There is no better way to whet a child’s appetite for science than peering into tiny world with a microscope. And nothing will pique their interest than an actual metal, real-lens microscope as compared to a cheap plastic one that shows nothing. Plastic microscopes cannot survive what kids put them through not to mention that the plastic lenses warp easily and don't focus well.
The right microscope can be an amazing purchase for a kid, opening up a new world and instilling a newfound love for science. The wrong microscope, on the other hand, can lead to frustration, wasted money and disappointment. That said, here are a few of the best microscopes for kids available on the market.
A List of the Best Microscopes for Kids
Magnifies up to
Petri dishes, forceps, covers and labels for the do-it-yourselfer, empty slides, several prepared slides.
20 accessories including tweezers and prepared slides
1 shrimp hatchery, 1 specimen slicer, 5 prepared slides, 7 empty slides, 7 slide cover, 1 petri dish and 7 slide labels just to name a few
2 extra large eyepieces and a large focusing knob for small hands, bright LED
Full Optical Glass Elements, Precise Ground Glass Lens
starter pack of accessories plus optional add-on accessory kits.
48-piece microscope set
Software and USB connection
Includes observation dish and tube for exploring objects and liquids
81 piece accessory kit
Made by C&A Science, this model works as a stereomicroscope (with light shining from above) or as a compound microscope (with light shining from below). It comes with glass lenses that magnify with clarity. The kit that comes with the microscope is stocked with handy accessories including Petri dishes, forceps, covers and labels for the do-it-yourselfer, empty slides as well as several prepared slides.
Not many microscopes come with a large prepared slide library and this one has four. For the most part, the body is metal making it less sturdy than all-metal options but more affordable at a lower cost. It magnifies up to 400X, thus providing a detailed look at cells and tissue.
The optics are of good quality while accessories like a scalpel as well as teasing needle to maneuver samples means this model is not a real toy. It is best used by kids 8+ years old. It also comes with a dust cover for protection. The microscope is battery operated, making portability easy.
C&A is a scientific equipment company and not a toy company. As such, customers are in good hands if they run into any problems. The company has a customer service number that you can call for assistance.
This microscope is perfect for kids aged 10+ and offers the benefits of top and bottom LED light for a duo combination to observe objects. It is a fitting model for kids that are just starting to learn about studying objects with a microscope because the kit comes with several useful tools.
It also comes with an instruction manual that guides children on how to use the microscope to view slides of specimens and objects. There are 20 accessories that are included ranging from tweezers for dissecting objects to view different sections, prepared slides that demonstrate how to look at cells of microscopic objects. You may want to purchase additional slides as your kid learns and becomes more familiar with using the microscope.
The Thames and Kosmos Biology TK2 Microscope comes with 3 objective lenses that are optical-grade class. They can be used to view objects at 40X, 100X and 400X with a 10X ocular lens. It has a metal body and a few plastic components but overall, it is quite sturdy and durable. The aperture wheel adjusts the focus of the magnification so that your kid can see objects clearly. It is powered by 3-AA batteries and can therefore be carried to the yard.
If you strictly in the market for a compound educational kid’s microscope, the AmScope M-30-ABS-KT2-W is a good bet. I find it more suitable for older kids that want to study objects at a molecular level. It utilizes LED and mirror illumination for viewing objects.
The microscope comes with a built-in color filter wheel and is equipped with a metal arm that improves durability. It magnifies at 300X, 600X and 1200X with a rotating turret. It has spring-action clips that hold slides in place on the specimen stage for better viewing. The accessory set includes 1 shrimp hatchery, 1 specimen slicer, 5 prepared slides, 7 empty slides, 7 slide cover, 1 petri dish and 7 slide labels just to name a few. It also comes with its own hard case for storage when not in use.
The optical lenses are made from plastic rather than glass, which can affect the clarity. The value is, however, pretty descent for a kid’s microscope. The mirror illumination is another flawed attribute of this model and is common in cheaper microscopes. This poses a risk of eye strain in children when they try to focus as well as vision damage when used in the direction of the sun. This is another reason why it’s only recommended for older kids.
