Buying a telescope for your kid or as a gift for your niece or nephew is a bit of a minefield, with so many options to choose from it’s no wonder that there are much easier options than a telescope but this shouldn’t put you off, a telescope can be a great gift that just about any kid would love since they are naturally curious about space and other planets, it can really put them on a path to be excited about learning more.
The best telescope for kids need to be very easy to use, if you’re going to buy one that’s going to get them interested in the solar system and space then you need to make sure you don’t make a mistake and end up with a cheap scope that is difficult to use – this is a sure fire way to make a kid frustrated and bored.
If you’re buying as a gift then you’ll also want to think about accessories, things like a Planisphere or Planetarium software will make your stargazing much easier and since most kids really enjoy the interactive process and the discovery of new things these accessories will keep them entertained for hours.
The biggest mistake that most people make when buying a scope for a kid is that they forget most kids are impatient so if the telescope is difficult to use, takes hours to set up and generally a frustrating experience you can bet that kids will just go back to watching the TV, what you really want out of your scope is something that is so easy to use the child can set up it themselves (although we always recommend adult supervision!).
Another mistake that people make is buying a toy telescope, these tend to be cheap and plastic and you generally can’t see very much with them except for maybe the moon, to avoid this mistake you need to check the product description on the retailers website and if you have any doubts just send them a quick email or give them a call – the last thing you want is a disappointed kid who was expecting a telescope and got a toy instead.
You can play it safe by doing a few things, the first thing you should do is check the online reviews, most retailers have this option embedded on their websites so be sure to read through them and especially read the ones that bought the scope as a gift, this will give you some insights into potential problems that you might have such as the weight of the scope, the set up time and how fast it is to set up.
The next thing you want to do is buy a branded telescope, branded scopes ensure that what you are getting is a high-quality product from a specialist who understands a good quality build and has experience with how people use telescopes on a day to day basis, if you don’t opt for a brand then you may find your telescope will break after a certain amount of usage.
The great news is that many brand names actually have telescopes that are specially designed for kids so this is a great way for you to start your shopping experience, if you buy one of these telescopes you can’t really go wrong but because they are a brand name you will have to have a decent budget to do so.
A kid-sized telescope means it will be very easy to use and light enough that they could carry it around with them or at least use it very quickly and easily, complicated telescopes just means that kids will get bored very quickly and lose interest, follow the tips outlined in this article and you can stay safe and you may just increase a kids interest in astronomy so that they want to learn more.