My kids love getting magazine subscriptions in the mail. I like it too because when I pull out the latest edition of Click or Ladybug from the mailbox I know my kids will be quietly occupied for 30 minutes to an hour.
Why Kids Magazines and Not Just Books?
If you're not sure why you should give your child magazines instead of sticking to just books, let me enlighten you about two very important experiences:
- Your child’s joy at receiving his very own mail; and
- The free time you will have while said child is busy pouring over his new literature.
Obviously, I have not listed these experiences in order of importance. (wink)
But in all seriousness, I think that magazine subscriptions are terrific for encouraging independent literacy: It came in the mail! It has your name on it! It has variety! It must be desirable!
Not to mention, magazines are excellent choices for reluctant readers because magazines include text in a variety of formats. There may be comics, short stories, poems and longer in-depth articles all in the same publication. Some even include puzzles or activities to try. Often kids who don’t want to read long books will spend hours with a magazine, especially if the topic is of great interest to them.
NonFiction Magazines for Kids
Click. The folks at Cricket Media publish (in my opinion) some of the best magazines for kids. Click is a science oriented publication for kids ages 3 and up. There are short articles of information as well as stories, all with plentiful illustrations. Reading is not passive and many pages ask kids to participate by asking questions. Each edition also includes a craft or game to cut out.
Ask, a science magazine from Cricket Media, for kids ages 7 and up, is the next step up from Click. I'm quite impressed with the thoughtfulness of the material. Each edition has a central theme and includes short facts along with more in-depth articles. My 9 year old loves this magazine and always reads it cover to cover.
Faces, also from Cricket Media is an excellent magazine that educates children about other cultures and people around the world. Each edition focuses on a specific culture, taking an in-depth look at the people, traditions and role in global society.
Ranger Rick was one of the few magazines I got as a kid. Yes! It's been around that long! It's my favorite magazine about wildlife. For preschoolers you can go with Ranger Rick Jr.
We've never subscribed to National Geographic Little Kids, but others have recommended it. It has games and activities to keep kids engaged, as well as information presented in stories and very short format articles. For ages 3-6.
Fiction Magazines for Kids
We are all familiar with Highlights For Children from the doctor's waiting room, yes? A general interest magazine for kids, it includes activities, crafts to try, stories, and quizzes. Highlights High Five is a version for younger kids.
Someone on Facebook mentioned Chirp and I realize the reason I haven't seen it is because it is Canadian. So, for my friends Up North, this may be a good choice for you! Ages 3-6
Ladybug and Spider. If this list appears heavy with selections from the Cricket publishing house, that's because Cricket magazines are my absolute favorite. I plan on having my kids continue with at least one non-fiction and one fiction selection until they are
out of my hair out of the house. These two magazines, with rhymes, poems, stories and more are for ages 3-6, and 6 and up, respectively. And, of course, Cricket itself is for ages 9 and up.
Humpty Dumpty Magazine is a mix of fiction and non-fiction articles, crafts, puzzles. We've never subscribed to it, but it has been recommended by others and had earned a Parents' Choice Award.
Magazines for Babies and Toddlers
MORE: Best Toddler Books (books I'll miss reading!)
Babybug from Cricket Media is a wonderful first magazine for kids ages 0-3. It is a small size, with heavy, rip-resistant pages. We never had a subscription to this one (sadly), but I used to check them out from the library. Very simple stories, colorful illustrations, rhymes and interactive text make this a lovely choice for parents to read to their little ones.
I've not seen Highlights Hello but others have recommended it as a perfect first magazine for babies and toddlers. Ages 0-2.