7 Best Microscopes for Kids (2020)

About Me: Hi, I’m Prof. Chris. I’m a child development expert with a PhD in Education. You can find out more about me on my about page. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

My Top Pick

AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W Beginner Kit

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My pick for the best microscope for kids is the AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W.

It has a fantastic carry case containing 52 accessories, including a really cool shrimp eggs experiment. Its 1200x magnification is also excellent at this price point.

Microscopes are a great visual and hands-on way for encouraging a love of science.

I love to see my kids over the moon when they see a bug’s wing in 1000x zoom.

I’ve reviewed microscopes that are best for college and high school students, but I get questions from parents all the time asking about microscopes for younger kids. So in this review, let’s discuss microscopes for children 13 years and under.

The best microscopes for kids are:

  • AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W Beginner Kit – My Top Pick
  • AmScope 40X-1000X Beginners Microscope Kit
  • Vanstarry 120X-1200X Microscope STEM Kit
  • Omano JuniorScope Microscope
  • Swift SW350T 40X-2500X Magnification – Highest Quality
  • Dicfeos Microscope for Kids
  • Educational Insights Geosafari Jr. Talking Microscope – Best for Toddlers

A good microscope for kids should be easy to use (kids seem to find monocular microscopes easier, for example). I also like them to have build-in slide decks for instant discovery straight out of the box. 

I’ve got a full buyers guide and selection criteria at the end of this article. But I know you’re just here to find out what I recommend as the best microscopes for kids. So here they are:

Best Microscopes for Kids

1. AmScope M30-ABS-KT2-W Beginner Kit – My Top Pick

Quick Review: Get this one if you want a full package of microscope, accessories and experiments all in one.

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I do love this microscope. The way it arrives all in one case is fantastic. When you open it up you see a really well laid-out set of scalpels, stirring rod, petri dish, and resins for experiments. You will also have a special storage spot for the prepared and blank slides that come in the case. The presentation of this microscope is second to none.

Why This Microscope:

  • Excellent Magnification: Magnifies all the way up to 1200x.
  • Unbeaten Accessories: You get some great accessories in this kit, including a needle, scalpel, petri dish, and so much more. It’s a ’52 piece accessory set’.
  • Shrimp Eggs Experiment: The provided prepared slides are good, but the thing that really stands out is the shrimp eggs experiment which is a great thing to get started with.
  • Very Affordable: It’s surprisingly cheap for everything you get.
  • Great Case: the case is amazing for storing the microscope and displaying the accessories.

Keep in Mind:

  • Great Magnification, but Minimal Options: Because there is only one ocular piece, there are limited magnification options – although, the magnification goes all the way up to 1200x, which is great.
  • Parent Supervision Required: I found the parts on this one were a little sensitive and required an adult to ensure it didn’t get beaten around and broken.

2. AmScope 40X-1000X Beginners Microscope Kit

Quick Review: A good entry level microscope from one of the top Microscope brands on the market.

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This microscope is very comparable to the above Dicefos microscope, but also comes with an educational book “The world of Microscopes” which I think might be a drawing point for many parents. Without educational materials, children often find they’re not sure what to do with the microscope – so it’s a good way of smoothing the learning curve.

Why This Microscope:

  • Great Magnification: It has impressive magnification – from 40x to 1000x. More than enough for a younger child.
  • Microscopy Book Included: The book is surely a big drawing point for parents who want associated educational materials to help your child get some guidance on how to use a microscope.

Keep in Mind:

  • Lights not Dimmable: I often find myself trying to dim lighting to get a perfectly clear image through the eyepiece. Unfortunately this one doesn’t have a dimmable light option.
  • No Carry Case: I think carry cases are really important for kids’ microscopes, and this one doesn’t come with one.

3. Vanstarry 120X-1200X Microscope STEM Kit

Quick Review: A fun kit in a great carry case. Carry it with you to the beach and observe the objects you find!

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This Vanstarry 120X-1200X Microscope STEM Kit is purpose built for kids, but don’t let that fool you. It has a great zoom range and excellent included accessories.

I also love the carry case so you can take it to friends’ houses, the beach (beware of sand), or as show and tell at school.

The included prepared slides and shrimp hatchery gives you some great starter experiments. Once you’re done with them, you’ll need to go outside and find some leaves, dog hair, and other objects to look at through the lens!

Why This Microscope:

  • Designed for Kids: It definitely has the feel that it was purpose made for kids – which in this case is a good thing! It’s small, comes with prepared slides, and accessories like a scalpel and salt & dye resins.
  • Mobile Phone Holder: I love that you can place your mobile phone over the eyepiece and film or photograph what you’re seeing in the microscope. If you child is having trouble with the eyepiece, this option helps them see what’s going on using a screen rather than the naked eye.
  • Excellent Magnification: With up to 1200x magnification, that’s about the strongest you can expect with a monocular microscope.
  • Great Case: the case is amazing for storing the microscope and displaying the accessories.

