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Best Microscope for Kids and How to Pick the Best One

Last Updated June 9, 2021

By  Janice Warren

If you're planning to give your child the chance to explore the world, then the best microscope for kids is a powerful tool you should consider. The right microscope can be an amazing way to teach the kids to explore their own interests and stimulate their love of science.

So, whether you're looking for a birthday or Christmas gift for a kid, a microscope can act as both an educational and fun gift. For a child's microscope, it is important to focus on ease of use and durability. You don't want to get one that is too complicated for a child to use.

We have reviewed the five best microscopes for kids, their pros and cons to help a quality one. Moreover, we have a buying guide to help you know the major factors you need to consider before buying a kid's microscope.

5 Best Microscopes for Kids

1. AmScope 120X-1200X 52-pcs Kids Beginner Microscope

Sale
AmScope 120X-1200X 52-pcs Kids Beginner Microscope STEM Kit with Metal Body Microscope, Plastic...
  • Beginner compound microscope provides high magnification for educational applications
  • Monocular viewing head with LED and mirror illumination and built-in color filter...
  • Forward-facing rotating turret provides 120x, 240x, 300x, 480x, 600x, and 1200x...
  • Coaxial coarse focus has a rack-and-pinion focus mechanism on a durable and...
  • Comes with 52-piece accessory kit and hard-sided plastic ABS case

The AmScope 120X-1200X 52-pcs Kids Beginner Microscope boasts a full package, considering it is an entry-level microscope. Its monocular viewing head has LED lights and a built-in color filter wheel for effective operation. With its rotating turret, this microscope can provide a magnification of up to 1200X and is recommended for kids over six years.

It features a bundled shrimp hatchery experiment that allows the young one to engage in scientific experiments by observing the life cycle of tiny creatures, taking notes, and analyzing their hatching process. In addition to the prepared slides, this Amscope microscope also offers a variety of slide preparation kits.

This STEM-friendly microscope comes with a great carrying case that is packed with 52 accessories, including prepared slides, a petri dish, tweezers, a replacement light bulb, etc. It is ready for use right from the box, and you will require no additional purchases because the two AA batteries are also included in the kit.

  • Pros
  • Durable plastic and metal frame
  • Powerful magnification
  • STEM friendly tools
  • Includes AA batteries, carrying case, and replacement light bulb
  • A built-in color filter wheel
  • Stain-resistant white metal frame
  • 52 piece accessory kit
  • Cons
  • Not recommended for preschoolers

2. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope

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Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope Featuring Bindi Irwin: Microscope for Kids,...
  • LOOK, LISTEN & LEARN: GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope features up-close, quality...
  • ONLY TALKING MICROSCOPE FOR PRESCHOOLERS: Introduce children to a real scientific toy...
  • OVER 100 FACTS & QUESTIONS: Includes 60 beautiful full-color images and 2 modes of...
  • STEM LEARNING: The perfect STEM TOY to encourage an interest in biology, botany, and...
  • BACK TO SCHOOL or HOMESCHOOL ACTIVITY: Our Geosafari Jr. interactive talking products...

The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope features the narration of a conservationist, Bindi Irwin teaching kids more than 100 interesting facts about animals and plants using an integrated microphone. It is a real scientific toy that is fun to learn with and easy to use.

This microscope for kids features a built-in storage compartment that houses 20 slides with three images per slide. You can use these slides for different modes of play that include Fact or Quiz. The microscope will identify the images out loud and recite the fun facts, and later will quiz the child on their knowledge of each slide.

It comes in German, Spanish, French, and English audio options. This a perfect toy to encourage the kid's interest in botany and biology and overall curiosity. The microscope provides a perfect activity to get ready for school. It requires three AAA batteries that are not included

  • Pros
  • Multiple language modes
  • STEM friendly
  • Unique interactive features
  • Internal slide storage
  • Great for preschoolers
  • Easy to use
  • Two modes of play
  • Budget Microscope
  • Cons
  • 5X magnification, which can be underwhelming for older children.

3. National Geographic Dual LED Student Microscope

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dual LED Student Microscope – 50+ pc Science Kit Includes Set of 10 Prepared...
  • TWO MICROSCOPES IN ONE! Use the lower LED lights to view biological specimens on...
  • OVER 50 ACCESSORIES INCLUDED – Explore a curated set of 10 prepared slides with a...
  • POWERFUL LEARNING TOOL – This microscope features two sets of optical glass lenses...
  • BRINE SHRIMP EXPERIMENT INCLUDED – Track the life cycle of brine shrimp with the...
  • SATISFACTION GUARANTEED – The National Geographic STEM series provides kids...

