The microscopic world is teeming with life, even though we cannot see it with our naked eye. For that, we must enlist the help of some scientific experiment toys and kits, most notably a microscope. Back in the day, access to lenses was a lot more restricted than it is today. You could look through one at school, or if your parent was a microbiologist or something, you might have one at home.
Nowadays, though, manufacturers make these science instruments for children, keeping them easy to use and understand. Most of them also come with some exciting accessories that your kid can use to capture specimens or create slides.
We’ve looked through the market for the best microscopes for kids and made a list to help you pick one out for your little one.
Detailed learning guide
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dual LED Student Microscope
Lots of added features
Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope
Scientific tools included
Head rotates 360 degrees
AmScope M150C-I 40X-1000X
Great for small kids
Dual light source
My First Lab Duo-Scope
My First Lab i-Explore
Thames & Kosmos Kids First Microscope & Biology Lab
Donzy Take Apart Microscope Toy
Inspires natural curiosity
Thames & Kosmos Kids First Big & Fun Microscope
No batteries needed
Learning Resources Primary Science Viewscope
It’s no surprise that we start our list with a company that is well-known in the world of science and scientific equipment for children. National Geographic has created an excellent microscope aimed at boys and girls aged eight and up and includes more than fifty different accessories.
There’s a very detailed learning guide included as well as twenty slides, ten of which are prepared out of the box. As the name clearly states, this is a dual microscope, meaning you get two instruments in one with both lower and higher levels of LED. Use the more upper lights for a detailed look at 3D objects, and the lower ones for biological specimen slides. Two sets of high-quality optical glass eyepieces provide a magnification of up to 50 times.
This great little kit from AmScope is the best selling microscope for children on Amazon, and there are a few good reasons for that. Simply put, it is an incredible beginner microscope, with compound features and a neat carry-case, making it simple for kids to take anywhere they want to, as well as easy to pack everything into and store in their room.
This microscope is intended for pre-teen children, and we all know that this particular time in a child’s life is trepidatious, as they start to grow and mature. This microscope has everything your little guy or gal needs to stay busy but also keep learning and developing. It features a wide array of accessories and multiple magnification settings.
The first preschool microscope on this list is the Geosafari Jr. Talking Microscope from Educational Insights. Once again, the name reveals the main gimmick behind this product – that it is a talking microscope. But that’s not all. The voice that does the talking is Bindi Irwin, the Australian television personality and conservationist, and daughter of Terri and Steve Irwin.
The microscope includes twenty slides and two play modes – Fact and Quiz Mode, with more than a hundred facts and questions and sixty beautiful images. It requires batteries to operate, but there are focus-free dual eyepieces and storage space to keep the slides when they are not being used. The audio comes in four languages, namely Spanish, French, German, and of course, English.
The manufacturer Omano calls this product the ultimate microscope for kids, and even though there are many other great microscopes out there, the JuniorScope is undoubtedly a valid contender for that title. It is a gift that your kid will appreciate, but also one that you will like as a parent. The JuniorScope is a real, completely legitimate, high-quality compound microscope, and it wouldn’t be accurate or fair to label it a toy microscope.
With high-grade precision optics made of glass featuring magnification of up to a whopping four hundred times, as well as both low and high power magnification settings, this microscope is practically identical to what your children would use in their science class or a lab.
Another entry from AmScope on the list is a high-fidelity microscope that is definitely not a toy. Ideal for elementary or high-school students getting home-schooled, this product is a cordless compound microscope that allows your child’s curiosity, imagination, and creativity to flourish.
The framework is constructed from durable metal, and it is immediately evident that this microscope is a serious instrument, not something to play around with. The optical elements are made of glass and consist of a disc diaphragm and a single-lens condenser. It comes with three AA batteries for cordless use, as well as an adaptor to plug the instrument into a wall outlet since the LED illumination system does require one of these power sources.
On the opposite end of the fidelity spectrum, we have the KidzLane Little Lab Microscope, considered a STEM toy for preschoolers and toddlers. It includes a guide and activity book, spider and lizard specimens, scalpel, tweezers, and a petri dish. The toy microscope needs three AAA batteries to operate, which are sadly not included.
