Thank you Mom Select and Microscope.com for partnering with me on this post. All opinions are my own.
I asked for what I thought was a telescope for Christmas when I was a kid because I wanted to look at the stars. I was confused when I opened my present on Christmas. “You can’t see the stars and planets with it,” I told my parents. They were dumbfounded. “But…you said you wanted a microscope?” I had used the wrong word when I told them what I wanted for a present and we still laugh about it to this day. It was one of the best mistakes I’ve ever made.
I decided to use the present that wasn’t what I thought it would be and discovered a whole new world on a one inch slide. Recently I began introducing my children and the kids in my Cub Scout Den and Daisy Girl Scout Troop to this amazing world on a microscope slide. You may wonder where to start when using a microscope with kids. I’ve put together some useful tips from my wonderful STEM experiences with the kids.
Using a Microscope With Kids
Invest In a Quality Microscope
I recommend investing in a quality microscope that is geared toward young scientists when using a microscope with kids. I purchased a microscope for kids earlier this year and was disappointed to find it more like a toy than an actual microscope. The viewing visibility was very poor and because they couldn’t see what they were supposed to be looking at, the kids didn’t engage the way I hoped they would. Omano JuniorScope by Microscope.com is a real microscope designed with kids in mind.
It’s a high quality, easy to use microscope designed for kids. The Omano JuniorScope is a real compound microscope with precision glass optics. The kids were able to actually see the slides! Many of the slides are brightly colored making it easy for kids to know what they are looking at. I took the photo of the slide below with my phone. The Omano JuniorScope gives crisp definition and is easy to focus.
The larger knobs are the right size for young hands to be able to operate and fine tune the slide viewing. My daughter was fine tuning her own slides after our Girl Scout meeting.
I continued to help load the slides because they are glass but both children were operating the microscope with independence. Our next step will be to make our own slides with the supplies provided!
How Does It Work?
Kids love to learn how something works. When using a microscope with kids go over each part and it’s function. Tell them how the parts work together so that they can view the slide.
Show them the eye piece, the optics, the light, the fine tuning knobs, and the slide stage. It will make it easier for kids to work the microscope themselves when they know what each part does.
It’s a Tool Not a Toy
If you purchase a good quality microscope like the JuniorScope it’s important for kids to understand it’s a tool not a toy. It’s a significant investment. The JuniorScope is recommended for 8+ but I let my five and six year old Daisy Girl Scout Troop use it with supervision.
My children at 7 and 6 so I supervise them while using the microscope at home too. The slides are glass so I help them place them on the stage. I also help them get the microscope off the shelf and set it up. They know to ask when they want to use the microscope. The JuniorScope is so fun but I also want my kids to understand that it is not a toy so we can enjoy it for years to come.
Get Them Involved
Kids learn by doing. The JuniorScope provides a wonderful hands on STEM learning experience. One Girl Scout exclaimed “It looks like an alligator’s mouth!” as she looked at a slide with a piece of fabric. You know what? The weave did look like an alligator’s mouth. I knew she was able to see the slide and I loved seeing her so excited about science.
Ask the kids to describe what they are seeing. What color is it? What shape do they see? Look at the slide under different magnifications. The Junior Scope is a real compound microscope from 40-400x so kids can see what changes as they adjust the magnifications. You can also ask them to draw what they see. This is a great activity for younger scientists. I have created this fun printable so kids can draw what they see and discuss the slides they’ve viewed. You can print the Microscope Slides Printable here.
The JuniorScope also comes with an experiment book and supplies to make their own slides to dig even deeper into their science journey.
When you give the gift of a microscope like the Junior Scope you are giving the gift of learning. You may be lighting a love of science in the next doctor or researcher. It’s a gift that gets kids off of the screens and learning hands on. Using a microscope with kids is something they will remember forever.
You can purchase the JuniorScope at Microscope.com.