Summer is upon us and while I always picture long days of my kids lazing around and slurping watermelon juice from their arms and amusing themselves with nothing more than chalk and bubble wands, I know that sometimes we all need a little bit of help in the way of diversions.
I loved magazine subscriptions as a kid and especially after a year when we so often needed screens to play the role of caregiver and teacher and friend, I’ve been eager to kindle a bit of love for magazines.
To pass the time during long car rides or summer thunderstorms or anytime that summer heat calls for stillness, here are four beautiful kids magazines for jump-starting the imagination, satisfying curiosity, and challenging the status quo.
Illustoria Magazine, now published by McSweeney’s, was founded as a “high-quality print publication for creative kids & their grownups to slow down and enjoy stories, art, and activities as a counter to our fast-paced, digital age.”
Every Illustoria issue is filled with interviews, comics, projects, stories, games, jokes and recipes and each one is a visual and creative feast. A huge range of kid and adult contributors each lend their unique perspective and aesthetic to fantastically rich pages. Designed for all ages, but especially for kids 6-12. Head to McSweeney’s to place an order. Follow @Illustoria_Mag on Instagram.
Ditto Kids is on a mission to help parents, educators, and caregivers guide children on the journey toward being actively anti-racist. Ditto Kids combines decolonized history and culture with anti-bias educational goals to help adults tackle big subjects with little kids in an age-appropriate way. Each issue explores a different country and culture and teaches children and caregivers the skills to identify and address inequity.
Ditto is filled with activities, cheerful worksheets and conversation prompts. This might not be a magazine that little kids are likely to pour over independently, but it’s an indispensable companion for parents and caregivers navigating crucial conversations. Issue Two, which focuses on cooperation and country of Mali, dropped earlier this month. Designed for kids age 3-12 and their caregivers. Follow @DittoKidsMagazine on Instagram.
Bravery celebrates trailblazing women who are diverse in ethnicity, race, ability, background, and interests. The beautifully designed issues are full of STEAM-centered craft ideas, recipes, experiments, and activities. (Parent warning: This might be household specific, but while extremely beautiful to behold, the gorgeous imagery and polished projects can sometimes prove challenging for kiddos wanting to recreate *exactly* what they see in the beautiful spreads.)
Aspirational or no, there’s lots to like here. Issue 15 dropped in late May and tells the story of abstract painter and activist, Bernice Bing. Designed for kids of every gender, ages 5-12. Follow @Bravery_Mag on Instagram.
Anorak (designed for ages 6-12) and Dot (designed for ages 5 and under) magazines from the UK are both longtime favorites around here. Each issue is made with longevity in mind and is designed to be savored and returned to again and again. Filled with jokes (my kids’ very favorites), engaging images, and imaginative language, both magazines foster curiosity and creativity that meet kids right where they are. Current issues cover sharks and insects and past issues cover wide-ranging themes from kindness to museums to mammoths!
Anorak and Dot are both printed on recycled paper using vegetable ink. Spanish versions are also available. Plus, just in time for summer travel, they’ve launched a new podcast. Anorak: The Happy Podcast For Kids is now streaming wherever you listen to your podcasts! Follow @AnorakMag on Instagram.
Other current favorites to share? Please do!
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