Microscopes make great gifts for kids and a must-have for your homeschool. Here are the best microscopes for kids that will get your children interested in the world around them.
Buying one of the best microscopes for kids can prove just as helpful in inspiring your little ones to engage in STEM projects for the first time as it can for encouraging your budding Einstein’s ongoing passion for science.
Whatever the reason may be, with a host of options out there, it can sometimes be challenging to choose precisely which beginner microscope is worth spending your hard-earned money on.
To help you out then, we’ve tried out dozens of this year’s top sellers to bring you the ten microscopes we feel are the very best of the best.
Top 10 Best Microscopes for Kids
1. Omano JuniorScope Microscope for Kids
Spend any amount of time pouring through kids’ microscope reviews, and it’s pretty much inevitable that the Omano JuniorScope Microscope for Kids will feature in the conversation sooner rather than later.
That’s partly because it offers three different magnification settings at 40x, 100x, and 400x, which is excellent for looking at objects in incredible detail.
We also like that it comes with two different power settings.
The low power option is ideal for investigating solid objects such as bugs, leaves, or even food. In contrast, the high-power option turns up the intensity so that they can look at transparent things like bacteria or blood cells.
- It comes with “The Amazing Microscope Adventures” experiment set with pre-written experiments to try.
- Includes accessories such as petri dish, test tube, slides, and forceps.
- choice of battery or AC power for greater flexibility.
- It lacks a stop to prevent the 40X zoom from touching the slide, which means care must be taken when using with younger children.
- Doesn’t have a protective storage case.
2. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope
The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope isn’t a real microscope like others on this list. It’s an interactive toy in which your little ones will learn a host of fascinating facts about plants and animals while working their way through the set of 20+ included slides.
Yet that’s not to say that this isn’t great in its own right.
The simple design and bright, vibrant colors make this attractive to kids aged 3+, meaning it’s a great choice if you’re looking to spark their interest in science for the first time.
The microscope also features a cameo from wildlife expert and TV personality Bindi Irwin, whose voice lists facts and asks questions about whatever is on the slides your kids are looking at.
Last but not least, the Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope comes in a English+Mandarin/Japanese/Korean version and a English+Spanish/French/German version. This is great for multilingual families like mine who want to expose our kids to as much foreign languages as possible!
- Includes 60 full-color images plus 100 facts and questions to teach children about animals and plants.
- Very easy to use even for toddlers.
- Includes two interactive modes (Fact Mode and Quiz Mode) to keep kids entertained and engaged.
- Comes in two versions with different language options.
- Only works with included slides.
- Slide draw can become defective after repeated use.
3. AmScope 40X – 100X Beginners Microscope Kit
AmScope is one of the biggest names in beginner-friendly microscopes and STEM kits, so don’t be surprised to see them pop up multiple times in this list.
Of all their best-selling options, it’s this, the AmScope 40X – 100X Beginners Microscope Kit, that proves to be our favorite simply because it really is ideal for beginners.
Indeed, while the brand makes microscopes with higher zoom options (which we’ll come to later), the 40x – 100x is more than good enough for the kind of elementary-level science projects you’d find in your average STEM subscription box.
- It comes with “The World of Microscope” book featuring step-by-step instructions for making the most out of their first microscope.
- Includes 5 x biological specimens and 5 x blank slides to get started.
- Includes a complete package of tools, including Petri dishes, test tubes, and more.
- Expensive compared to other microscopes on this list.
- Some users report that the instruction manual was missing from their package.
4. AmScope 120X – 1200X Kid’s 85+ Piece Premium Microscope Kit
If you like the AmScope brand, but our last option was too basic for your kids’ level, the AmScope 120X – 1200X Kid’s 85+ Piece Premium Microscope Kit may be more to your -and their- liking.
A huge step up from the beginner level is perhaps better suited for older kids passionate about science.
For those children, there’s a whole lot to offer here. Apart from the enhanced 120x – 1200x magnifications, precision focus optics, 85+ accessory kit, and a handy carry case to keep their favorite STEM toy safe and protected.
- It comes with a color digital USB2.0 eyepiece camera to connect the microscope to a computer or iPad.
- Includes experiment and project ideas.
- It comes with specimen samples to help and blank slides.
- It may not be suitable for younger children and those who aren’t fascinated by science.
- Higher price tag compared to non-AmScope models.
5. Emarth Microscope for Kids
The Emarth Microscope for Kids is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a children’s microscope that will grow with them as they get older and develop their interest in science.
The six magnification levels (40x, 100x, 250x, 400x, and 100x) offer a level of flexibility that others can’t match. At the same time, the 52-piece accessory kit that comes with it makes it just as suitable for beginner-level projects as it is for the kind older children might start to engage with at school.
- Dual light LED illumination is perfect for looking at both solid and transparent objects.
- 6 different color filters eliminate the need to stain slides.
- a 360°degree rotatable monocular head provides a better view and allows for sharing.
- It doesn’t come with a protective case.
- The plastic casing may not offer the same durability as a metal microscope.
6. The Magic School Bus: Microscope Lab
If your little ones love the animated adventures of Miss Frizzle and her class, they’ll love The Magic School Bus: Microscope Lab.
The microscope itself may not be as powerful as some others on this list, but that’s not really why you’d buy this one.