Keep in Mind:

  • Parent Supervision Required: It’s a real microscope – so your child will probably need some assistance in getting the focus right and the slides on the stage.

4. Omano JuniorScope Microscope

Quick Review: Great experiment cards included in the box, but not the best magnification.

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I love that this one has some great experiment cards so your child can get started right away. You can see those experiment cards in the top-right of the image above. These experiment cards are so clear and educational – I really like them.

However, this microscope’s magnification comes well under the magnification level of comparably priced microscopes.

Why This Microscope:

  • Amazing Experiment Cards: I often find a child will get a microscope and just have no idea what to do with it. So I appreciate that with this microscope you get five cool and colorful experiment cards to guide your child on how to use the microscope. 
  • Great Accessories: Out of the box you’ll get a petri dish, stains, forceps, dropper, test tube, slides – so you can get started right away.
  • Dimmable LED Light: I like that you can dim the lights so you can get the best quality view of the slides under analysis.

Keep in Mind:

  • Not Great Magnification: The maximum magnification for this one is 400x, which is very low compared to other comparably priced microscopes for kids.
  • No Case: I feel a kids’ microscope should come with a storage and carry case, which this one doesn’t. You can re-use the box for storage, though. 

5. Swift SW350T 40X-2500X Magnification – Advanced Microscope

Quick Review: The best quality you can get, but at a higher price. Only for the very serious scientist!

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I wanted to share with you my preferred microscope – which is really high quality. Admittedly, this is the sort of microscope you’ll get in a college laboratory rather than for use with kids, but if you want to get a really serious microscope, consider this one.

This Swift SW350T has got much stronger magnification and some excellent additional features such as a mechanical stage (move your specimen around the stage mechanically rather than manually) and a rack stop to prevent your specimen from slipping off the slide.

Why This Microscope:

  • Superb Magnification: The magnification for this microscope is significantly higher than any other on this list. It uses two interchangeable ocular lenses (10x and 25x) to get this microscope zooming right up to 2500x.
  • Mechanical Stage with Rack Stop: I love the mechanical stage, which isn’t available on any of the other microscopes on this list. A mechanical stage means you can move the specimen around while looking through the lens.
  • Microscope Camera Add-On Option: It’s designed so you can add on a specified microscope camera for filming what you’re viewing. The camera has to be bought separately.

Keep in Mind:

  • Higher Price Point: You’re paying more for a higher quality product.
  • Binocular not Monocular: You’ll see from the image above that this microscope is binocular, not monocular. I often find kids prefer monocular lenses as they’re easier to handle. That said, binocular lenses are better for higher magnification so it’s a trade-off.
  • Buy Slides Separately: I’d recommend buying slides and a petri dish separately so when it comes you can get started right away.

6. Dicfeos Microscope for Kids

Quick Review: A powerful microscope for kids with great lighting. Doesn’t come with associated learning materials.

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This is a powerful microscope with specifications that I’d recommend for my high school students. I love this microscope, and my only worry would be that it’s not a toy – so parental supervision might be necessary until your child learns how to behave around a microscope.

Its magnification range is very good! With 4 objective lenses (4x, 10x, 40x, 100x) and 2 interchangeable ocular lenses (10x, 25x), you’re getting a very versatile microscope here.

Why This Microscope:

  • Great Magnification Range: There are so many kids’ microscopes out there with terrible magnification. This has 4 objective and 2 ocular lenses for 1000x magnification. That’s about the best you can get with a monocular microscope.
  • Great Dimmable Lighting: There are two LED lights that shine from above and below to help keep what you’re viewing really bright and easy to view. I love that you can dim the light to get it to your perfect lighting level.
  • 5 Prepared Slides: The 5 prepared slides are good to get you started and there are 5 additional blank slides. But personally I’d buy more blank slides as you’ll run out fast.
  • Included Petri Dish: I love that it comes with a Petri dish, which I use regularly.

Keep in Mind:

  • No Case: It really bothers me that there isn’t a case for this one so it’s hard to put into safe storage or carry around to and from school / the beach.

7. Educational Insights Geosafari Jr. Talking Microscope – For Toddlers

Quick Review: Best for toddlers, but it’s a toy to get your child interested in the idea of a microscope more than a microscope per se.

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This is a fun toy microscope for younger children who are not quite ready for using a real microscope. It is all plastic, including the slides, so it’s safer than glass for toddlers.

The voice of Bindi Irwin recites facts about the slides and there are some fun quizzes for your child to play along with

Your child slips one of the 20 slides under the microscope. Each slide contains 3 images on it (not real specimens) which they look at through the magnifier.

It’s not really suitable for slides apart from the prepared slides that come with the toy.