The design of the microscope itself is colorful and cute, and it does feature 8x magnification as well as two focus wheels, which are large and comfortable enough to turn. There’s also a light switch your little scientist can use if they want to illuminate further whatever it is they are examining. The guidebook and activity book both offer a plethora of information about science in general as well as microscopes specifically.
An affordable product that will allow your child to get started on their scientific adventure comes from Dicfeos in the form of their Microscope for Kids and Students. The name might be unimaginative, but don’t let that fool you, because this is a great little instrument. An easy to use design and a flat learning curve will let your little scientist get started quickly, and keep them entertained and interested in exploring microbiological phenomena all around them.
The microscope offers magnification up to a massive 1000x at the top level, the other for levels being 400x, 250x, 100x, and 40x in descending order. Your little one will be able to see directly how fungi, plants, or other cells are working with this high level of magnification.
Powerful and sophisticated enough to keep junior scientists interested and busy, yet simple enough for kids who are just starting their microscope journey, the My First Lab Duo-scope is an excellent choice for any kid. It has a truckload of features for a very reasonable price, so it has plenty of value to offer. Kids can look at a variety of materials on prepared slides or look directly at insects, coins, jewelry, plants, and anything they want to with an eyepiece that offers up to 400x magnification.
There are two light sources included, so the microscope allows your kid to magnify solid 3D objects as well as slides. The set consists of 4 prepared slides, five blank ones, a test tube, two bottles of stain, a petri dish, and forceps.
Designed to be a first dual-lens microscope for all ages, the other entry on our list from My First Lab boasts high-quality optics made of real glass, a 20x objective and two 10x eyepieces. Your kid can place the specimen of their choice on the reversible, acrylic stage plate for fantastic views with high image quality.
The battery-powered LED system provides illumination and works as expected. Weighing in at just over one pound, the i-Explore is easy to pack up and carry with you wherever you’re going, so if your kid is interested in doing some science on a vacation or a picnic trip, it should be no hassle.
This complete microscope kit for beginners allows your little scientist to discover the world of tiny living things. The experiment manual is gorgeously illustrated and will guide them through observing many specimens of living things found around the house, in your backyard, or out in nature. Things like chloroplasts, pond water, onion cells, bugs, dust mites, meat cells, hair, and much more.
See how a worm wiggles or how an onion cell looks, or analyze the differences between the hair of all the household members. There are four blank slides and three prepared ones, as well as tweezers, a vile, section slicing tool, needle, and coverslips. The microscope has a total magnification power of an impressive 750x, so it’s no joke.
This DIY microscope and educational toy for preschoolers has 15x magnification along with a cute design. It includes professional built-in prisms and eyepiece objectives, unlike other similar products. The idea is to keep your child interested in how the microscope works and operates as well as what it can show.
The accessories and parts are made of safe ABS material and boast an anti-fatigue effect on the eyes. There are also anti-mildew components in the material, which means the product is built to last a long time. The light on the microscope allows your kid to see their specimen of choice clearly when there’s not enough environmental light. This take-apart toy will develop your kid’s creativity and hands-on ability.
Here’s a club your kid will want to join. The Nancy B Science Club from Educational Insight is an excellent toy and tool to get your little one interested in the vast world of science and biology. The microscope may look like a toy with its fun color palette, but don’t be fooled, this is a serious piece of equipment that can zoom up to 400x.
It comes with tools to help your kid set up a wide variety of experiments and activities as well as a state-of-the-art activity journal to keep track of everything. It’s a fantastic introduction to science for both younger and older kids, and it will continue to be entertaining and educational for your child for years to come.
An excellent product that hopes to bridge the gap between a microscope toy and a more advanced science kit comes from Kidtastic, and it is called simply the Microscope Science Kit. By now you’ve probably picked up on the relatively unimaginative naming of products in this category, but there’s something to be said about the scientific precision of the names, and how clearly they describe what the product actually is.