National Geographic is an iconic wildlife brand that offers a wide range of science-centric toys for kids, with the National Geographic Dual LED Student Microscope being one of the best microscopes for kids. This beginner microscope is STEM friendly since it encourages a higher level of education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

It comes with a 50 plus accessory set including a comprehensive learning guide, a mini geode, a petri dish, 10 prepared nature slides, and two sets of optical lenses (20X and 50X). With a pair of LED lights the microscope has, you can view 3D objects or objects in a flip of a switch. It comes with its own brine shrimp experiment with a hatchery station and shrimp eggs.

It is a simple yet powerful microscope that every child would enjoy doing their science experiments of the microscopic world. This microscope is decently priced, considering it is a dual-purpose microscope. However, it has a low magnification of 50X.

  • Pros
  • Professional design
  • STEM friendly tool
  • Kids can view both slides and 3D objects
  • Two years warranty
  • Simple and dual-purpose
  • Complete brine shrimp experiment
  • Over 50 accessories
  • Cons
  • Lower magnification
  • The transmitted light illuminator may be a challenge to use

4. My First Lab Duo Scope Microscope

My First Lab Duo Scope Microscope - Young Scientist Microscope Set, for Students
  • AWARD-WINNING STEM MICROSCOPE - The My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope is an...
  • OUR MFL DUO-SCOPE is an ideal Microscope Kit for Kids Grades K-12, equipped with 50...
  • THIS KIDS MICROSCOPE KIT, in addition to the user manual and experiment guide,...
  • LAB STEREO MICROSCOPES with REAL GLASS OPTICS – Your new kid microscope comes...
  • 1 YEAR MANUFACTURER WARRANTY – My First Lab microscopes for kids protects your...

My First Lab Duo Scope Microscope is another best beginner microscope for kids aged nine years and above. It comes packed with high-quality features suitable for middle schoolers as well as high school students. This microscope features a dual illumination feature which makes it more versatile than other microscopes available in the market.

It features one LED light source below, which is great for viewing prepared slides, and the second LED light for viewing solid 3D objects. The eyepiece allows 10X magnification, with the objective glass lens providing a magnification of 40X, 100X, or 400X. Unlike other microscopes for kids, which have plastic lenses, this Duo Scope Microscope has glass lenses.

Other important features include a 6 hole disc diaphragm, a rotatable head, and dual focusing knob and include 50 different accessories. It requires three AA batteries that are not included in the packages, and because it lacks a mirror illuminator, the batteries are important.

  • Pros
  • Dual-illumination feature
  • Durable build
  • Professional grade optics
  • Glass objective lenses
  • 50 accessories included
  • Cons
  • More expensive
  • Too many small parts can be overwhelming for younger kids.

5. OMAX - MD82ES10 40X-2000X Digital Microscope LED

OMAX - MD82ES10 40X-2000X Digital LED Compound Microscope with Built-in 1.3MP Camera and Double...
  • High quality professional optical glass elements; 45 degree inclined 360 degree...
  • 8 levels of magnification: 40X-80X-100X-200X-400X-800X-1000X-2000X; 4 achromatic...
  • Sliding interpapillary distance adjustment; Ocular diopter adjustable on both eye...
  • Stage upward moving lock protects objectives and slides; Stain-resistant double layer...

The OMAX - MD82ES10 40X-2000X Digital Microscope LED is one of the best digital microscopes for high-school students who are looking to take their experiments to the next level. It features a swiveling binocular head with a built-in 1.3-megapixel USB camera, compatible with Windows and Mac, that helps the microscope take video clips and pictures of various projects.

This digital microscope comes with eight LED-illuminated levels of magnification, ranging from 40X to 2000X. The mechanical stage is easy to adjust and also has two coaxial knobs used for coarse and fine focusing. It also has a sliding interpupillary distance adjustment which allows for customization to different face sizes.

The build features a stain-resistant double layer mechanical stage that is sturdy and durable. The coaxial coarse and focus knobs on both sides allow easy adjustment of the focus to get the desired results. Lastly, the transmitted illumination of this microscope for kids has a LED light whose intensity is customizable.

