We love finding them in the mailbox, reading them, playing detective with them, crafting with them, and learning with them.
When they arrive in the day’s mail, it’s like a getting a little gift, just for you. And when we sit down to read a magazine, it never feels like a chore; my kids–all of them–really love the freedom to flip through the pages, finding what interests them and moving past the ‘boring’ stuff.
And when I give my kids the ‘go’ to use our magazines to cut, rip, tape, and use for anything they want, they always seem game.
There are tons of creative, crafty, and fun ways to throw in some sneaky learning using magazines, but I’ve grabbed a few of my favorites to highlight because this time of year we always seem to end up with an over-abundance of magazines, mailers, and catalogs coming in each day.
So if you do, too, then set some aside to use for some fun learning when the snow comes in January, February, and March. . .
Here’s the skinny:
- Magazine Story Starters: I love having ‘idea cards’ on hand for anything, especially writing, drawing, or storytelling prompts.
So if Maddy, Owen, and Cora are rammy, bored, or cranky, sometimes I’ll ask them to work on our Story Starters.
Story Starters are–very simply–interesting, thought-provoking, funny, beautiful, or unusual pictures on index cards. And they’re kept together in one happy place, together, for times when we need to kick-start our ideas.
. . . and Cora found a vacuum?
Our Story Starter cards–thought-provoking, fun, unusual–and great to have on hand.
We usually just flip through the magazines, chatting and cutting pictures as we go. And we glue them onto cards. That’s it. Simple, fun, and gets the creative juices going.
- Alphabet Books: I loved creating Alphabet Books with my students as a way to really make the letters of the alphabet come alive.
Maddy, Owen, and Cora started them a while back and only recently rediscovered them–only to find that the books were not completely finished.
Alphabet Books are books that children create and personalize.
That’s it. The good, old-fashioned ABC book with ‘Aa’ on the left page and pictures of a-words on the right side. Magazines are perfect for Alphabet Books because kids have so many photos at their fingertips.
- Mini-Me Collage: During our first-ever Smart Summer Challenge, we re-invented our Everyday Name Books by creating Mini-Me Collages on the covers.
We used magazines to cut out pictures of anything and everything that reminded them of themselves–objects they loved, colors they adored, foods they’d eat any day of the week, and places they dreamed of visiting. But they had to be tiny because the Mini Me collages had to fit on their tiny Everyday Name Books.
And in my house, tiny = fun. Mini = magical. So I try to stick with the stuff that works.
- Magazine Hunt: Magazine Hunts are fun, sneaky ways of getting kids to ‘play’ with magazines, paying close attention to the text features that make magazines unique and different than other genres.
The idea of a Magazine Hunt is simply to use a magazine–old or new, it doesn’t matter–along with the set of Magazine Hunt cards to ‘hunt’ for specific parts of the magazine. Not only do Magazine Hunts get kids to look at magazines in slightly different ways, but they also make reading a magazine a much more active process.
My kids really love ’em. Which means I do, too.
I have always loved magazines–as a child and even now as an adult–there’s something special about flipping through a magazine, reading the articles, and enjoying the photos, grabbing bits of this and that in a short sitting that I think some people (like my kids and I) really dig. I’m always looking for new ways to use mag’s since we have so many around here; if you are, too, please check out the Magazine Creative Challenge.
A handful of my buddies are participating, and we’d love for you to join us! Please check out the participants’ Challenge posts and then link up your own!
Child Central Station , kids in the studio, Teach Mama, The Imagination Tree,Childhood101, Teach Preschool, hands on as we grow, Artful Parent, Paint Cut Paste, A Mom With A Lesson Plan, Toddler Approved, Kiwi Crate, Art 4 Little Hands, Red Ted Art, The Chocolate Muffin Tree, Imagination Soup,Michelles Charm World, Messy Preschoolers, Tinker Lab, Mommy Labs, Putti Prapancha, sunhats and wellie boots
Many thanks to Rachelle Doorley of TinkerLab for organizing and hosting this Challenge (and many others!).