The 5 Best Microscopes for Kids [Our Top Picks]

Scientific exploration is the driving force for change. It has brought us life-changing discoveries like electricity, penicillin, X-Rays, and vaccines. Encourage and amaze the budding scientist in your life by purchasing them a microscope! 

Top qualities include a high level of magnification, LED lights, a kit that includes all the needed accessories, and of course, affordability! Depending on your child’s interests, you will have to decide if a stereo or compound microscope better suits their needs. 

Our top choice is the AmScope 120X-1200X Beginner Microscope. This device will allow them to more closely examine the world and spark their curiosity for science! The kit includes everything they will need to build their own slides, inspect pre-made specimens as well as perform and observe their own experiment. The magnification abilities of this instrument are exceptional compared to other options on the market and it comes at a bargain price!

 

Microscopes Microscope Type Max Magnification

Top Qualities

AmScope Kids Beginner Microscope

Compound

1200X

52 Piece Kit with Shrimp Experiment included, Carrying Case, Durable and Affordable

National Geographic Dual LED Student Microscope

Dual (Stereo/Compound) 50X

50 Piece Kit with Shrimp Experiment and Geode Included, Storage Container And a 2 Year Warranty

Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

Stereo 5X Perfect For Preschoolers, Talking Microscope With Storage Area and 100+ Facts About Nature

Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope

Dual (Stereo/Compound)

400X

40 Piece Kit, 2013 Parent’s Choice Gold Award Winner, Affordable and Great For Beginners

Carson MicroBrite Plus Pocket Microscope 

Stereo 120X

Portable, Lightweight, Aspheric Lens For Better Optics and Extremely Affordable

Our Top Picks — Best Microscopes For Kids

1.AmScope 120X-1200X Kids Beginner Microscope STEM Kit

AmScope specializes in microscopes so you know it is a brand that you can trust! This compound microscope has six magnification levels that top off at a whopping 1200 times the original size! These optics are hard to beat! Moreover, the LED light means a long-lasting bulb and a perfect view of the slides. 

This instrument is also equipped with a mirror for added natural light and is more durable than other designs. The carrying case contains 5 pre-made slides and 7 blank ones for your child’s own findings! Additionally, it comes with brine shrimp eggs and a hatching container to let your kids conduct their own ocean experiment! 

The only downside to this product is that it does not have stereo abilities. This means it cannot be used to inspect larger objects like coins and fossils.

Pros

  • Ages 8+
  • Compound Version
  • 120X, 240X, 300X, 480X, 600X and 1200X Magnification
  • LED Light Below
  • 52 Piece Kit
  • 7 Blank Slide Supplies
  • 5 Pre-made Slides
  • Brine Shrimp Experiment 
  • All Tools Included
  • Carrying Case
  • Durable
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No Stereo Capabilities

2.National Geographic Dual LED Student Microscope

National Geographic is a name synonymous with discovery and they strive to provide children with fun ways to fall in love with science! This tool allows kids to see objects that couldn’t normally be seen with the naked eye! Moreover, the dual capabilities let them also view larger objects as well!

Furthermore, the two lenses give your child the option to see specimens magnified at 20 or 50 times the original size! LED lights shine from above and below to enhance the view. Finally, parents will love the two-year warranty that covers any problems that may arise!

This fifty-piece kit has everything your child will need to investigate the wonders of nature! Included are ten biological specimens, a geode, a brine shrimp experiment, and slides for their own personal treasures! Don’t forget the detailed guide that gives kids information on the pre-made samples and on the power and purpose of these instruments. This gift will provide countless hours of entertainment and learning opportunities. 

The only caveat is that the focus knobs can be a bit sensitive. This can make the operation of this device more difficult for younger kids. This model is also more expensive than other brands, but it is also one of the few dual options for children. This means it has more capabilities than alternative instruments.

Pros

  • Ages 8+
  • Dual Version (Stereo / Compound)
  • 20X and 50X Magnification
  • LED Lights Above and Below
  • 50 Piece Kit
  • 10 Blank Slide Supplies
  • 10 Pre-made Slides
  • 1 Geode
  • Brine Shrimp Experiment 
  • All Tools Included
  • Storage Container
  • 2-Year Warranty

Cons

  • Sensitive Focus Knobs
  • Extra Bright Lower LED Light
  • Expensive

3.Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

This talking stereo microscope is the perfect way to introduce your preschooler to science! Bindi Irwin is the voice of this interactive educational instrument. Your kids can learn over 100 nature facts while viewing 60 vibrant images at 5 times the magnification! 

Moreover, this toy has multiple language capabilities and provides a convenient storage area for the 20 included slides. Help to spark your child’s interest in STEM at an early age! This device is a great transitional tool before gifting them with a real microscope. 

Pros

  • Ages 4-7
  • Stereo Version
  • Talking Microscope 
  • 4 Language Options
  • Cushioned Eyepieces
  • 5X Magnification
  • 20 Slides Featuring 60 Image
  • 100+ Facts/Quiz Questions About Nature and Science
  • Attached Slide Storage Area
  • Sparks STEM Interest Early

Cons

  • Not a Real Microscope
  • Not For Older Kids

4.Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope

This is the most affordable microscope kit on our list for the 8 and older age range! It gives users ample magnification abilities and has both stereo and compound functions! This means kids can examine both small and large objects. 

The activity guide helps them navigate the many uses that this instrument can provide with the variety of included supplies. Furthermore, while made of plastic, parents rave about the durability, actually winning a Parent’s Choice Gold Award! 