Why This Microscope:

  • 60 Included Images: Your child can look at 60 different magnified images on 20 separate slides. You place them into the microscope in a similar way you’d use a real microscope so it feels ‘real’.
  • Bindi Irwin Voice: The voice of Bindi Irwin walking your child through what they’re seeing is really cool and entertaining.
  • Microscopy Facts Sheet and Quizzes: I love that it comes with a whole lot of fact sheets and quizzes to keep your child entertained.
  • Affordable: While it’s not really comparable to the other microscopes on this list, it’s also good to note that it is very affordable.

Keep in Mind:

  • Just a Toy: Don’t mistake this for a ‘real’ microscope. It’s just a toy with minimal magnification. Nonetheless, it’s a good alternative for a toddler who wants to be a scientist! 
  • Binocular is harder than Monocular: I was surprised they made this a binocular piece as binoculars are much harder for younger children to work with than monocular pieces.

What to Look for in a Microscope for Kids

1. Viewfinder

Your viewfinder choice is either ‘monocular’ (one eye) or ‘binocular’ (two eyes).

Monocular vs Binocular

I find children prefer monocular microscopes. They’re easier to look through and manipulate for young people.

Binocular microscopes are usually associated with much more professional, higher magnification microscopes. It’s unlikely you’ll find a monocular microscope with magnification over 1200x, while it’s easy to come across a (more expensive) binocular microscope with magnification up to 2500x.

The Swift SW350T is the only microscope on this list that is binocular, and as is typical, its magnification is much stronger.


Another thing you might want to look out for is a microscope that has a 30 – 45 degree slant for the viewfinder. This is a good angle for comfortable viewing. Some microscopes also have 360 degree swivel and adjustable slants for their viewfinders, which can similarly make viewing your specimen easier.

2. Educational Materials & Experiments

I think a microscope with quality educational materials is a good idea for a child’s first microscope. Or else your child might receive the microscope and have no idea how to use it.

Your options for educational materials usually include either prepared slides or experiment information cards.

Prepared Slides

Prepared slides come with most microscopes targeted at kids. You’ll usually get 5 or so prepared slides with things like bug wings, eggs or other materials that are really great to look at.

I love that a prepared slide deck can be looked at as soon as you take the microscope out of the box. It dramatically decreases the learning curve and keeps a child’s excitement up.

Once you’ve finished with the prepared slides, you’ll have to use blank slides or a petri dish. Go out and college bugs, hair, liquids, or anything else that interests you and investigate what it looks like!

(If your microscope doesn’t come with blank slides, make sure you buy a pack when you buy the microscope.

Experiment Information Cards

 I absolutely love the microscopes that come with experiment cards. The Omano JuniorScope’s experiment information cards are fantastic, but the AmScope 40X-1000X also comes with a great book.

These educational cards & books can help explain things to kids. They will help kids get deeper knowledge of what’s happening under the microscope – which is great for their scientific minds! 

3. Magnification

I’d recommend getting a microscope with at least 1000x magnification. These will help your child see things at a bacterial level.

The way magnification works is through multiplication of the ocular lens (often also called the eyepiece) and the objective lens.

You’ll usually get an ocular lens at either 10x or 25x. Most of the microscopes on this list have only one ocular lens. This makes things easier for kids. But, if you get the Swift SW350T, you’ll be able to swap out the ocular lenses to get the perfect magnification you want.

Your objective lens will usually be 5 or 6 different strengths. This is the piece you rotate just above the viewing stage. Typical objective lens magnification levels include: 4x, 10x, 25x, 40x, and 100x.

The ocular and objective lens sizes multiply, so if you have a 10x ocular lens in your microscope and you’re using a 40x objective lens, your magnification will be 400x.

4. Lighting

It’s pretty standard that a microscope should at least have an overhead LED light and an LED light that comes up from under the stage.

You should also be able to dim the lighting to get it perfect for viewing the specimen comfortably. Beware, though, that some microscopes don’t come with dimmable lighting.

The LED light is the only thing in the microscope that requires batteries – they are usually powered by basic AA or AAA batteries that you can get from your local supermarket if they don’t come in the pack.

5. Stage

The stage is where you place your slide or petri dish for viewing. A good stage can be manually adjusted up or down for perfect viewing.

Something I love about my microscope is that it has a mechanical stage. This means you can move the stage around while looking through the lens. It means you don’t have to keep shifting the specimen around then re-checking through the lens, which is a total waste of time!

A good stage should also have a rack stop to prevent things from falling off.

Unfortunately, only the Swift SW350T on this list has a mechanical stage and rack stop. The rest just aren’t at the price point where those sorts of add-ons come standard.

Final Thoughts

The best microscope for kids should have quality magnification (over 1000x), and preferably will come with educational materials such as info sheets or prepared slides. I love how my top pick Amscope microscope also comes with an awesome collection of dyes, shrimp eggs and prepared slides so your child can get started right out of the box.

I hope this review has been helpful to you, and good luck inspiring your little scientist’s mind!

– Prof. Chris

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