Microscopes are great purchases as they can get children interested in biology and all things related to science. To make the experience of using a microscope an exciting one, parents should choose a good beginner's microscope.
A good beginner's microscope should be durable and be made of durable materials. It should have a built-in light source, various zoom levels and good optics that provide good, sharp images. It should also be easy to use. For example, it should be easy to raise and lower to get a specimen into focus. It should also contain accessories that kids can use to perform experiments and a booklet with various hands-on science activities.
My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope is a great entry-level microscope. It is easy to use, for example it has just one knob for focus. And it has pretty good optics, especially considering the price, and a magnification of 40x, 100x and 400x. It also has two LED lights which provide good illumination. One light from above and the other from below used to light the slides (hence the name "duo scope", you can use the microscope to either look at slides or objects picked up outside).
Its mechanics operate smoothly and unlike other microscopes, it is not clunky. It also comes with a booklet containing instructions and a 50 piece accessory kit which includes slides (some of them are blank), lens paper, a plastic test tube, a pair of forceps and other instruments that you would use when operating a microscope. We like the fact that the booklet is quite detailed and contains activities that explain how to use a microscope.
If you are looking for an inexpensive yet decent beginner's microscope, the My First Lab Duo-Scope is probably the best that you get in the market for below $ 100. You get a decent microscope at a fraction of the cost of a professional microscope!
We also encourage you to get a book with microscope activities. The booklet provided is quite detailed and good but it is useful to have a good microscope book around especially after you have become very familiar with all the instructions and activities provided in the booklet. Take a look also at our microscope for kids page where we explain how to choose a microscope. And for games and toys related to science, visit our science toys guide.