Teach a child to read at an early age and he or she have a friend for life. Encouraging your child to read the best magazines for kids provides an alternative for computer games and TV. Time spent reading proves more enriching and rewarding.
A kids magazine will make a great gift for a birthday or for the Holiday Season. Here is our list of what we feel are some of the best magazines for children:
#1 Highlights – Ages 6-12
The folks at Highlights pledge “uncompromising excellence”. For over 65 years, Highlights magazines have delivered Fun with a Purpose ™. Every issue contains 40 pages of: interactive entertainment, hands-on craft ideas, science and nature articles, stories, puzzles and games.
What’s Different: Pediatricians and pediatric dentists, avid supporters of the magazine’s platform, commonly make it available for their little patrons in the waiting rooms. You might need a new dentist if they see children often and don’t have several of these available.
Our View: Here at More4Kids, we praise this classic magazine for providing abundant reading material instead of stuffing it with pictures, like the majority of children’s magazines. Color pictures are included, but words arouse curiosity and ignite imagination.
READ more about the award winning Highlights Magazine
#2 American Girl – Ages 8-12
Originally launched in December 1992, American Girl has become the premier provider for promoting self-empowerment of tweens.
No stick-like models or boy celebrity crushes, just creativity boosters, girl-friendly recipes, contests, age-appropriate hairstyles, along with art and stories submitted by readers.
What’s Different: American Girl signifies a wholesome lifestyle. Articles foster dealing with real life lessons like toxic friends, school bullies and more.
Our View: In decades past, kids learned values via “every story has a moral”. We appreciate American Girl’s non-preachy attitude in reviving moral stories.
#3 National Geographic Kids – Ages 8+
National Geographic Kids kicked-off in September 1975 as National Geographic World. It is one of the best magazines for kids who have an innate curiosity about our planet.
Beautiful photos of exotic wildlife and remarkable places to explore via armchair travel. Articles slant toward protecting our natural resources and appreciation of different cultures.
Sprinkles of jokes, puzzles and games provide the perfect blend of fun and factual learning.
What’s Different – National Geographic Kids features a wealth of short articles that capture a child’s attention and prompt discussions. It is an auspicious classroom teaching tool.
Our View: Kids love freebies! From maps and stickers to animal posters and collectible trading cards, a surprise is included in many issues.
READ more about National Geographic Kids
#4 Chirp – Ages 3-6
Chirp is particularly appealing to the kid who asks incessant questions about how things work. It is packed with games, recipes and activities for kids and parents to tackle together.
Each issue of Chirp delves into a different theme such as adventure, space and construction.
What’s Different – Parents can refer to the “big person’s guide” that demonstrates how to get the most out of every issue.
Our Verdict: Chirp set the bar pretty high among best magazines for children in this difficult age group. Kids don’t just read this magazine, they do it! From physical activities like easy yoga poses to “Goodnight Kisses”, Chirp fits “little hands and growing minds”.
READ more about Chip Magazine for Kids
#5 Ranger Rick – Ages 7+
The National Wildlife Federation published the encore issue of Ranger Rick in 1967, with the intention of guiding kids to a better understanding of the natural world. Each issue is like a new world that beckons, with its amazing pictures of wildlife, captivating facts and true-to-life animal stories.
For children who are fascinated with animals, the strange oddities found in wildlife are outside the bounds of imagination.
What’s Different – Ranger Rick has reached the pinnacle of photographing animals in their natural habitat.
Our View: Some of Ranger Rick’s environmentalist messages may not reach their full potential with your child until she is older. However, we feel it important for kids to attain an early awareness of environmental issues, such as wild animals that are going extinct.
#6 Boy’s Life – Ages 7-17
Boy’s Life caters to boy stuff such as: outdoor survival, sports, science, fitness, animals, poetry, true and fiction stories. This magazine advocates good citizenship and service to others.
It’s slanted toward Boy Scouts, yet facilitates reading proficiency and generates a lifetime interest in the natural world for all. Every issue offers DIY projects that boys can do with their parents or scout troop.
What’s Different – Boy’s Life is the oldest our best magazines for kids! Boy Scouts of America rolled out the first issue in 1911.
Our View – You don’t have to be a boy or a Scout to get the phenomenal benefits of Boy’s Life.
#7 Owl – Ages 9+
Owl is a well-rounded “discovery” magazine that stimulates children’s developing brain, with “brain-bogglers”, absorbing puzzles, mazes, nature and science articles. On the lighter side are riddles, jokes and fun facts about the issue’s theme.
What’s Different – Owl rewards its readers who are becoming deep thinkers, in a regular column, “Talk About It”. Kids are invited to voice their opinions on lifestyle issues pertaining to sports, peer pressure and the environment.
Our View: Kudos to Owl for expressing the fun side of science with articles that explain the helium shortage and why things stink. Who knows how many budding scientists may be inspired by these kid-friendly articles.
#8 FACES – Ages 9-14
FACES features “People, Places and Culture”. Recent issues have focused on Argentina, Peru and cats. (Well…cats have faces too!) Its lifelike photography, high quality paper and absence of advertisements, add up to an uber-attractive magazine.
In a society where kid’s magazines are fluff, like fashion and make-up, FACES is a refreshing periodical, which combines history, social studies, geography and more.
What’s Different: Homeschooling moms nominate FACES their go-to magazine. More4kids ABSOLUTELY loves this!
Our View: That “we are all one” is an abstract truth, even adult’s find difficult to grasp. We admire FACES for uniting peoples of the world in a kid-friendly manner.
#9 Be Your Own You! – Ages 7-14
Be Your Own You! Invites tween/teen girls to take the pledge, “I choose to live my life with passion and purpose…”
Girls are exposed to positive values like inner beauty and enhanced self-esteem. The magazine aims to help young girls empower themselves by tackling tough issues like standing up to bullying and positive body-image.
What’s Different – BYOU is a “heartlight” above mass marketing magazines devoted to getting the guy and gossip.
Our View: There has long been a shocking lack of positive role models for girls. BYOU fills the gap with celebrities such as Bethany Hamilton. Bethany became a motivational speaker after a shark ripped off her arm, showing strength through adversity.
#10 Jack and Jill – Ages 7-12
Jack and Jill hit the stands in 1938, making it one of the oldest among best magazines for kids. It engages both the intellectual and intuitive sides of your child’s brain through humor, games, current events and crafts.
What’s Different: The magazine’s mission is to endorse creative, physical, emotional and social enlightenment of children. Stories express positivity, such as kindness to others and appreciation of different cultures.
READ more about Jack and Jill Magazine
Our View: We admire publishers of Jack and Jill for living up to their convictions by gifting kids with monetary awards for creative expression, i.e. their annual “U.S. Kids Cover Contest”.
Final Word: We realize rating best magazines for kids of different ages is like comparing apples and cucumbers. However, as long as our kids anticipate receiving their very own magazine in the mail, its name is not vital.
Looking for more great kids magazines?
Check out our full list of Children’s Magazines.