How to Build a Homemade Telescope for Children?

Building a homemade telescope is a fun project to do with your little ones. In the following article, we'll present two easy ideas.
How to Build a Homemade Telescope for Children?
Samanta Ruiz

Written and verified by the teacher Samanta Ruiz.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Little ones love the subject of space, stars, planets, the Moon, and the Sun. Take advantage of their motivation and teach them how to make a homemade telescope for kids!

With this project that you can do at home, you can teach little ones to reuse certain objects you already have around the house, so it becomes a doubly valuable task. While they learn about the Universe and the planets, they recycle to take care of what is theirs.

Discover more fun activities for kids: How to Make a Shadow Puppet Theater at Home

Homemade telescope for kids: Two projects to do at home

Here are two simple ideas whose purpose, besides learning, is to share a relaxing and leisurely moment with the family.

A young girl using a large telescope.

Children’s telescope to see constellations

This project is an educational game to learn the names and shapes of the stars in the sky.

What will you need?

  • 1 brick-type milk container with screw cap and square shape
  • Cutter, scissors
  • Transparent material: A sheet of paper or acetate
  • Dark cardboard
  • Marker
  • Punch
  • Adhesive tape

How to make it?

  1. Wash the brick container well and cut the support base.
  2. With the measurement of the base, cut a square of the transparent material that is 2 centimeters larger on three sides.
  3. Fold these flaps and attach them to the brick with the adhesive tape (you’ll have only one side free). Through this place, you can insert the cards with the perforated diagrams.
  4. Search the internet for constellation diagrams to copy: Taurus, Scorpio, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Pisces, and any others you like.
  5. Cut squares of cardboard just a few millimeters smaller than the size of the base of the brick.
  6. With the marker, draw the constellations on the cardboard squares.
  7. Punch holes with the punch where the stars go.
  8. Insert the card on the side where you left the flap free.
  9. Look against the light through the hole where the plug was and you’ll see the shape of the constellations with the illuminated stars.

Make a homemade telescope to see the Moon

This telescope is great for going out at night to see the beauty of the Moon in the starry sky.

What will you need?

  • Cardboard tube approximated 1 inch in diameter.
  • Cardboard tube approximately 1.4 inches in diameter.
  • Magnifying glass approximately 1 inch in diameter.
  • Magnifying glass approximately 2 inches cm in diameter.
  • Wide adhesive tape.
  • Decorative stickers.

How to make it?

  1. Take the large tube, place the large magnifying glass at one end, and tape it in place.
  2. Place the smaller magnifying glass on one end of the narrower tube and attach it to the cardboard with tape.
  3. Insert the smaller tube into the larger tube, leaving the magnifying glasses on each outer end.
  4. Look through the smaller magnifying glass and slide the larger tube until the image improves.
  5. Once you have that distance, tape the tubes together.
  6. Decorate the tube with stickers of moons and stars.
  7. Use the magnifying glass handles to grip your telescope and start exploring!

A young boy looking out his window through a telescope.

Tips for using the homemade telescope for kids

These types of home experiments help little ones learn to observe space, the Moon, and stars, and even play astronaut. Just keep them from using the telescope to see the Sun, as it can be very dangerous for the eyes.

In addition to exploring the sky, they can use a homemade telescope to make observations of nature, plants, animals, and landscapes. A telescope will be a great companion for their adventures!

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Homemade telescope: Reflector or refractor

Telescopes capture light from objects and concentrate it on lenses. The beam of light, passing through the optics, is multiplied, which makes things appear closer.

There are two types of telescopes. This one we just saw here made with lenses is a refractor type, which is a simple way to magnify an image for children to see distant objects.

For professional use, reflecting telescopes, built with mirrors, are used in astronomy. The most well-known astronomical reflecting telescopes are Hubble and Spitzer, whose space mission lasted almost 17 years.

The subject of space and the Universe is fascinating for children and if you are also a lover of astronomy, this can help you to have a common theme with them.

Get to work with the family project of making a homemade telescope for children. Take advantage of the moment to share and feed their curiosity by telling them all about what you can see with a real telescope. What are you waiting for?

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.