N has always been interested in the moon and stars ever since he was a toddler. So I was hoping that being sent the Discovery Kids telescope to review was going to be a hit with him. My degree was in geography so I’m always interested in trying to encourage any interest N shows in the world around us.
When the 40mm astronomical telescope arrived in its box it was massive. There’s certainly enough padding to keep the telescope safe during delivery. N was straight into the box to see what was included.
The telescope is a reasonable size for children to use. It’s easily manageable for him to arrange it safely on its tripod, and focus the scope in and out to suit. It’s also really light – mostly being made from plastic – so there isn’t a worry about carrying something heavy around.
There are 2 eye pieces – a 25mm and a 10mm for even wider views. What N didn’t understand was why the lenses came out, and also why there was an additional piece (think like a periscope triangular mirror piece) to add into the end. I think this was so that you could look down into the lens instead of having to lie on the floor below the telescope to look into it and up. For nearly 6 year old it was confusing. I also wasn’t sure how the screws would hold in the lens. I couldn’t get one of them to hold tight against it, so I wouldn’t want to take the telescope out and about in one piece in case something fell out and got lost. But it did the job of holding once it was set up in place to use.
N didn’t really care about this. He was happy playing and pretending to look through it, then pack it up again to pretend to go on a journey to go star gazing. He wasn’t that bothered about actually going outside to look at the moon or stars.
I on the other hand was determined that we would be able to look and see some interesting sights. Of course the moon wasn’t playing ball – damn those clouds, but I endeavoured to search for some stars. We’re lucky in that we live in the middle of nowhere, so apart from the occasional car, and front door light it’s black out there and we see lots of stars.
But taking it outside and trying to see anything against the black was a struggle. Yes, I took off the hood cover and the lens caps, but I could just see black. With no moon or bright light to focus on it was hard to get it started so I tried back indoors to see if I could see anything through it.
I found the 10mm lens worked better (the 25mm I couldn’t get working), and I could see bright objects to focus on in the house. The focus wasn’t that detailed so I didn’t find the objects that clear even at the best focal point. The knack is definitely to find something large to focus on like the moon rather than going straight for stars which are smaller.
While I was excited about the Discovery Kids telescope to begin with (you can’t beat an educational toy), a few days in I had given up trying to get a lot of detail. I reverted back to my camera and the naked eye. N is happy enough just using it as a toy.
If you’re looking for a toy telescope then this will do the job, and with a rrp of £19.99 it isn’t too expensive. For me, it’s like cameras for kids. You’re often better off buying a proper starter telescope or finding someone’s to borrow until they get keen.
Disclosure: We were sent the Discovery Kids telescope for the purpose of review. All words and opinions are my own.