Gransnet forums


Telescopes for children.

(24 Posts)
anxiousgran Sat 26-Nov-16 16:47:14

My DS has asked me to get a telescope for my 3 year old GD's Christmas present, because it is on her Christmas list. I think she'll be disappointed with one. I think she's too young to understand what she's looking at, and has too high expectations of what she'll see. ( Pun not intended)

Neither parent is interested in astronomy and I can't see them taking her out on a cold night to set up a telescope. It's pretty light polluted where they live as well.

I thought I would get a decent pair of binoculars for her and DS and DiL to use as well, so she can use it on holiday and on walks as well as looking at the moon and get used to looking at magnified objects.

Any tips for binoculars for a family to use? Is this a good idea?

Candlefran Sat 26-Nov-16 17:02:46

Yes. The telescopes put out for children are useless.

Celestron SkyMaster Giant 15×70 Binoculars are the ones recommended for astronomy in this article (last one on list)

Candlefran Sat 26-Nov-16 17:05:36

Maplins do them

hildajenniJ Sat 26-Nov-16 17:10:09

You'll need to get binoculars small enough for a small child to handle easily. this article might be useful. We had loads of enjoyment from the binoculars our children had when they were little.

anxiousgran Sat 26-Nov-16 17:54:44

Thanks for info. Very helpful article hildajenniJ.

grannypiper Sat 26-Nov-16 18:45:42

anxiousgran maybe a trip to one of the "DARK SKY PARKS" would be better than a telescope.

M0nica Sat 26-Nov-16 19:03:20

What does she want to watch with her telescope? DD bought binoculars as an adult and quite specifically bought astronomical binoculars rather than those suitable for wildlife or use for scanning landscape.

Like the others, I would recommend binoculars rather than a telescope.

Greyduster Sat 26-Nov-16 19:31:44

Don't even consider a telescope at three; they are not easy to use even for an older child and she will be frustrated. If you are buying binoculars consider buying porro prism and not roof prism as the former are easier to use and to focus. You can get some that don't need to be focussed which is better still for young children. One of the main problems with young children and binoculars (and even some adults) is the difficulty in keeping them still enough to be able to focus on anything, especially in the night sky. You can see the moons of Jupiter through a pair of good binoculars, but you need to keep them very still indeed.

M0nica Sun 27-Nov-16 10:44:15

Would she prefer a kaleidoscope? I

Hunt Sun 27-Nov-16 10:50:47

maybe she means a Kaleidoscope... I thought mine was magic.

Hunt Sun 27-Nov-16 10:51:43

sorry! I was pipped at the post, Monica!

TriciaF Sun 27-Nov-16 11:28:11

I tried a magnifying glass with a group of preschoolers (3-4) and as said above, they found it difficult to use it - didn't know what they were supposed to see etc.
I was trying to demonstrate that it makes something look bigger. Perhaps it's a language thing too, they're only starting to understand big and small.

Ana Sun 27-Nov-16 11:32:17

I think you should speak to your DS/DIL before you buy anything, anxiousgran.

Three is very young to be wanting a telescope - perhaps she does really mean a kaleidoscope!

Jalima Sun 27-Nov-16 11:45:54

Yes, three is too young for anything except a fun telescope - although I remember having a small telescope when I was about 5, but didn't look at the heavens with it! I spent more time pretending to be a pirate!

They need to be very careful if they mean a proper telescope - it would be extremely difficult for a 3 year old to use and she would need constant supervision because if she looked at the sun through it her eyesight could be permanently damaged.

DN took his DD out from about age 5 or 6 , stargazing in a very dark area of the country, but he is an expert and knows what he is doing. She's quite an expert too now (age 9).

Perhaps a kaleidoscope (or a pirate's outfit?).

anxiousgran Wed 30-Nov-16 16:45:33

Sorry for the late reply to your helpful suggestions (not been well, so off the comp)
Trip to a space centre is a good idea and yes, I'm sure they don't mean a kaleidoscope, which is a pity,it would at least teach her to look with one eye!

Thanks for reminding me about the sun,Jalima, I will remind them.

I'd better talk to DS/D-in-L first.

Ana Wed 30-Nov-16 16:49:23

Wouldn't a telescope teach her to look with one eye as well? grin

FarNorth Wed 30-Nov-16 16:51:29

Maybe it's something she's seen on a TV programme, like Gojetters or such. If so, she'll have high expectations of what she might see.

Jalima Wed 30-Nov-16 17:40:34

Peppa Pig had an episode about looking at the stars.
I remember when DGD told me earnestly about it; she was about 2 at the time.

Jalima Wed 30-Nov-16 17:45:41
Grandpa Pig's telescope is very impressive!

gillybob Wed 30-Nov-16 18:11:40

My 8 year old DGD asked for a telescope last year anxiousgran. Her other grandparents bought her one that seemed quite advanced for age (then 7) but she has had so much enjoyment from it. Her dad (my son) has set it all up for her and she has since done an amazing project on the subject of SPACE just for the fun of it. Three, does seem very young for a child to use a telescope and she will need an adult to actually find something to look at, which is tricky. Is it possible that maybe she thinks she will see the man in the moon? As Jalima said there is a popular episode of Peppa Pig in which they look at the stars so maybe her request has come from that.

BTW I wouldn't waste money on a "childrens" telescope as they are rubbish.

Ana Wed 30-Nov-16 18:18:08

And there was that ad last Christmas which might have stuck in her mind (the man in the moon and the little girl sending him a present).

Linsco56 Wed 30-Nov-16 18:27:14

FYI, from Sunday 4th December Lidl will have for sale a Bresser high performance telescope with tripod £69.99.

gillybob Wed 30-Nov-16 18:28:18

Of course there was Ana I had forgot about that. smile

Jayh Wed 30-Nov-16 18:35:24

If she wants a telescope then please don't buy her binoculars. Three does seem a bit young but you know her best. Why not speak to her and offer something that you think is more appropriate and with luck she might agree.
I am struggling to think of things for my GDs at the moment. 🤔