Parental guidance is advised when using this microscope outdoors. Otherwise, it’s best to use the LED light.
This is a good microscope for young kids aged 3+ years. While it’s more akin to a powerful magnifying class, My First Microscope will do a good job of sparking interest in kids and encourage them to find objects around the home to view in detail. It’s easy to recommend this model to anyone whose kid is below 5 years old as it’s cheap. It retails at less than $20.
Features include 2 extra large eyepieces and a large focusing knob for small hands, bright LED that can be toggled with a push button for clearer views, powered by 3 AAA batteries, 2 eyepieces that eliminate the need to close one eye, up to 8X magnification, right-side up and left-right correct, easy to focus, non-slip feet, dissecting microscope as well as a sample tray.
Parents should encourage children to pursue their natural instincts and My First Microscope is a little learning tool with useful features and that can be used to start a discussion about the natural world.
This is a perfect microscope for elementary to high school students who want to study science. It comes with LED illumination, mechanical stage, coarse and fine focusing, 360-degree monocular head, metal framework and full optical glass elements. It offers five magnification settings i.e. 40X, 100X, 250X, 400X and 1000X.
It is also an excellent option for home schooling and hobbyists. Other notable features include all metal mechanical components, precise ground glass lens, single lens condenser and disc diaphragm, focusing control knobs on both sides, high resolution offering sharp images, plain stage with clips and stain resistant finish, solid metal frame with stain resistant enamel finish, 45-degree inclined monocular head and more. It is brand new in original body and comes with a 5-year factory warranty.
This high power microscope for viewing slides can also be used as a monocular dissecting microscope for viewing larger objects like plants, insects and coins. It is made with variable cool LED illumination and glass optics, making it an excellent gift for elementary and middle school students.
It has a plain, flat top stage that offers a two slide clips for securing specimen slides. Its rack and pinion focus includes coarse/fine controls that are dual sided for added convenience. It has a slip clutch and rack stop that helps prevent accidental damage. The six hole pinhole aperture for illumination control as well as resolution quality provided is exquisite.
It also comes with a filter holder for optimal adjustments. It uses upper and lower LED illumination with variable light intensity that can run a long time, making it a perfect companion for school field trips. The microscope is powered by 3 AA batteries. The microscope offers three magnification levels i.e. 40X, 100X and 400X. Other features include all metal construction as well as a starter pack of accessories plus optional add-on accessory kits.
Every field of science in today’s world of technology utilizes microscopes. They are used by astronomers to study fallen meteorites, archeologists to study ancient artifacts, geologists to study rocks and minerals as well as biologists to study microorganisms.
The Educational Insights MicroPro allows kids to explore the world they live in and analyze items up to 600X magnification. While it is recommended for kids, it can still be used to study objects on a cellular level. It is made with advanced features and quality components that make it ideal for any learning science at any age.
The light is powered by 2 AA batteries, which have to be purchased separately. The kit includes one 10X eyepiece, one 20X eyepiece, a scalpel, stirring rod, spatula, a pair of tweezers, one test tube with cap, one Petri dish, a pipette, three prepared slides, three specimen vials, eight slide labels, eight blank slides and sixteen slide covers.
The powerful 48-piece microscope set is perfect for home and classroom use. It provides a great introduction to a real science tool as it includes safe and fun science experiments that help promote self-discovery. It is also part of the award winning GeoSafari line.
When it comes to computer compatible microscopes for children, the QX3 holds its own. It lets you zoom in to get up close details of the world around you and the ability to display findings on a computer makes the experience more fun. The ability to project images onto a computer eliminates the need for kids to squint into an eyepiece.
