super cool kids magazines
September 7, 2007 9:35 AM   Subscribe

What are some cool kids magazines?

I remember someone getting me a magazine subscription to National Geographic for kids when I was in elementary school, and was SO excited just get mail, and have something come just for me.

So my nephew's birthday is coming up (the big 8!) and I was thinking of getting him a magazine subscription for a year. He likes cars (obsessed), whales, and playing the piano. I doubt there are any magazines that focus on just those, but what are some super exciting kids magazines I can look into for a boy who just started the 3rd grade?
posted by raztaj to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Know magazine is great, as are ASK and Spider. We get Know and used to get ladybug - lots of fun.
posted by GuyZero at 9:43 AM on September 7, 2007

I can tell you avoid National Geographic for Kids. Our brood has gotten gift subscriptions of it in the past, and we've been pretty disappointed by it. Too many ads for our taste. Boy's Life, perhaps?
posted by jquinby at 9:45 AM on September 7, 2007

Oh, for nature stuff, we like Your Big Backyard.
posted by jquinby at 9:46 AM on September 7, 2007

If he likes cars, get him a regular adult car magazine like Car and Driver or Automobile. All of the stats and etc. will be kind of abstract to him, but it feels good just to spout them off, the same way that it feels good as a kid to memorize the BA and RBI of your favorite team. I remember being that age and pouring over my dad's auto magazines, even the weird-ass trade ones he brought home (I would recommend against getting your nephew a subscription to Die Cut Gasket Monthly, unless he really wants to talk about semi-permiable tolerances in cork).

He might also like, as I did, comic books. I had subscriptions all through my childhood and LOVED it when they came in the mail. They're pretty cheap, and you can get 'em staggered so that he gets a couple a month. I recommend the Ultimate Spiderman line, since it's aimed at young teens (and a precocious kid could pick it up pretty easily).
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 AM on September 7, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, guys!

Question for klangklangston: this might be a dumb question, but do adult car magazines (Car & Driver or Automobile) have half naked ladies in them? His parents would not be cool with that. If not, then it's a sure bet that would make him content.
posted by raztaj at 9:57 AM on September 7, 2007

Oh, I know . . . I know!! Get him a subscription to Cricket! The same publisher produces Ask, recommended above.

And the suggestions about comic books, as well as the suggestion to avoid Nat'l Geo Kids, strike me as correct. Kids is nowhere near as cool as the old Nat'l Geo World was, and who doesn't love comic books?
posted by deejay jaydee at 9:59 AM on September 7, 2007

Also, I believe that Know, ASK and Spider do not run ads at all. And if you want a great magazine about Canadian history for kids, check out Kayak which is super-slick and totally awesome. But Canadian history may not be your thing. For the grown-ups check out Kayak's questionably named big brother The Beaver.
posted by GuyZero at 10:08 AM on September 7, 2007

I bought my then-5-year-old nephew subscriptions to Chirp Magazine (ages 3- 6). Now that he's six, I get him Chickadee Magazine (ages 6-9). He loves it. I'll be getting him Owl Magazine (ages 9 - 13) once he gets older. There are no ads and the knock-knock jokes are actually kind of funny.
posted by KathyK at 10:09 AM on September 7, 2007

Oops, here's the link.
posted by KathyK at 10:10 AM on September 7, 2007

Response by poster: Also, those of you with kids who read 'Highlights' - how do they like it? It was the bees knees in my days. Have things changed?
posted by raztaj at 10:11 AM on September 7, 2007

Ranger Rick is a good nature-oriented magazine for kids of that age. It's recommended for ages 7 and up.

Our kids started with Wild Animal Baby, moved up to Click and Your Big Backyard, and next up is Ranger Rick. They love these kinds of magazines, and best of all, they are "sneaky learning."
posted by greenmagnet at 10:22 AM on September 7, 2007

Another vote for the Cricket/Spider/Ladybug/Ask/etc family of magazines. Always really well put together, with an eye toward diversity but no discernable agenda other than great stories and art.

Also I've heard good things about Stone Soup, but my kid's a little young for it yet I think, so I haven't checked it out.
posted by rikschell at 10:45 AM on September 7, 2007

Raztaj— No, Car and Driver and Automobile are both aimed at serious car lovers and collectors. Instead of drooling over babes, they're drooling over torque ratios and and engine displacement.

No, the reason that his parents might not like them is because your nephew will be asking them why the drive a Taurus instead of a Lotus.
posted by klangklangston at 10:51 AM on September 7, 2007

Seconding that Ranger Rick is a great magazine.
posted by misha at 10:56 AM on September 7, 2007

I dropped in to recommend Cricket, but I see I've been beaten to it, so I'll just chime in and say that I loved it as a kid.
posted by emmastory at 11:14 AM on September 7, 2007

Thirding Ranger Rick. I remember getting it when I was a kid, and I loved it. I still remember weird little animal facts I learned from RR *mumblety* years ago.
posted by tigerbelly at 11:19 AM on September 7, 2007

KathyK - Chirp has been running full page ads in the back of the magazine for the past year or so. Ads for "Dora the Exporer DVDs" and "The Backyardigans DVDs" etc. It bugs me quite a bit, because that was one of the attractions for me (as a parent)
posted by Nodecam at 11:38 AM on September 7, 2007

MAD for Kids.

You'll be the kid's hero. It's very well done. Also seconding comic books. I've researched and written articles about kids and reading and many experts say it's not as important what kids read as it is that they develop a love for reading in general. Funny keeps their interest very effectively.
posted by Camofrog at 12:22 PM on September 7, 2007

I remember thinking Highlights was sooo lame when I was a wee one (I'm 20 now). Loved the Chickadee/Owl etc. magazines. Owl would be the one most appropriate for his age.
posted by ITheCosmos at 1:03 PM on September 7, 2007

The one thing that I'd add about Car and Driver is while they don't have half naked ladies inside in regards to article content or ads like other car mags (for example, import ones like Sport Compact Car, etc), sometimes the letters to the editor or even the articles may have some adult-type content in them - curse words, adult-type references (sometimes sexual), etc. So your call on whether the 8 yr old is up for that.
posted by JibberJabber at 2:31 PM on September 7, 2007

In addition to ASK, our 8 year old also loves MAKE, which is not strictly a kid's magazine at all, but it is pretty cool to look at, if you don't mind having to explain to someone exactly why you are not going to be building that particular potato shooter out of a stun-gun. We did make some of the Howtoons stuff from there, however.
posted by coevals at 2:32 PM on September 7, 2007 [1 favorite]

As a kid, I loved Kids Discover.
posted by splendid animal at 8:45 PM on September 7, 2007

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