We get a lot of mail. Most of it’s junk, and disappointingly for Junior, almost none of it is for him. When Lego Club magazine shows up, it makes his day! He immediately sits down to read, only surfacing to request pencils or crayons or for me to take his picture right now with a Lego creation to send in to one of the magazine’s contests. Lego Club magazine has taken him from a beginning to an intermediate reader because he’s motivated to read it. Every page. In this blog post, I’ll talk about some other great magazines that will have your reader lunging for the mailbox—with links to sample issues and promo codes!
The Lego Club magazines (Lego Club and Lego Club Jr) are awesome and I can’t believe that they’re free. We now get Lego Club magazine, and every issue contains comics, puzzles, jokes, Lego build instructions, and some great contests (see this video for the contents of a sample issue). There’s even a regular feature where families send in pictures of the creations their children have imagined and built. I don’t mind the product placement because let’s face it, Legos are everywhere in the primary grades. You have to go online and register with the Lego company to receive the magazine, but it’s worth it.
Another family of magazines I often recommend are the Cricket family of literary magazines for children. The ones I have experience with are Babybug, Ladybug, and Cricket, which include wonderful artwork, stories, and poems by and for children. I subscribed Junior’s kindergarten class to Ask last year and I heard a lot of good things from the teacher. Click the magazine names below to see sample issues for each magazine.
- 6 months- 3 years old: Babybug (I often include a copy of this magazine in shower gifts)
- 3-6 years old: Click and Ladybug
- 6-9 years old: Ask and Spider
- 9-14 years old: Cricket, Cobblestone, Dig, Faces, and Muse:
- 15+ years old: Cicada
Don’t be put off by the high subscription prices! Promo codes pop up frequently and once Cricket’s parent media company has your email address, you will be bombarded with email promotions for their magazines. The 60% off promo code I have right now is ADVENT. I've been able to get good pricing on other magazines through Groupon and EBSCO--but check around, the deals are always changing.
You can “try before you buy” with other children’s magazines too! Your local library will probably have some children’s magazines on their shelves (mine has Highlights and Ranger Rick Jr.). Pro tip: if you don’t want your children to know you’re considering a gift subscription, you can sneakily check out a children’s magazine using your smartphone, iPad, or computer and the Zinio e-reader system. You will need to get your librarian to explain setup to you, but once you do, you can check current children’s magazines (for starters, American Girl, RaspPi, and Wild) out of the library to evaluate for potential subscriptions. Zinio also contains many terrific foreign language children’s magazines—helpful for keeping a second language up in an age-appropriate manner.
Here are some great lists of children’s magazines to get you started:
- The Parents Choice awards for children’s magazines.
- Sheknows lists its favorite children’s magazines.
- Fatherly picks out its 12 favorite magazines for children.
- The Guardian’s top five magazines for children.
I'll look forward to hearing about your favorite magazines for children. There's nothing like finding treasure in the mailbox!