The software also allows you to paint and draw on the images. By meshing the world of science and art, this microscope does a good job of fostering curiosity as well as creativity. Some of the features that make this an excellent learning tool include an operating manual, handheld mode for versatility, USB connection, magnification at 10X, 60X and 200X, as well as projection of images to a computer. The images are surprisingly sharp and crisp for what is essentially a toy. Software and USB connection capability make it a plug and play device whose setup is easy.
While it has some impressive features, no unit is 100% perfect and this model has its flaws. Some customers complain that the image sensor is loud, and this can be distracting. In addition, the focus is a little sensitive at the highest power, which can be frustrating for less patient kids and students.
The biggest complaint, however, has to do with the software which automatically sets the computer’s screen resolution to the lowest setting and doesn’t restore the original settings when the user is done. It is more expensive than most of the models on this list and despite its quirks, users will have a lot of fun exploring new worlds with it.
This is unlike any other microscope that you’d see for sale as it brings magnification to a whole new level and location. It makes microscopy fun for everyone in the household. The EyeClops Bionic Eye is a hand-held microscope that projects images onto a TV.
With ease of use and detailed images, it blurs the line between educational tool and fun toy. Useful features include cord to connect the unit to a TV, observation dish and tube, LED light source as well as up to 200X magnification. One of the most desirable attributes of the EyeClips Bionic Eye is that it works by simply connecting to a TV, thus allowing children to share their findings with friends and family.
It connects directly to an A/V port that’s found on almost on any TV. Its ease of use is another thing we love. As it doesn’t have software requirement, all you have to do is plug and play. It magnifies objects up to 200X and turns an ordinary TV to an interactive object.
It comes with a test tube and Petri dish that allow the user to examine objects that are hard to handle. It uses LED lights and is powered by 5 AA batteries that aren’t included. As for the picture quality, many users cite being surprised at the fine detail it provides, although it’s not uncommon for images to appear grainy with some static.
This is a nice microscope for kids of all ages. One of the best attributes is that it is an all-in-one microscope, projector, viewer and camera attachment. It functions like traditional compound microscopes but you can project images onto a paper or wall.
The additional camera lets users take pictures, making it easy for them to share their findings. Useful features include two different light options, eighty-one piece accessory kit, magnification power ranging from 100X to 1200X, as well as a carrying case. Besides camera and projection features, it also includes handy tools like a collection vial, a needle, a scalpel, a Petri dish, slides and tweezers.
The microtome helps users get thin specimens for making slides. It is powered by two AA batteries and you have the option to use either LED light or mirror to illuminate the specimen. The above features combined with the availability of a carrying case means that you can use this carrying case in varied environments.
Consumer complaints mainly have to do with the battery compartment. One has to remove a gasket and screw to access the compartment when changing batteries. This is made worse by the fact that batteries burn out quickly. While there are metal parts, a good deal of them are made from plastic. This makes the microscope less sturdy than one would hope for a child's microscope.
Things to Look for in a Kid’s Microscope
Now that you have a basic understanding of the best kid’s microscopes out there, you have in mind what to look for. Here are additional pointers to keep in mind when in the market for a microscope for kids.
- Quality: The key to getting a quality microscope is looking at the specifications. What is the material of the body/arm? What are the lenses made of? You want to opt for something with a metal body over plastic for better durability. As for clarity, a microscope that uses glass lenses.
- Practical: What will your child use the microscope for and how will they use it? A heavy microscope may be more durable and offer better clarity, but it won’t be suitable for little adventurers that want to venture outdoors with it. A battery-operated microscope also offers more portability.
- Accessories: Many microscopes designed for kids come with accessories for their observations so keep these in mind when looking for good value. Some come with both prepared and blank slides. You can also opt for kits that include dyes or stains for use with specimens. Be sure that the stain/dye included is not toxic.
Whether you are looking for the perfect gift or an educational tool, a kid’s microscope can have so much more to offer your young one. Finding things to look at and observe is a fantastic way to encourage children to learn. It is equally fun for parents to join in and observe varied objects and specimens with their kids.