What to consider when Buying a Kid's Microscope
Choosing a kids microscope
If you would like to encourage your child to develop an interest in Science then you may consider buying them a kid’s microscope.The world of microscopy is fascinating for young children and opens their eyes to a world as never seen before.It also helps them to learn and understand about the environment and how everything has a place.
Most microscopes for kids are easy to use with additional equipment to make the experience a whole lot of fun.
What kids can do with Microscopes
Most kid’s microscopes come with prepared slides which offer your child the opportunity to learn how to use the device.There are all sorts of objects for your child to study under the microscope such as blades of grass, onion skins, petals, and leaves, small pieces of bark, coins and small bugs.Studying small objects will encourage your child to question and learn about science, complementing school study and/or developing an interesting hobby.Your child can learn directly from his/her own direct experience rather than a more prescriptive style of learning.
Features to look for
One of the most important features of the instrument is to ensure ‘ease of use’ your child needs to be able to work the device with minimal supervision.If adult supervision is constantly required your child may lose interest.Accidents are bound to happen especially if your child is transporting the device out and about, so encourage your child to hold the scope from the base.It may also be worth buying an instrument that is quite robust and will cope with a bit of rough handling.
Types of kid's microscopes
The two most common types of microscopes are the stereo and compound.Stereo types are better suited to observing detail on large objects such as stamps, buttons etc;they usually have a light on the top and bottom viewing area, allowing users to see things that are not transparent.
Compound scopes are fitted with a single light source on the bottom of the viewing area, for transparent specimens.Tiny objects not visible to the naked eye can be viewed with this scope.Some microscopes have the ability to perform both functions of the stereo and compound.
Scopes with built in lights, usually LED are the best option as they do not produce intense heat that may destroy the specimen.
You can choose a cordless microscope with re-chargable batteries if you plan to take it out on field trips.There is a large range of magnification with these instruments form 100X-900X although some start at 40X through to 1200X
Most microscopes come with some accessories that will help your child to enjoy the device.You are able to purchase additional items such as scalpels, petri dishes, forceps and tweezers, although you may be able to improvise with some of these items which can be found around the house.These tools will make it easier for handling and observing the specimens.Obviously, younger children will need to be supervised with any sharp instrument.
Some popular choices
- The TK2 scope is both a compound and stereo scope.It is cordless and runs on batteries making it easy to transport.LED’s light the viewing area and it comes with a starter kit including slides, scalpel, forceps, tweezers and vials.There is also an experiment book which shows how to collect new specimens.
- My First Lab I-Explore scope is also battery powered.This stereo scope is good for examining larger objects without the use of slides.This scope is especially good for viewing nature and small household objects.
- The MIcroPro Elite Microscope Set has 98 items included for microscopic exploration.
Choosing a suitable microscope for your child will depend on their age, skills and interest of study.It should be a fun experience that all family members can get involved in.