BUYING FOR A CHILD
With their sharp eyesight and insatiable curiosity, children make excellent skywatchers, and the gift of a telescope can lead to a lifelong hobby—or even a career.
When buying a scope for a child, avoid cheap "high-powered" instruments. Even adults have a difficult time using these shaky, fuzzy telescopes. Purchase a good-quality 2.4 inch (60 mm) refractor or, better yet, move up to a larger refractor or a 4 to, 6 Inch (100 to 150 mm) reflector. Choose one with an altazimuth or Dobsonian mount, rather than a complicated equatorial mount. It is important that the child can use the telescope unsupervised, although you will both get much more out of the purchase if you spend time skywatching together.
If you are concerned that a good-quality telescope is too expensive to start with—or if the child is still too young for a delicate instrument— purchase binoculars instead. Buy a set. of star charts and spend a year with the child learning the constellations.and picking out binocular targets. You can-sample telescopic views at star parties and public observatories.