Getting snail mail doesn't really mean as much to children today as it did back when we were kids — but with the right magazine subscription, a trip to the mail box can once again become exciting.
Not only that, magazines can help get kids psyched about reading, too. The thrill of flipping through a fresh magazine can totally drive a new reader to practice words and learn about topics they might not normally be exposed to.
For young readers who want to be entertained and learn something new, here are our favorite kids' magazine subscription picks.
1. National Geographic Kids
National Geographic Kids is designed for children ages 6 to 14. The magazine is published by the National Geographic Society and has been in publication since September 1975. With each issue, young readers enjoy a wide array of regular features such as "Amazing Animals," "Weird but True," "Cool Inventions" and "Guinness World Records." For the younger set, there’s National Geographic Little Kids, which targets preschool children ages 3 to 6. A one-year subscription (10 issues) for either magazine costs $15.
Next Up: Muse
Updated by Sarah Long on 4/18/17
This magazine, launched in January 1997, features nine cartoon characters known as the Muses. The articles expose kids ages 9 and up to history, science and the arts. Regular Muse content includes fun facts, a question-and-answer page and fun underlying themes such as extraterrestrial life, urban legends, pirates and so much more. A one-year subscription (nine issues) is $34.
Next Up: ChopChop
The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed this award-winning, non-profit quarterly magazine for kids ages 5 to 12. ChopChop is filled with fabulous recipes, interactive games and educational food facts and is intended to inspire and teach kids to cook real food with their families. A Scholastic pick for best magazine for elementary school and preschool students, ChopChop received the 2014 Parents' Choice Gold Award and was named the James Beard 2013 Publication of the Year. A one-year subscription (four issues) is $15, and each subscription bought helps pay for a subscription to families in need.
Next Up: Highlights
Who doesn't remember reading Highlights magazine — whether at home or at the dentist's office? Every 40-page issue helps children explore exciting new topics, investigate cool subjects and learn about our wonderful world. Highlights is ideal for ages 6 to 12 and features stories, puzzles, games, riddles, science experiments and craft projects. High Five, the preschool version of Highlights, is intended for little ones ages 2 to 6. A one-year subscription (12 issues) is $40.
Next Up: Time for Kids
5. Time for Kids
Time For Kids, a division magazine of Time, brings eight pages of news and activities to children. Time for Kids is available for four different age groups. The Grade K-1 edition is theme-based for young readers. The Grade 2 edition challenges kids' critical-thinking skills. The Grades 3-4 edition encourages children to better understand the world. And the Grades 5-6 edition engages kids to become active as informed citizens. A one-year subscription (28 issues) is $30.
Next Up: Ranger Rick
6. Ranger Rick
Liz Rampy, a kindergarten teacher in South Carolina, says that her students always enjoy Ranger Rick, a nature magazine that has been in publication since 1967. The award-winning magazine promotes environmental activism and is bursting with spectacular photos, fabulous stories and awesome activities. Ranger Rick appeals to children ages 7 to 12, and Ranger Rick Jr. is for kids 4 to 7. A one-year subscription (10 issues) costs $15, and all profits support the National Wildlife Federation.
Next Up: Popstar!
Tweens adore this positive teen gossip entertainment magazine. Popstar! is often the first to introduce budding new stars to eager fans and it always thrills readers with coveted double-sided posters of the world's most popular teen celebrities. A one-year subscription (12 issues) of Popstar! is $25.
Next Up: Stone Soup
8. Stone Soup
Founded in 1973, Stone Soup features the creative stories, poems and artwork of children from all over the world. This unique literary magazine was once referred to as "The New Yorker of the 8-to-13 set." Each 48-page issue, published by The Children's Art Foundation, also includes photos of the young contributors. A one-year subscription (six issues) is $37.
Next Up: Zootles
There are few things 3- to 6-year-olds love more than animals. Zootles presents gorgeous photos, wonderful stories and silly cartoons that nurture a child's love of wildlife (and learning). Each issue focuses on one animal group and explores its habitat, anatomy, communications and social organization. Pullout pages offer games, puzzles and easy-to-do science projects and activities. Fellow magazine Zoobies is ideal for children 0 to 3, and Zoobooks targets kids 6 to 12. A one-year subscription (six issues) is $30.
Next Up: Ladybug
The read-aloud stories and poems in Ladybug Magazine are perfect for children ages 3 to 6 (and those who are ready to move up from Babybug Magazine). The award-winning periodical is written and illustrated by some of the world's best children's authors and artists. A one-year subscription (9 issues) of fantastic stories and adventures is $34.
Next Up: New Moon Girls
11. New Moon Girls
Girls are so much more than eye candy. They should be seen and heard. That's why moms and daughters alike love New Moon Girls. The advertising-free magazine skips diet tips and gossip columns in favor of content that encourages girls 8 and up to express their true inner voices. A one-year subscription to the paper or E-magazine (6 bi-monthly issues) is $56. New Moon's safe social network costs lets girls connect with peers around the world for just $4.99 per month.
Next Up: Cricket
For nearly 40 years, Cricket has brought high-quality fiction and non-fiction stories to the mailboxes of kids who want to know more about history, science, culture and the arts. Respected founder and editor-in-chief Marianne Carus believes that young readers (ages 9-14) will happily perfect the skill with "beautifully illustrated, lively, well-written, interesting stories… with a witty tone and a sense of humor." A one-year subscription is $34.
Next Up: Kazoo
Raising almost $175,000 on Kickstarter is nothing to sniff at, and that's how the new Kazoo magazine for girls got its wings. Creator Erin Bried, a former Condé Nast editor, got her project off the ground with the help of crowd-funding in 2016 — making Kazoo officially the most successful journalism Kickstarter campaign in history. So clearly, the world wants what Bried has envisioned for young girls everywhere: an empowering print magazine that will inspire girls from ages 5 to 10 to be smart, strong, fierce and true to themselves. A subscription to this quarterly print mag costs $50 a year in the U.S., with additional shipping charges for Canada and international orders.