Pros: Educational, fascinating topics, entertaining brainteasers, hands-on activities, no ads, no repetition, for various ages
Cons: Expensive, only one topic per issue-may not interest child, short issues-only available by subscription
KIDS Discover magazine is an award-winning magazine for kids 6 - 12 years old. Even adults will enjoy reading and learning from this high quality magazine. KIDS Discover magazine publishes monthly and features interesting, easy-to-read explanations about a single topic. The magazine answers all the questions that kids have about their world. I have been reading the magazine since 1996.
Many schools subscribe to KIDS Discover and teachers use issues for unit studies and to encourage interest in reading. Parents and educators will appreciate that there is no advertising in the magazine. The magazine is written with the help of educators and professional consultants. KIDS Discover magazine also has an advisory board comprised of parents as well as children ages 3-14. Here's what kids can expect to find in issues.
Covers & Illustrations
Each issue has only 20 pages and that includes the front cover and back covers. Every cover is dramatic and colorful with a lively illustration or photography that captivates the young reader's interest. Large bold red question marks and exclamation points grab the reader's attention.
This month's dramatic cover is a photograph taken during an actual hurricane. Colorful descriptive words - Twisting, Turbulent, Torrential, Thunderous, Tumbling, Traumatic and Terrifying appear on the cover and help set the mood of the stories. Three cover stories are listed. Some issues have an additional small cartoon figure in the lower right hand corner to attract attention. No issue number or month is listed on covers.
Each issue covers a wealth of information on a new single fascinating topic. Topics are never repeated but back copies at $3.50/copy are available for many issues; a list is on the back cover. Kids never know what to expect in the next issue. There are detailed articles on Social Studies, Nature, Biographies and Geography among lots of other subjects. The magazine uses lively text and full-color photography as well as multiple illustrations, cartoons and diagrams to grab and hold children's attention. Intriguing Check It Out questions help develop and expand children's thinking skills.
For example, the current issue discusses Hurricanes. Children learn how a hurricane develops and how it ends. They learn weather terms such as Typhoons, Cyclones, Tropical Disturbances, Tropical Depressions & Tropical Storms and Hurricane Watches and Warnings. They also learn about weather instruments and Hurricane Hunters. The issue covers the destruction hurricanes causes - in particular hurricane Hugo. There is also another page with photos of destruction from other Monster Storms. Kids learn about the Saffir-Simpson rating scale of storm intensity through a colorful chart. And, kids learn how to Be Prepared for a hurricane. Check It Out asks the reader "How were hurricanes named before 1953?" And, "A few names are never used again. Do you know why and what any of those names are?"
There is a dramatic two-page center photograph of a sailboat blown half a mile over land through mangroves. Kids are encouraged to make a cloud in a jar, fill in answers to a Hurricane Crossword Puzzle, unscramble hurricane terminology and sequence illustrations of a leaning palm tree. As always there is also a reference for children and adult books on the topic. With the hurricane season approaching, this is a timely topic.
Other Recent Issues
I particularly like last month's issue on Ellis Island. The dramatic cover photograph of two young immigrant girls is done in sepia tone, as is the large center photograph of a group of immigrant children. Some of the most popular topics have been on the American Revolution, Ancient Greece, Pyramids and Rain Forests. I especially enjoyed the issue on the Solar System with its stunning illustrations, computer - generated views and photographs of celestial bodies moon landing shots and plant earth. There's a dramatic cross section of the sun, a colorful chart of the planets and a meteor, asteroid and comet chart. Activities include how to build a scale model of our solar system.
The two final pages of brainteasers help engross the child further with hands-on activities, games and puzzles. They challenge the child to apply the new information acquired in the issue to complete the puzzles and re-enforce learning in a fun way. They keep the child involved and thoroughly interested. The child learns while having fun. Answers are found on the back cover and in the text of the magazine. The activity pages are appealing, creatively illustrated and inviting for kids. Kids also get a sense of accomplishment from completing them. They encourage kids to read the issue carefully so they can fill in the answers. Many children will enjoy preparing the simple international recipes.
Articles are written with clear and simple explanations. Terms are defined and illustrated. The short stories use large print for younger readers to read easily. Cartoons, illustrations and descriptions of charts, diagrams and maps use smaller print for more advanced readers. There are lots of descriptive and colorful words used which hold readers' attention. Cartoons and cartoon clip art liven up issue and makes them kid-friendly to read. They also add humor to issues, which all kids respond to and enjoy. The magazine covers different aspects of each topic. Articles focus on information about which kids are really curious. For example, last month, kids learn that the blankets given to immigrants to sleep on in Ellis Island on were often infested with lice.
Non-readers will enjoy the numerous photographs and illustrations. An adult or older sibling can explain the content. Issues are geared to and, therefore, most enjoyed by children of elementary school age. Children of different ages can all read the articles; younger/early readers will need some adult supervision or help with the activities and recipes.
Some advanced readers as young as 5 or 6 may be able to read issues independently. Many early readers will need some adult help with vocabulary words. Advanced readers will be able to read issue independently. Children of varying ages and reading abilities will enjoy the lively topics, colorful illustrations and fun puzzles, games and projects. I recommend parents save back issue for future reference.
Publisher, Website, Awards
KIDS Discover magazine launched its first issue in 1991. The publisher is KIDS Discover. Previously the magazine published 10 issues a year. It now has over 500,000 subscribers. More than 100 issues have been published. Unfortunately, the magazine does not have an up and running Website yet which surprises me.
The magazine was an EdPress winner receiving the Golden Lamp Award for Highest Achievement (1999) in Children's Magazine Category and in 1996 and 1997 it received the Parents' Choice Gold Award. If you are not completely satisfied with your subscription, the magazine will refund all your money no matter how many issues your child has received. That's some guarantee!
I recommend this magazine to every child under 12 years old who can read. It makes learning fun for kids. It is a wonderful resource that supplements classroom learning. I especially appreciate that there are no ads and there is a money back guarantee. Topics are interesting to most children. Boys and girls of varying ages will enjoy reading issues so it is an especially great value for families. The activity pages are fun, creative and stimulating for kids of all ages. Our young patients are always reading our reception room copies. Many of them want to take home the issue for school reports.
One negative is that since each issue is on a single topic, if the topic doesn't interest your child, the issue won't either. I suggest you save those issues because your child's interest in the topic may change over the years as your child progresses in school.
I wish that each issue were longer. There is not enough space to cover each topic adequately - especially for an older child, but the magazine is a really good introduction to a particular topic. Additional resources for more information are always provided inside every issue.
Another negative is that a subscription is expensive. Cover issues of KIDS Discover cost $47.40. Discount subscriptions cost $24.95 - $26.95. I recently received an offer for 12 issues for $19.95, a saving of 52%. That comes to $1.66 an issue - not a bad deal. I also wish the magazine were available on newsstands.
If you have a child who's very curious about everything in the world, perhaps you might consider ordering a subscription to this magazine. If it doesn't suit your child, you'll get a complete refund no matter how many issues your child has read. The magazine is educational as well as entertaining and is an especially good value for the dollars spent.