Are you looking for a unique gift idea for the kid who already has too many toys? Maybe you’re looking for a new way to get your child interested in reading. Little kid magazines make a great gift for so many reasons:
- No additional toy clutter
- After you read them together a few times, they make for great car entertainment (just be aware of the staples)
- Fun puzzles help develop visual perceptiveness
- Engaging stories help increase vocabulary
- Exposure to new concepts and ideas
- Short stories for age appropriately short attention spans
- Encourages reading
- Everyone loves to get mail
- Easy to order at the last minute (and some subscriptions even have an option to email gift announcement!)
Here are a few magazines my preschool daughter subscribes to and absolutely loves reading.
- Ages 2-6
- $59.40/year – 12 issues, 36 pages (check online for special promotions)
- Reading: The majority of the reading portion consists of a variety of illustrated short stories. Each issue has a few stories with characters you’ll become familiar with. There’s always a one page cartoon with The Adventures of Spot, a curious dog. Tex and Indi are two siblings who navigate the social situations that young kids face. There’s also always a story that includes some dialogue in Spanish (with a pronunciation guide and translation!).
- Puzzles: Highlights High Five does a fantastic job with engaging puzzles. This is by far, my three year old’s favorite part of the magazine. There are great Hidden Picture Puzzles (with a coordinating short poem), an engaging same and different look-and-find puzzle, and a poem that lists a certain number of items to find in the picture. Our favorite activity page is “That’s Silly!” It has provided such a great platform for describing what my daughter sees, as well as what she’d expect to see.
- Activities: This magazine typically includes a kid-friendly recipe, a themed movement activity, a simple craft you can create with what’s around your house, and a photo of a real-life kid doing an activity with a prompt to try something new.
- Extras: A High Five Mini Book is usually included at the end of the magazine. These are great for scissors practice (adult supervision!). They also make for a great travel book.
- Our Opinion: Of the three magazines reviewed, Highlights High Five provides the greatest variety of stories, activities, and puzzles. I love exposing our daughter to writing that includes short poems, social stories, cartoons, bilingual stories, and more. It usually takes us a few days to read the entire magazine, but we keep coming back to it for months!
- Ages 3-6
- $15/year – six issues (check online for special promotions)
- Reading: There are a lot of short articles with animals facts in National Geographic Little Kids. The photographs that accompany the information are as amazing as you would expect from National Geographic. A sequencing story that shows the ordered process of how an animal performs an activity, for example how a loon takes flight, is usually included. This provides a great platform for learning to describe the steps of other things we do in our day. One of our favorite pages is the Why? page which asks a science question about an animal. Our daughter almost always shares this fact with someone we see later in the day. I think it’s great that she’s so excited to learn and shares that new information, too.
- Puzzles: This magazine typically has a finding puzzle. They provide clues to help you find the hidden animals.
- Activities: There are a few activity pages in this magazine, including a sorting page to find what’s different, a connecting activity to draw lines between coordinating things, and a page to match animals which also typically includes follow up questions. Our favorite is What in the World Are These?, a fun page with zoomed in photos of objects. For now, our daughter points to each and names them. As she gets older, she can fill in the missing letter to spell the word.
- Extras: Wild Animal Cards are included in each magazine. My daughter loves to decorate our house with these beautiful photographs.
- Our Opinion: National Geographic Little Kids provides excellent photographs and tons of information. We love the Wild Animal Cards. This would be a great gift for a young animal lover.
- Ages 4-6
- $24.95/year – ten issues, 36 pages (check online for special promotions)
- Reading: The short stories in Ranger Rick Jr. include factual information about animals that is presented in a way that is easy to understand. There’s typically an “Ever Wonder?” page that asks a question you might hear from your own child, then provides the answer. One of our favorite pages is the animal story with icon pictures, that allows my pre-reader to help me read – this is such a great way for her to learn about the basics of reading, left to right, top to bottom, while having a lot of fun hearing a new story.
- Puzzles: Ranger Rick Jr. has multiple look and find puzzles. Sometimes they’re actual photographs of animals in their ecosystem. Other times, it’s a cartoon illustration. The look and find puzzles encourage detective skills, as well as counting, since some of the puzzles will ask the child to find a certain number of animals in the picture.
- Activities: This magazine includes a few activity pages, including Ricky’s Playhouse, a maze, and something hands on, like a recipe.
- Extras: The magazine typically includes a pull out poster. It also includes Ricky’s Mail, which displays readers’ photos or drawings.
- Our Opinion: Ranger Rick Jr. has less reading than some of the other magazines, but it’s still filled with great photographs and interesting information.
If you’re looking for an alternative to a wrapped present, a magazine subscription could be the perfect option. Our daughter loves seeing her name on the magazines and reads them for months on end, until they are literally falling apart.
Does your family have a favorite little kid magazine subscription?