Magazines make a great holiday gift for kids. They’re relatively inexpensive, encourage reading, require no wrapping or shipping, and keep giving pleasure all year long. This year, consider giving your young people a magazine to foster their natural scientific curiosity and their science literacy. Subscriptions also make great teacher gifts.
Here are some popular science-themed periodicals for kids of various ages:
Ranger Rick: The granddaddy of kids’ science/nature mags. I used to get this when I was a kid back in the 70’s, and my daughter gets it now. Ranger Rick is an award-winning publication of the National Wildlife Federation; target age is 7 -14. This is a clean, high-quality magazine that emphasizes nature, animals, and ecology. Excellent photography, accurate articles. In significant contrast to its competitor NGKids, Ranger Rick is not commercialized: no promotions of pop culture movies or games, in fact NO ADVERTISING at all. Highly recommend.
The National Wildlife Federation also publishes similar themed magazines for younger kids:
- Your Big Backyard for ages 4-7
- Wild Animal Baby for ages 2-4
Kids Discover: Another periodical with super-high quality content. Kids Discover is a little different: each issue features a single nonfiction topic in the natural or social sciences and explores it in depth. Not just a nature magazine! Excellent photography and uncluttered layout. For ages 7-12. Highly recommend.
Nat Geo Kids (NGKids): Produced by the famed explorers and photographers of National Geographic. For ages 6-14, you’ll find great photos in this snazzy kids’ magazine. Emphasis on animals, nature, ecology. My daughter enjoyed it for years. However, each issue typically has a feature article that ties in a promotion for a new movie or other pop culture thing–advertising disguised as news.
Nat Geo also publishes NG Little Kids for ages 3-6.
The following magazines I have not seen in person:
Cobblestone Publishing produces a variety of high-quality, no-advertising literary and science magazines for kids. A subscription to one of these would make a great teacher gift for the classroom. Here are their science offerings:
ODYSSEY believes that science is an exciting adventure, and that it can lead to a lifetime of scientific inquiry and satisfaction. That’s why each 52-page themed issue is packed with articles by acclaimed writers and scientists – information that talks “to” (and not “down to”) young readers. ODYSSEY helps children keep pace with the rapidly changing world of science by presenting its most exciting discoveries, and it prepares children for the challenges and rewards of the future.
ASK. For grades 2-5.
How did great scientists and thinkers get their start? By asking questions! Each themed issue of ASK invites newly independent readers to explore the world of science and ideas with topics that really appeal to kids: What makes wind? Where do colors come from? Were pirates real? Filled with lively, well-written articles, vivid graphics, activities, cartoons, and plenty of humor, ASK is science kids demand to read!
Click: Science for grades K-2
And the last magazine from the Cobblestone/Cricket group, Dig isn’t “science”, it’s Archeology and History for grades 5-9. Fun!
The Society for Science and the Public, which publishes Science News,also does an online version just for kids. Appropriately it’s called Science News for Kids. Sign up for their emails and you’ll always have an interesting article to discuss with your kids.