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If your kid loves science, nature or discovering new things then a microscope is the perfect present, encouraging them to see the world in a whole new way.
But with microscopes for all ages and abilities and a range of specifications and features to choose from, selecting the best one can be a real challenge. To make life easy, we've drawn up this list of the best kids microscopes on the market and explained what you can expect from each one.
Whilst kids tend to be ready to prepare and observe their own slides aged between eight and nine, this list includes microscopes for younger children too - they don't need to miss out on the fun!
These microscopes will keep your kids occupied for hours - but if you're looking for further hands-on entertainment, check out our list of the best science kits or these great space toys that are out of this world.
Kidadl's Top Pick
All the microscopes on this list are a great bet, but if you're short on time this is our top pick based on price, versatility and design.
1. AmScope Kids' Beginner Microscope STEM Kit
Ideal for beginner scientists, this microscope set comes in a sturdy portable case with 49 great accessories including ten prepared slides that are perfect for learning how to set up and use it properly. The microscope itself comes with six adjustable magnifications (from 120x to 1200x), a bright LED light and a built-in colour filter wheel. The accompanying kit is really comprehensive for such a reasonable price, featuring reusable slides, a petri dish, tweezers and more. Overall, this is an excellent choice and is sure to inspire enthusiasm and curiosity.
- Price: £35.45
- Age: 6+
- 2 AAA batteries required (included)
Best For Families On A Budget
2. Learning Resources Nancy B's Science Club Microscope
This microscope has a fun, kid friendly design but is also a high quality piece of kit. A great introduction to science, it is geared toward younger kids but will keep them happy for many years. The microscope itself enables children to view slides at 30x, 100x and 400x magnification and features LED lights. More than 20 accessories are also included in this kit, such as slides, a petri dish and test tubes. Best of all is a great little activity journal which provides inspiration for lots of different experiments and activities.
- Price: £32.49
- Age: 5+
- 3 AAA batteries required (not included)
Best For Early Years
3. Learning Resources Geosafari Jr My First Microscope
Colourful and lightweight but durable, this fun little child's microscope is perfect for toddlers. Two extra-large eye pieces and the large focusing knob make this easy and straightforward for younger children to use and the viewing compartment is large enough to house lots of interesting objects. Because it is intended for youngsters it only has one magnification level (8x) and no accessories such as petri dishes or tweezers, but for charm and ease of use, it's a great bet.
- Price: £19.98
- Age: 3+
- 3 AAA batteries required (not included)
Best For Interactive Play
4. Learning Resources Geosafari Jr Talking Microscope
For something a little more complex but still colourful and simple to use, this talking microscope is a great alternative children's microscope. The low 5x magnification is low but still reveals more than can be seen with the naked eye. The real attraction, though, is the fun-filled audio recording by Australian conservationist Bindi Irwin that accompanies 600 colourful images and more than 100 facts and questions. A quiz mode lets your toddler test their knowledge, helping them learn about nature up close.
- Price: £37.76
- Age: 3+
- AAA batteries required (not included)
Best For Beginners
5. Thames and Kosmos Biology Tk2 Scope
This great microscope for children is sophisticated enough to engage older children but still straightforward enough for a beginner to get to grips with easily. The colour manual gives clear instructions on how to set up and use the microscope and how to prepare slides, as well as suggesting several fun experiments to get your kid started. With two LED lights to illuminate specimens from above and below, optical grade lenses and 40x, 100x and 400x magnification, this microscope offers amazing clarity compared to other beginner microscopes and the 20 tools and accessories are great too. Among the most simple microscopes out there, this one is a great bet!
- Price: £42.69
- Age: 8+
- 3 AA batteries required (not included)
Best For Serious Scientists
6. Vinco My First Lab Duo-Scope
While simple enough for older beginners to use (although probably not four year olds in our opinion, as the makers suggest), this microscope is versatile and sophisticated enough to keep advanced young scientists well occupied. A real science microscope with a 10x to 400x magnification and dual focusing knobs, this is much more than a toy. The dual light sources magnify both slides and solid objects, meaning this works as both a compound microscope and a stereo microscope. The set also comes with 50 accessories including blank slides, prepared slides, petri dish, test tube and stain.
- Price: £139.85
- Age: 4+
- Batteries required (not included)
Best For Sophisticated Features
7. AmScope Student Biological Cordless LED Compound Microscope
Another offering from AmScope UK, this is more advanced than most other microscopes for kids and is easily of classroom quality up to GSCE and beyond. The 360 degree rotating head allows kids to share the microscope without disturbing the specimen, while the LED illumination and powerful 40x to 1000x magnification ensure excellent clarity of vision. The light is only from below and no slides are included with this microscope so it is a little more restricted in some ways than other microscopes for kids, but it makes up for that with sheer sophistication.
- Price: £75.99
- Age: 8+
- Requires an outlet or 3 AA batteries (included)
Best For Tech Savvy Kids
8. USB Microscope,Digital Mini Microscope Camera
For a less analogue experience, this digital microscope has a type-C USB that is compatible with plenty of other devices including smart phones, laptops and PCs. The high power 40x to 1000x magnification and eight built in lights provide adjustable illumination and good quality viewing. With some devices, focus can be lost when zooming in and if the scope is mounted on the tripod in a fixed position zooming is not possible at all. But this is made up for by the star function: a 30MP camera, which will allow your child to photograph their fascinating findings with the click of a button.
- Price: £17.99
- Age: 8+
Best For Flexible Use
9. Plugable USB 2.0 Microscope
This alternative digital microscope is a good option for more flexible use. The four foot cable allows kids to move about with it with relative ease and it can be held by hand for easy inspection, while the flexible stand is helpful for lower magnifications. The USB interface and webcam chip set and sensor can be connected to laptops or desktops and support nearly any operating system. With less powerful magnification than some (0x to 250x), the adjustable LED illumination still allows good viewing.
- Price: £17.99
- Age: 8+
Best For Kids On The Move
10. Carson MicroBrite Plus 60x-120x Power LED Lighted Pocket Microscope
If your kid loves examining nature in a more natural setting, this is the best microscope to take with them while they are out and about. Lightweight and compact, it is still durable and able to withstand plenty of adventures in the great outdoors. With 60x to 120x magnification, this has a shorter focal distance than some other microscopes but its portability means specimens can be placed directly underneath the lens for a better viewing experience. It is also designed so that the light rays that go through the lens converge at a single point, minimising distortion and making images clearer, and for the size and price the image quality really is exceptional.
- Price: £15.18
- Age: 4+
- 1 AA battery required (not included)
Kidadl Best Buys selects the top, parent recommended products for families of all ages. If you liked our suggestions for the best microscopes for kids then take a look at our top ten list of great robot toys, or, if you're after some more outdoor fun, why not try this list of amazing garden toys.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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