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.
Magazines also make excellent gifts because they keep on giving all year long. My kids have gotten several magazine subscriptions over the years and they never get boring.
Best Kids Magazines
Recently I asked on our Facebook page what magazines their kids loved. This list is a compilation of both our favorites and yours. There are three categories: nonfiction, fiction and magazines for babies and toddlers. All of the listed magazines for kids are also free of advertising!
A note on prices: Some of these magazines can seem expensive. But consider that you are getting the equivalent of 8-12 books with one subscription. And don’t forget to look out for specials and encourage subscriptions as gifts from the grandparents (MUCH better than another toy, right?)… that’s what we do! (Magazine covers and titles below are affiliate links)
NonFiction Magazines for Kids
Click. The folks at Cricket publish (in my opinion) some of the best magazines for kids. Click is a science oriented publication for kids ages 3 and up. My older son was an early reader so he was reading Click independently by age 5, but I do have to read it aloud to my current 5 year old. The information, however, is well suited to younger kids. 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 for kids ages 7 and up, is the next step up from Click. I’m quite impressed with the thoughtfulness of the material. I learn quite a bit myself! 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. No doubt he will soon be moving on to Odyssey, their science magazine for kids 10 and up.
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. My kids used to get this magazine (it was a gift and the subscription ran out… boo) and one of the things I liked about it was that it could be enjoyed by kids of different ages. For preschoolers you can go with Ranger Rick Jr. (which was called “Your Big Backyard” back when we subscribed to it).
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. I understand the NG magazine for older kids does include advertising, should you wish to avoid that (like I do).
Faces is an excellent magazine that educated 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. So much better than a fashion magazine, don’t you think?
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 was a Parents’ Choice Awards winner in 2012. Have you ever seen it? What do you think?
Magazines for Babies and Toddlers
Babybug 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.