Kids Magazines

Whoever said kids’ magazines are just for reading never met a home school teacher! Shiny-new or lovingly-used, kids’ magazines have a lot to offer home school families. The part they play in your child’s education is limited only by your imagination.

Whatever you do, don’t toss them aside once your kids read their favorite parts. What you’ll be doing is reinventing the purpose of those magazines. This article explains how to divide a magazine’s use into the following five categories: reading, reviewing, responding, rearranging and recycling.

Reading ~

This part’s easy – flip through, find what catches your eye and give it a quick read, then toss it aside and wait impatiently for next month’s issue. Right? Wrong. If you’re letting your kids pick and choose their favorite parts of those magazines, they’re going to miss some pretty good stuff. Depending on their ages, have them read a certain number of articles.

Since reading is a skill you want to encourage, set aside time for your kids to curl up in a comfy chair or stretch out in front of the fire. Associate reading with pleasure. With very little effort, they’re absorbing interesting information and learning new vocabulary words – all while relaxing with a colorful kids’ magazine!

Reviewing ~

Unless we review new information, it’s easily lost in the mad dash of racing on to another subject. Take time to discuss magazine articles at the supper table. See how much other members of the family know about baby elephants – or black holes – or the number of rooms in a cruise ship.

In other words, review what your children read that day. You might also choose to give a pop quiz next week to see what information they’ve retained. This is a great retention exercise which includes a review in science, history, geography, and other subjects – whatever their particular magazine covers.

Responding ~

Let your students select a particular article or feature of the magazine and respond to it. This means sharing their personal thoughts and feelings about the subject – not just rehearsing what the author said. Was it an article about rescuing beached whales? What to do if you find a crippled Cooper hawk? How to spot certain constellations at different times of the month?

Have your student express why they enjoyed the article, what they learned, how it might help them later, who they would recommend it to, etc. Don’t require a full-fledged report – a few sentences or paragraphs will do. Voila! You’ve just had a language arts lesson.

Rearranging ~

The following activities require cutting up kids’ magazine pages. If you’re unwilling to do that with newer ones, look for back issues at thrift stores and/or library sales. Carefully remove staples from middle pages of magazines. N ext, shuffle them all up and rearrange them to make a totally different magazine.

Which article would they have chosen for the first page? Do they agree with the title or would they revise it? Move pictures around, patch one of their own stories in? This fun activity teaches layout, design and editing skills. Consider this a combo of language arts and commercial art.

Recycling ~

Don’t just drop used magazines off in a collection box. Cut out the bold words found in article titles, separating them into individual words. Now toss them all in a big jar or box and give it a good shake. Pick a handful of words (no peeking) and paste them on construction paper. You’ll come up with wacky headlines like, “Elephant Eats Endangered Bear Constellation.”

Challenge your students to think of ways to reuse and recyle their magazines. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Wrap small gifts in those colorful pages; fold origami-style art, make paper chains, design photo collages, decorate handmade stationery, mix and match animal heads and bodies, etc. Recycling activites come under earth science and art, right?

Remember, the part kids’ magazines play in your child’s education is limited only by your imagination. As you read, review, respond, rearrange and recycle them, you’re gaining far more from magazines than the publishers could have imagined. And once that happens, you’ll never look at kids’ magazine the same way again!