  • Pros
  • Built-in 1.3-MP digital camera
  • Powerful magnification
  • Durable construction
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac
  • Sliding interpupillary distance adjustment
  • Eight magnification levels
  • Variable intensity illumination
  • Cons
  • Expensive
  • The carrying bag is not includedHeavy

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Microscope for Kids

1. Types of Microscopes

There are two main types of microscopes for kids, stereo microscopes and compound microscopes. While some microscopes only offer one type, others feature dual functionality where you can use them as both.

a). Compound Microscopes

A compound microscope features a light source that has been positioned at the bottom of the scope. The light shines up into the specimen through the eyepiece. These microscopes are used with either plastic or glass slides that help to view tiny things like fibers and cells.

This type of microscope requires high power because of the magnification needed to view the fine details. It can either come as a monocular (one eyepiece) or as a binocular (two eyepieces), which is considered simpler for younger kids.

b). Stereo Microscopes

A stereo microscope has the light source positioned at the top, where the light shines down at the specimen. In comparison to the compound microscope, stereo microscopes require less power because they don't require a lot of magnification strength. These microscopes allow you to view and examine larger specimens like coins, rocks, etc.

2. Age of the Child

Before you but the best microscope for kids, you need to keep in mind the age of the kid. A stereo microscope is recommended for preschoolers or kindergartners who have an interest in viewing larger objects. These kids don't have a complex understanding needed to view the fine details like cells and fibers. They also lack the knowledge to be able to operate a compound microscope independently.

A dual feature microscope featuring a compound and stereo microscope is recommended for kids under the age of 10 years. This is because it allows the kids to operate the stereo feature independently and the compound feature under the supervision and parental guidance.

For older kids, a compound one might be the ideal option because they give the kid a firm foundation on how the microscopes work and how to handle the glass sides as well other functions carefully.

3. Focus and Magnification

A microscope is simply an optical tool used to magnify the images of a specimen. For this reason, the magnification power is a crucial aspect to consider because it determines what can be seen through the microscope.

Children's microscopes tend to have lower magnifications of up to 20x since they use them to look at tangible objects and not finer details that are hard to understand. However, microscopes for older kids of 10 years and above tend to have higher magnifications that can go up to 1200x.

4. Light Sources/ Illumination

Kids microscope will feature two different light sources in the form of a light bulb and mirror. Mirrors are low maintenance and great since they provide incidental lighting. On the other hand, light bulbs come in handy for transmitted light. Most microscopes nowadays have LED bulbs that are energy efficient and bright.

Some microscopes also have the ability to provide lighting both below and above the specimen stage. This makes them dual-purpose compound and stereo microscopes which ensures you maximize their use.

5. Material and Size of the Microscope

While shopping for a children's microscope, you want to ensure that it is made from high-quality materials. Microscopes that feature a durable and sturdy construction may last longer compared to the flimsy microscope toys.

You need to ensure that the material and the build can withstand your child's rough handling and also make cleaning easy. Ensure you check the recommended age, size, and features to ensure the device perfectly matches your kid's and your needs.

6. Accessories

Most kids' microscopes include accessories sets that include the things you need for standard microscopy, only that they are child-friendly versions. Some accessories include specimen containers, pipettes, tweezers, Petri dish, specimen storage, methylene blue, test tubes, clean slides, droppers, etc.

You should always look for specimen slides since most microscopes for kids come with prepared slides for different specimens. Some of them are just printed images rather than actual specimen samples. Some are also designed with slide stages which means a standard slide may not properly fit.

7. Budget

During the purchase of the best microscope for kids, the price matters. Since you will only get a fraction of the real microscope's performance, you don't want to spend an amount anywhere near the price of a real one. What's important is that you find a quality microscope that gives you great value for money. Luckily, there are microscopes out there for every budget but ensure you don't compromise on the quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Microscopes for Kids

1. What is a good starter microscope?

The AmScope 120X-1200X 52-pcs Kids Beginner Microscope is the best microscope for beginners, although some users find it also suitable for advanced users. The microscope comes with a number of great features, including LED lights, a built-in color filter wheel, a rotating head, etc.

2. What is a good age for a microscope?

Children above three years old can start doing fun experiments because it is easier to teach them how to use and handle the microscope. However, children below six years might require supervision and parental guidance, but those above six years might be able to use the microscope independently. 

Janice Warren


Janice is a full-time writer at Infantcore, writing about her experiences as mother of 4.

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