Sunday, September 20, 2009

Favorite Children's Magazines

Children's magazines are some of the favorite reading materials in our house. If well chosen, they can also be great educational materials.
Here are the kids' magazines we've had subscriptions to in the past or present or the ones the boys regularly borrow from the library. They are the magazines I approve of.

1. DIG
An archeology magazine for about 9-14 year olds; has a lot of articles about Ancient History and about the work archeologists do, great pictures too. Teddy had a drawing published in one of their issues this summer.

A magazine with short stories written and illustrated by children about 9-13 years old; this is one of Teddy's favorites, he dreams of one day publishing one of his own stories or pictures there.

One of my favorites, this magazine has been, I think, discontinued, but older issues are available at thrift stores, library sales, the homeschooling store etc. Geared towards a slightly younger age group (about 7-12+), each of the issues of Kids Discover focuses on one theme and presents a collection of articles, stories, pictures etc about that particular subject. Some examples of the ones that we found are: Cells, Rain Forests, The Industrial Revolution, Glaciers, Languages and many, many more. I was lucky enough to find a bunch of them second hand at prices ranging from 10-75 cents each.

Benedict's favorite. We've never subscribed to this one because our library has it plus it is very easy to find second hand. Probably one of the most popular kids' magazines in America, this is about animals and is addressed to the 9 and over age group, although, I think, 7 and 8 year old who read well independently, love them too. The other two animal magazines we've read in the past, geared to the younger age groups are: My Big Backyard and Baby Bug. Benedict read all the Ranger Rick's and My Big Back Yard's from the library so now I have to keep my eyes open for older issues.

Another animal magazine, each issue of this one specializes on just one animal.

6. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (the one for adults)
Although the reading level is pretty advanced, I kind of like having a subscription to the NG (thanks to my father in law, Dan). The kids are fascinated with the pictures (Teddy likes those of the wildlife, especially birds, while Benedict is in love with anything about other cultures). That being said, I have to add the warning that there are occasional pictures or articles that are inappropriate for children; I learned this the hard way, when Teddy told me that he was greatly disturbed by a picture he saw in one NG and asked me to review the new issues before handing them to him. I've learned my lesson and when I see something inappropriate I either rip the page out or use my permanent marker to cover anything inappropriate. I've drawn many bathing suits with that marker, especially in encyclopedias or books.

This is the only current events newspaper/magazine I know of, for kids. Yes, it is liberal and very public schoolish but sooner or later my kids will have to know what's going on in the real world and I love discussing the news with them. After reading their Time for Kids cover to cover they always come to Dominic or me and tell us about it and then we discuss it.

Similar to Time for Kids, this one is less about current events and more about academics, school life and other subjects of interest to children. They have different issues for each grade level and we subscribe to the 3rd grade one for Benedict and the 5/6th grade on for Teddy.

Published by Scholastic, this magazine has articles about a variety of science topics, mostly fun stuff. It also includes experiment ideas (that the kids can conduct by themselves) and quizzes, games etc. All the Scholastic magazines come with a teacher's edition with ideas for activities, tests etc. relating to that particular issue.

Another Scholastic magazine, this one is about math. Trying to make math more fun and meaningful, it includes all kinds of articles, records, games all relating in one way or another to math. We've had a subscription to this last year, but due to the lack of enthusiasm my kids had when receiving it, we didn't renew it.

A magazine about everything American (history, government, social issues, symbols), this is the one I want my kids to like but they don't. I occasionally borrow one or two from the library and leave them on the coffee table or dining room table (one of my tactics to make the boys read what I want them to), but with not much success.

As for the magazines I don't like my kids to read and I do not recommend, the list is much shorter:


The reason I don't approve of the first two magazines, which by the way seem to be the most popular at our library, is because they have a very large amount of advertisements to things like junk food, video games, objectionable movies, and cover too much of the popular culture or the "culture of cool" (Hannah Montana, American Idol, High School Musical, Jonas Brothers etc.) which my kids have absolutely no need to be exposed to. Junior Scholastic, which used to be on my recommended list, really disappointed me in the last issues. It is clearly geared towards public school children (maybe some private school kids too) who are dealing with issues like: bullying (including cyber bullying), drugs etc.

I'm sure I missed a few magazines, but this is a good list of what the boys and I have found were educational and entertaining.

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