The only issue is that the lenses are made of plastic, which means that the optics are not as ideal compared to other microscopes on the market. However, for kids who have never used a microscope before, this can be a great way to see if it peaks their interest.

Pros

  • Ages 8-12
  • Dual Version (Stereo / Compound)
  • 30X, 100X and 400X Magnification
  • Activity Journal
  • LED Lights Above and Below
  • 40 Piece Kit
  • 7 Blank Slide Supplies
  • 4 Pre-made Slides
  • All Tools Included
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • 2013 Parent’s Choice Gold Award Winner

Cons

  • Plastic Lenses

5.Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x LED Lighted Zoom Pocket Microscope with Aspheric Lens System

This pocket-friendly stereo microscope gives viewers magnification at 120X at a spectacularly low price! It is lightweight and portable so your kids can use it wherever they so choose, whether in the backyard or on vacation at the beach!

The best feature of this microscope is the aspheric lens, which provides a much sharper view of the specimen being examined. Unlike a normal lens, it removes imperfections, allowing the user to see a true representation of the item.

Unfortunately, this product does not come with any pre-made slides or supplies to create your own. However, a stereo microscope is used to look at larger, 3D objects. Therefore, all you really need to use this device is a flat surface, imagination, and curiosity!

Pros

  • Ages 8+
  • Stereo Version
  • 60X and 120X Magnification
  • Aspheric Lens
  • LED Light
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Portable

Cons

  • No Tools Included
  • No Supplies Included
  • Carrying Case Available For Separate Price

Buyer’s Guide 

Age of User

This should be your number one consideration. Certain models are designed to spark an interest in science with children as young as three! However, these varieties will likely bore children in the 7 and up to age range. 

Conversely, more advanced microscope kits are fantastic for older kids but may contain pieces that could pose a choking hazard for little ones. These also contain supplies that require a more delicate touch so considering the recommended age is extremely important.

Microscope Type

The two main microscope types available for kids are stereo and compound microscopes. A stereo version allows users to inspect larger objects that you can hold in your hands, like geodes or coins. In contrast, a compound lets you examine specimens that you cannot see with the named eye. This can include plant parts, skin cells, bugs, and more!

Some varieties, like the National Geographic listed above, provide you with a Dual Microscope that has the capabilities of both the stereo and compound options. 

Magnification

The purpose of this instrument is to examine objects up close. The greater the magnification, the better you can see the different pieces of the specimen. 

Remember that the higher the magnification, the better the focus function needs to be in order to see things correctly. Younger kids tend to have issues with coordinating these tasks so a lower magnification is usually recommended. 

Kit Supplies

If you are buying a microscope for the first time, you may not realize how many tools are necessary to actually use the device. Looking for kits that include all of the slide-making components, as well as prepared specimens, can lower the overall price while increasing the hours of fun! 

Look for options that include these add ons as well as a carrying case to ensure that pieces don’t get lost or damaged when the tool is not in use. Moreover, packages that come with activity guides and journals can improve the learning opportunities while your child gets a close-up view of nature!

Durability

Microscopes made with metal or hard plastics are the best option for kids. Regular plastic instruments are cheaper, but also run the risk of being broken more easily. The best way to ensure that this purchase stays intact is to keep it in the carrying or storage case when not in use. 

Budget

These can cost anywhere between tens to hundreds of dollars. Not only that, but the supplies needed to use the microscope can bump up the price even more. Thankfully, for devices tailored towards kids, there are lots of budget-friendly options that range between $35-$55. 

Moreover, many of these varieties come with all the tools you need to get your little biologist started! Looking for options that include slides, covers, labels, eye droppers and tweezers can help to lower the cost. Additionally, many come with pre-made slides and activity books that can help to ensure the best bang for your buck!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What can my child look at with a stereo microscope?

The options are endless! Stereo microscopes can be used to view rocks, coins, plants, insects, circuit boards and more! Remember to ensure that the object fits on the stage plate. This is important as you don’t want to damage the lens.

  Can You Stop Child Support If Both Parents Agree

Most kits come with a Petri dish. This allows for the proper illumination of the item and ensures less of a mess when looking at things like soil or pond water. It can also be used for brine shrimp experiments!

Do I need a power source for the microscope to work?

All of the options that we recommend require batteries that are not included in the kits. However, they should contain everything else your child will need for regular operation. 

Can my child reuse the slides provided in the kit or do we have to purchase more?

Blank slides can be used over and over! Just wash them carefully in the sink and let them dry before the next use. 

Are there any safety guidelines to remember when using a microscope?

Safety is key in any science-based activity! When using this device, do not touch the lens. Finger marks can distort the view. Furthermore, be cautious while handling slides. Most are made of glass so there is a risk of them breaking. 

Moreover, remind kids to avoid touching their eyes as the components on the slides could irritate their baby blues. Finally, when carrying the instrument, hold it with both hands. By grasping individual parts of the instrument you risk damaging it. 

The Wrap Up

Curiosity is the motivation of every scientist. The urge to understand and explore can be a powerful tool for success. Indulge your child’s imagination and help them to see a different view of the world through a microscope! 

The best option for your child can be determined by their age and what they want to examine. For a close-up view of objects, they can hold in their hand, look for a stereomicroscope. Conversely, if they want to see what others cannot, shop for a compound microscope. Unsure? Dual microscopes are available too!

The AmScope 120X-1200X Kids Beginner Microscope provides children with a quality instrument and supplies for a reasonable price!

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