This isn’t about buying a super-powerful, super-serious science kit, it’s about making learning fun and using their favorite Netflix series to engage them in science activities, and to that end, we really can’t fault it.
- Includes “data notebook” for kids to track down their learning.
- Features experiment and project ideas.
- Includes Petri dishes, test tubes, and other accessories.
- The microscope doesn’t boast as many magnifications as others.
- Experiments may be too basic for older children.
7. AmScope 120X – 1200X Kid’s 52-Piece Beginner Microscope
AmScope makes so many kids’ microscopes that it was almost inevitable that they’d feature on this list again, this time with the AmScope 120X – 1200X Kid’s 52-Piece Beginner Microscope.
There’s a good reason why this ranked so highly in our guide to the very best STEM toys for kids.
It comes with the beginner-friendly simplicity of the 40X – 100X Beginners Microscope Kit we looked at earlier with the enhanced magnifications and accessories you got with the premium kit.
- The metal body ensures lasting durability.
- The rack-and-pinion focus mechanism makes it easy to use.
- Comes with a 52 piece accessory kit in a protective case.
- Expensive price tag.
- Doesn’t have as many accessories as the Premium kit.
8. Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope
At first glance, the Educational Insights Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope looks more of a plaything than an actual scientific tool.
However, look a little closer, and you’ll find a 400x magnification, 30x-400x light, and easy-to-use focusing feature, which makes it more than suitable for STEM projects aimed at children aged 8+.
- It comes with a 22-page activity journal to track learning.
- Includes a 26-piece accessory set.
- Affordable price.
- Battery-powered and batteries can drain quite quickly.
- Limited magnification settings.
9.Thames & Kosmos Kids First Big & Fun Microscope Science Experiment Kit
Much like the Talking Microscope, we looked at earlier, the Thames & Kosmos Kids First Big & Fun Microscope Science Experiment Kit isn’t a real microscope but is more of a slide viewer with a science-specific focus.
Not that this is a bad thing.
Designed with early learners in mind, the toddler-friendly kit helps spark their interest in STEM activities from a young age through the vibrant, storybook-like experiments and a vast assortment of colorful slides.
- Includes 72 different color slides.
- Offers 8x magnification.
- Comes with a 32-page experiment guide.
- Limited use as a “real” microscope and only really works with the in-built slides.
- Battery-powered, which is off-putting for some parents.
10. Carson MicroMini 20x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope
Last but by no means least, we come to the Carson MicroMini 20x LED Lighted Pocket Microscope, a solid budget-friendly option that proves that low cost doesn’t have to mean low quality.
Though the Carson MicroMini doesn’t come with all the bells, whistles, and bonus features you get with other microscopes on this list, it boasts a compact, pocket-size design.
This makes it the perfect choice for taking out into nature so that your little ones can better explore the natural world around them and would make a great addition to any nature-based backyard project.
- Limited to just zoom and focus controls which makes it very easy to use.
- Powerful LED light provides excellent illumination.
- Low-cost pricing.
- It doesn’t come with accessories, workbooks, or other bonus features.
- Lack of adjustability on the focal distance.
- It doesn’t come with protective storage.
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Kids Microscope
In truth, any one of the top ten kids’ microscopes listed above would make a worthy addition to your STEM setup, but that doesn’t exactly make it easy when it comes to deciding which one to buy.
With that in mind, here are a few key factors to consider that will help you choose the right microscope for you and your little ones.
Whether you’re buying a beginner microscope or a brand new climbing toy, age appropriateness should always be a key factor in your purchasing decision.
If you’re getting toddlers and early learners engaged in STEM, for example, then you’re going to be looking at very different products for your friends with older kids who love science.
Number of Accessories
As you’ll note from our guide above, kids’ microscopes that came with accessory sets tended to rank highly. Most sets include an average of around 50 pieces, though some pack in as many as 85 and some as few as 20+.
That’s not to say that more is always necessarily better. If your kids are young and only have a fleeting interest in science, you probably don’t need to spend all that money on an 85 piece set.
Cheap children’s microscopes tend to be just that:
They’re cheap, often made from plastic parts, and not exactly built to last, especially when you consider how rough and tumble our little ones can get.
As such, we prefer microscopes that have a metal base or – even better – an entire metal body which ensures they’ll last much longer.
Ease of Use
A lot of the fun can be instantly sapped out of learning when tools and toys are just too difficult to use.
As such, ease of use plays an important role, though not all things are created equal here.
What’s easy for a 3-5-year-old may be too dull for a 7-9-year-old, while a 9-year-old’s favorite microscope may prove too challenging for their younger sibling.
Final Thought: What is The Best Microscope for Kids to Buy?
Honestly, choosing the best microscope to buy for your kids all depends on them.
If they’re young, not yet all that engaged in STEM, and you simply want a fun toy to inspire their curiosity, the Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope is as fun and engaging as they come.
If they’re older and developing a real passion for science, the deluxe AmScope 120X – 1200X Kid’s 85+ Piece Premium Microscope Kit comes with everything you’ll need to really encourage them to pursue that passion further.
However, if you’re simply looking for the best kids’ microscope money can buy, then the multiple magnification settings, dual power settings, and range of accessories make the Omano JuniorScope Microscope for Kids a clear winner.