The TK2 Scope from Thames & Kosmos, with its versatility and great reputation, is destined to give your child wonderful, early experiences in microscopy, and is our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award winner for kids' microscopes. This tool is designed to offer legitimate scientific learning at a price point that parents can afford.
Getting what you pay for, or even a little more, is no small task in this family of products. A quick perusal of microscope reviews online will reveal many, many cases of people getting less than what they paid for with cheap, plastic children's microscopes. Such is not the case with the TK2 Scope. The best microscope for kids is one that will coax a budding interest in science to come into full bloom. The TK2 Scope will do that.
The TK2’s dual design means you can examine see-through objects illuminated by a light below and solid objects illuminated from above. This versatility is not common among this group of products and your child will love the dual functionality.
The newest scientists are going to be curious about their world. This instrument will help them get a new perspective on anything from paramecium to pollen. A child will be able to swab the inside of his mouth and view the sample with the TK2, or pick up an interesting stone in his path for closer examination.
Lenses are crafted of professional-quality glass and this microscope’s body is sturdy. The TK2 has an aperture wheel, which will allow micronauts to dictate different light-gathering levels for the optical path. The three objective lenses will also provide a wide range of views. Having all of these viewing options should provide hours of entertainment for children of all ages.
The kit offers a short but sweet list of accessories. It includes tweezers; a Petri dish; stain; blank slides and slide covers; a pipette; a scalpel; a collection vial and needles. There are only five prepared slides included with the microscope, so your child likely will want to start gathering their own specimens soon after purchase. Parents also have the option of ordering more prepared slides from a number of suppliers.
The TK2 set comes with a logical learning pattern all mapped out. The included materials are designed to lead children through the different levels of exploration. First, they can become familiar with their instrument, learning about each of the parts. Then, they can delve into the prepared slides – practically guaranteed to offer astounding views that will prompt curiosity about individual slide preparation. Next, they are off to gather their own specimens after being provided all of the guidance they will need. An included full-color glossy manual can coach your child through each step of the process.
More advanced science students can disregard all of the included information, take the empty slides out of the box and start collecting specimens, but we love the fact that younger children can get a full microscope education before diving in.
Battery-operated LED lights and a cordless design enable this scope to go anywhere your child goes. There is a built-in handle, and this scope is known for being durable. It is not fully constructed of metal, but the plastic portions are built to be tough.
Unfortunately, there is no carrying case. That would make it even more portable and easier to store. Taking the TK2 on a road trip will be more difficult than bringing along the other scopes in our lineup that have carrying cases. That’s a shame, because exploring the pond water at grandma’s house and comparing it to the stuff back home might be a lot of fun.
Helpful and knowledgeable people pick up the phone quickly when you contact Thames & Kosmos. The company also offers an email contact for any questions you may have. Longer customer service hours would be nice, but this equipment should be easy enough to use. A microscope catastrophe is unlikely.
More information on the Thames & Kosmos website about TK2 specifically would also be nice. The company does have specific information for some of its science sets, but the TK2 is not one of them. Even the product description seems a little skimpy, based on what we found in our kids' microscope research.
Having a company with a strong reputation behind it adds to the support component of this product. Thames & Kosmos is a relatively young company, founded in 2001, but they have a long list of awards for their educational toys. When the company behind a product is as well regarded as Thames & Kosmos, it is usually because their staff is doing something right. By all appearances, they are doing almost everything right. We think parents and children alike will enjoy the TK2 Scope. It offers versatility and high-quality optics, backed by a company with a stellar reputation for motivating the next generation of scientists.
The cordless functionality and carry handle free your child to take this microscope anywhere.
A carrying case would be helpful for backyard explorations and storage.
The dual design and quality optics will lead to years of learning and fun with the TK2 Scope.