Carson MicroBrite

We discovered this microscope while traveling in Paris, where it was recommended by a staffer at Nature & Decouvertes, who told us it was incredible for the price — about $10 at the time. Was he ever right.

It comes with a base and a slide with some cotton cloth as a sample, but in practice we never use the base or slide. We just place the microscope on anything we want to look at, and click the LED light on for a terrific view. There is a 20x-40x zoom, as well as adjustable focus. It’s good enough that we end up fighting our kids to play with it. With it we’ve studied leaves, flowers, color printing (kids are surprised by the dot patterns), currency, rugs, even our own fingerprints.

-- Brian Fleming  

Carson MicroBrite MM-24 Pocket Microscope
$13

Available from Amazon

$10 from Optics Planet Manufactured by Carson