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It can be tough to find activities to do with your children that aren’t boring or totally kid-oriented. You can spend 2 hours watching that Disney movie for the 12th time, or you could find an activity that you both will love.
A telescope that you child can enjoy in the backyard alone is a great way for your child to experience the stars while you relax on the porch. There are many ways that kids can enjoy a telescope. We’ve narrowed down some choices for parents who want to expose their child to astronomy. These are all kid-friendly options that aren’t too difficult to learn for either of you.
Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector
Most kid-friendly telescopes are made for adults, too. They’re just easy for kids to look through and understand how to use. You don’t want one with complicated computers unless you plan on learning to use it. It’s easier to have a telescope that moves easily and has a viewfinder that’s simple to navigate.
- Alt-azimuth tracking
- Red dot sight
The red-dot sight makes it easy to setup the telescope when it’s first delivered. It’ll be easy to maintain and avoid problems with the viewfinder in the long run, too.
Astroscan Millennium Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
This is an easy reflector telescope for children to use on their own or with the help of an adult. While the height can’t be adjusted, it’s compact enough to be moved around where it’s needed. Your child can lay on the ground with friends during a star party to share a view of the universe.
- Alt-azimuth mount
- Star and planet locator
- Reasonable price
- Tabletop design
This is a kid-friendly design, but it’s also great for other amateur astronomers, too. It has a great focal length and magnification of 269x at its highest. Along with a great, sturdy design, there’s also a good warranty on the telescope. That’s an important consideration for children.
Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
The aperture is important for amateur astronomers. It’s also important for your child because it allows enough light in for them to have a clear view of objects in the sky. Blurry images will be disappointing to a child who wants to see stars and planets. If you want to pull them away from television and tablets, you’ll need to make sure the view is clear.
- Easy to use out of the box
- Clear images
- 10-inch aperture
- Solid base
Clear views are important, but you also want a telescope that will be easy for them to use on their own. You might not want to spend hours outside while trying to teach your child how to work the telescope. It should be intuitive and easy to use.
Sky-Watcher 12-Inch Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
Most of the telescopes on this list are light enough to be moved wherever you want to view the sky. Unfortunately, this one is collapsible, but it’s not lightweight enough for most children to carry. It can be taken out on camping trips and other areas where there’s an adult to carry it.
- Wide aperture
- Collapsible for moving
- Clear images
The Sky-Watcher has a 12-inch aperture that lets in a ton of light for clear images of deep sky objects. You can see the beauty of the Andromeda Galaxy with this telescope quite easily. Your child will be able to show off the sky to friends and other family members, too.
Orion 8974 SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian Telescope
On this list, we’ve included the XT10, which has a bigger aperture, so why did we include this XT8? There are a few reasons like the lightweight nature of the telescope. It’s a great quality for the price as well. It has a stable base like the XT10, too.
- Stable base
- Great quality
- Reasonable price tag
- Easy to configure
The XT8 Plus comes with a variety of accessories, which is a huge value for the price. There’s a 2x Barlow for magnification, and EZ Finder II, and solar film. The solar filter is fun since your child will be able to safely look at the sun through the telescope.
A reasonably priced telescope doesn’t have to have tons of bells and whistles for your child to enjoy. It’s a piece of equipment that will allow the two of you to bond in the backyard. A telescope will expand your child’s mind away from tablets and social media. You’ll want one that’s easy to use and with enough light to see clear images of recognizable objects in the sky. It should be portable, lightweight and easy for a child to use alone in case you don’t want to spend all your free hours in the backyard with them all the time.