This particular kit maintains the look of a model made for younger kids, while at the same time delivering outstanding results in the microscope fidelity department. This gives your child the ability to explore and enjoy the scientific aspect of using a microscope, while still being entertained by the kid-friendly looks.
This is an excellent educational toy for boys aged four to six (and girls too!). It comes with twenty-four different slides and seventy-two image specimens. It has an 8x zooming feature, so your little scientist can see these images really close and really detailed. There’s a backlight which requires two AAA batteries to work.
Inside the box, you will find a fantastic experiment manual with images of how the microscope works, and how to use the various pieces like the rotation wheel and the light. Inside the same book, you will find little adventures you can follow along and use the different slides as they list them in order, to play along with the characters in the book. A great idea to have a lot of fun and learn at the same time.
If your little one is curious about the world of science, then this is another toy that offers a great way to get them exploring. The Primary Science Viewscope from Learning Resources is a science tool designed for kids as young as three years old. It is just the right size for little hands and has a perfect design for kids so young. All they need to do is put an object under the viewer. For smaller objects, they can use the included viewing case or place the object directly on the stage.
The ViewScope uses natural light, so no batteries are needed, but you will need to be in a well-lit environment. The magnification power of this microscope is up to 20x.
There is a wide variety of microscopes out there, and depending on your child’s age and your own idea of what you want them to get out of the experience, there are different things to consider.
If your child is a preschooler or toddler, you’ll be fine going with a fun-looking, probably plastic, and not particularly powerful toy microscope. This is going to give your kid a fun experience while getting them interested in the micro-world. However, if you’re looking for a lens for a school-aged child, a pre-teen, or even a high-school student, you should go with an instrument that can do a decent job at… well being a microscope.
What this means is you should probably go for a product that has a metal frame, ideally also metal screws and gears — more than anything, you should make sure that the lenses are made of glass. Plastic is fine for a toy microscope aimed at three or four-year-olds, but anything more serious should have glass optics.
If you want it to last a long time, try to find one with reagent resistance and a stable paint job, as it will be more able to withstand vigorous use. Finally, make sure that it is easy to use, that the parts are easily rotated, and feel sturdy.
It’s easy to see how buying the right microscope for your child can bring them lots of value in terms of development. If you have a lens at the ready, the learning never stops. Your child can use it to see the world in more detail than they could ever imagine, or you could teach them to use a tablet meant for kids to record their findings, and this will kick their fascination with life into an even higher gear.
Using a microscope is usually not particularly difficult to figure out. Most often, the hard part is deciding what you want to look at, and making sense of it all. Thankfully, most of the products on our list come with helpful accessories, instruction manuals, and prepared slides to guide your child on their road of scientific discovery.
Keeping your microscope clean and undamaged is essential, even if it’s a toy, and especially if it is a more expensive, more powerful instrument. It should be stored in a safe place when not in use, so when we made our list, we prioritized microscopes that have a neat packaging you can use for precisely this purpose.
Most of the microscopes on this list are fantastic for travel or going to a quick picnic trip into the woods. There’s no better place for your little one to look at things up close than a picturesque natural setting.
All of the microscopes can be used outdoors or indoors with equally impressive results, and we’ve discovered that many parents use these portable microscopes outside as well.
There isn’t a clear cut advantage for one over the other, and it all comes down to your personal preference as well as your child’s. If they are going to be a frequent user, it’s a good idea to go with a binocular type, since it is going to be more comfortable for repeated and extended use.
If the idea is to use the microscope occasionally as a hobby, it’s completely fine to go with a single lens scope, since comfort isn’t really going to be an issue in that case.
Curiosity is in children’s nature, and getting your kid the right microscope can channel that interest into something equal-parts fascinating and useful. It can open a new world and stimulate an undying love of science within them.
The value of having a tool like this in your home will be manifold as it will allow your little one to find their own answers to questions about the world. The microscopes that we have picked for you on this list should all do a great job of giving your child a great experience. You just need to select the one that you think will suit your little scientist.