they can’t see with the naked eye. It gives children the opportunity to explore the environment and nature from a different perspective.
Playing with a microscope is entertaining and simultaneously and educational tool. A microscope may help children appreciate STEM subjects and introduce them to the delight and challenges of experimentation.
Microscopes may inspire creativity in children of all ages. Their imagination has no limits with what they can inspect under a microscope. Even the magnification of a toddler toy microscope may stimulate a child’s imagination.
Operating a microscope at a young age, may stimulate motor skills and also familiarize a child how a microscope function. By the time they need to operate one at school, they are comfortable using one and won’t be embarrassed in front of their peers.
Microscopes for kids allow young scientists to explore the world around them, including factors that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Can you recommend a microscope? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, National Eye Institute.