Microscopes are produced by many different manufacturers and can cost hundreds of dollars. When considering purchasing a microscope for kids whether for use at home or school then there are a number of reliable and durable options. Three of my favourites have one thing in common – they are designed for children to have fun learning about the world around them. Each has different strengths and aims, and all 3 are aimed at slightly different age groups. They approach the topic of magnification from different angles.
First up is a traditional first microscope called My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope. Its’ dual functionality comes from being able to view both microscopic sized specimens on slides as well as macroscopic (solid) objects like bugs, stamps and coins! You just change whether to shine the light from above for solid objects and from below for slides. This setup has everything you will need for hours of scientific research with an extensive 50 piece accessory kit. Included accessories are: vinyl dust cover, five plain slides, one concavity slide, four prepared slides, cover glass, plastic dropper, two bottles of stain, slide labels, lens paper, forceps, scalpel, plastic test tube, plastic Petri dish, straight teasing needle. Kids Microscope An essential, well written and easy to understand instruction manual includes many helpful hints for the young scientist. The microscope requires 3 AA batteries, which are not included, so make sure you have some especially if this is to be a gift. RRP is $79.99. This excellent first microscope for kids aged 9 years and over includes the following features to enhance the scientific learning:
– 10X eyepiece
– 4X, 10X, 40X objectives
– 40X, 100X, 400X magnification
– real optical glass lenses
– dual focusing knobs
– two LED lights
– six hole disc diaphragms
Secondly, the GeoSafari Talking Microscope from Educational Insights is an ideal first microscope for children aged 5 to 9 years old. This microscope comes with 12 prepared interactive slides of fascinating bugs all of which can be stored safely between uses in their very own storage box. With each slide the microscope engages the viewer by talking about each insect and giving many useful facts. The child is then able to check their understanding and what they remember with the fun quiz games. Microscope features 5x focusing magnifier and a light for easy viewing. As with the 1st microscope batteries are required but not included in this case three “C” batteries. RRP is $39.99.
A must for all households and a little bit of a diversion from your original microscope is the EyeClops Bionic Eye which is a handheld bionic microscope meant to be used as a fun toy – not as an educational aid. It allows the user to get up close and personal with virtually any item! All you have to do is plug it in to your television via standard audiovisual jacks common to all TV’s. Make sure you have 5 AA batteries installed and then simply turn it on. You are then able to magnify any object up to 200 times its normal size and the image is projected directly onto your TV set. Very cool! Just like a real microscope it can take a bit of practice to get used to the magnifying but everyone in the family will have fun seeing what many household objects look like magnified, e.g. skin, hair, a salt crystal or the carpet! An added plus is that the unit is brightly coloured and made of hard plastic so is attractive to children yet will be sturdy enough to withstand hours of scientific exploration. With a recommended retail price of only $49.99 it would make a great gift for the whole family.