last updated 12 Nov 2023
Contents: Microscopes overview | Recommended Stereo Microscopes

See also Glossary on the microscopes page.

Microscopes are one of the most widely used tools in science.
They mignify things from 5 times (5X) to 1,500 times (1,500X)
Analog microscopes that use light and mirrors to magnify objects usually max out at about 1,500x magnification. This is because light wavelengths cause the image to appear unclear at that magnitude of magnification.
Electron microscopes, however, can produce images that exhibit impressive clarity all the way up to 200,000x magnification since electrons have much shorter wavelengths.

When I googled kids microscopes I got 30+ between $50 and $120 More than half were 200-1200 power which are not recommended for younger kids.

Best-microscope-for-kids | says
When you are looking for the best childrenŐs microscope, you should look for one that is durable and simple to use. DonŐt be fooled into thinking you need extremely high power magnification for a kids microscope. The most interesting specimens for kids to look at, bacteria and their own cheek cells only require 40x-400x. The best microscopes often include additional accessories such as carrying/storage cases and prepared slides so that viewing can begin right away. Most importantly, any microscope chosen for a kid should encourage scientific exploration in a fun and educational way.

The younger the child, the lower the magnification power should be because powerful optics can be more difficult to operate.
Microscopes with a 5X to 400X magnification power will be great for younger kids.

Most of the microscopes listed for kids wre Compound microscopes with a single eyepiece and the objective lens (at the bottom close to the specimen stage which is typically a slice on a slide (small rectangular piece of glass). Compound microscopes have much higher optical resolution with magnification ranging from about 40x to 1,000x.

For school age kids The most interesting specimens for kids to look at, such as bugs, bacteria and their own cheek cells only require 40x-400x.
They are able to magnify objects up to about a thousand times. Since most cells are between 1 and 100 µm in diameter, they can be observed by light microscopy, as can some of the larger subcellular organelles, such as nuclei.
See size

Stereo microscopes (also called dissecting microscopes) have lower optical resolution power where the magnification typically ranges between 6x and 50x. There is a larger space between the objective lense and specimen stage, so they can accommodate larger objects, insects, plants, rocks, ...
They can also be used for dissection (Cutting up small animals).

Most younger kids < 8 years old are more interested in viewing these things than cross sections of neurons.

My opinion: Stereo microscopes are good for kids for 2 reasons.

An angled head is good because they can use it sitting down.
A 10x magnification is good because
Recommended Stereo Microscopes

I got the IQCrew By AmScope SE120 Series Outlet Kid's Portable Stereo Microscope 20X Magnification with Angled Head
for $38 It is manufactured by IQCREW but labeled as AmScope which distributes it via Amazon

> It comes with a 2x objective lens (The end at the bottom) and a 10x eyepiece for a magnification of 20x.
This gives a small field of view of 0.9 (mm) which is too narrow from many bugs.
So I ordered a 5x eyepiece to give it 10x magnification with a 1.8 mm or 0.7 inch field of view.

You can also get up to a 25x eyepiece for 50x power
and a digital eyepiece to display on a computer. Ages: 13 and younger. Several comments said their 4 year olds had no problem with it.

AmScope SE120 Portable Binocular Stereo Microscope, WF10x Eyepieces, 20X Magnification, 2X Objective, LED Lighting | Amazon,
IQCrew 10X & 20X Portable Stereo Microscope $56

10-20x model

20x model 4.1 Also listed at AmScope Outlet IQCrew 20X Kid's Portable Stereo Microscope |amscope
Educational Insights GeoSafari® Jr. My First Microscope
8x magnification for a larger field of view that the 10x above.
Ages 3+
Designed by a scientist and mother of two preschoolers, My First Microscope allows kids to see a magnified hidden world with ease! This fully functional microscope is a real working science tool with two extra-large eyepieces and a chunky, kid-sized focusing knob. A bright LED with easy push-button action lights up details for even more discoveries.

Reviews 4.2
57% 5 star
3-4 star reviews A Several arrived broken and others broke after a little use.
Magnification not impressive.

You can get sets of specimens for kids to view:
For Stereo microscopes:
Bugs at Etsy
Bugs in epoxy at LakeshoreLearning
Mineral Rocks | AmScope
Fossil Starter Set, 4 specimens

For compound microscopes:
48pc Color-coded Prepared Plastic Microscope Slides with Plant, Insect, Mammal, Bird and Fish Specimens

Stereo Microscope
> Also known as dissection or dissecting microscopes, stereo microscopes have dedicated objective lenses and eyepieces for each eye. The separate optical paths create two axes offset from one another, providing depth perception for a three-dimensional view. This makes stereo scopes ideal for viewing dissection or any larger objects that you may need to manipulate as you observe. Here are some that were recommended.

Compound microscopes
have much higher optical resolutions, so theyŐre best for viewing or inspecting small specimens requiring very high magnification, including bacteria, plant cells, algae, protozoa, animal cells, chromosomes, and thin slices of organs or tissues. They have a small working distance, which varies from 0.14 to 4 millimeters and is ideal for ultra-thin samples that you can pass light through.

Microscope Anatomy:

Purchase Warning: has a stereo 20 power microscope on sale for $125 that looks identical to the AmScope SE120 Portable Binocular Stereo Microscope for $39 at amazon.

Best-microscope-for-kids |

Best microscopes for kids | Popular Science
Buyers Guide to Microscopes for Elementary Schools: What Microscope Should I Buy? | AmScope