Literacy Spot #26: Magazines

Kids and magazines

Immy seems to have inherited my enjoyment of magazines. Every now and then we will buy her The Wiggles magazine or an Angelina Ballerina magazine as a treat and she ‘reads‘ them over and over again. She likes us to read the stories to her and to make up her own from the illustrations, there is lots of talking about familiar characters and story events, and in the case of The Wiggles magazines, some talk of real people and events including remembering her own experiences at Wiggles concerts or related content she has seen on the few Wiggles DVDs we own. Overall, there is lots of talking about, imagining, recollecting and involvement with text.

Another way to encourage engagement with literacy through magazines is by investigating magazines related to a topic or theme that your child is really interested in – there are titles about science, cars, motorbikes, gardening, art, fishing, crafts, computers, photography and more – and often specialised magazines, although written for adults, can be useful tools for children who are really passionate about a topic.

However children do not need specialised magazines of any kind to engage with them as a form of literacy. I have a stack of outdated parenting and women’s magazines which Immy and I often delve into to find pictures to cut out for scissor practice. Most recently we have been making the pictures we choose into little story books with collaged illustrations.

Magazine activities

Immy will work on one while I work on another and mostly our stories are very silly but they are lots of fun to create.

Magazine activities for kids

Do you have any favourite literacy based magazine activities to do with your children?

What is Childhood 101′s Literacy Spot? It is a weekly reminder of the importance of young children learning playfully as each week I share one idea for playing around with literacy, taken from my many years working as an early childhood teacher. Visit the previous Literacy Spot posts for more fun ideas for playing with literacy.


  1. Laura Mize says:

    I love to use magazines during speech therapy with toddlers and preschoolers since the pictures are often more visually appealing than books. Clothing catalogues are wonderful for teaching the gender words/concepts of “boys” and “girls” and then to teach the gender pronouns he/she and him/her. I like these kinds of pictures since the children are often traditional (or stereotypic!) representations of males vs. females and are easier for children with developmental language delays to understand and identify. Thanks for a great topic! Laura

  2. I have done collages with magazine pictures – as we cut and paste we will discuss – big and small – boy and girl – shape – colour etc. For some projects we will label what pictures we use – like food charts and favorites charts.

  3. We love cutting out the letters to make their names or any other words they fancy. Also cutting out the pictures for gluing is a common activity.

  4. We have used pictures from magazines to make story cubes.

    We also use pictures from magazines to mindmap (I will have a blog post coming up shortly on this – we are in the process of making another one now)

  5. Oops, I made a typo with my website in my previous comment. This time my comment should link back to my blog.

  6. I love magazines too – and it’s especially enjoyable to have a subscription with a regular arrival in the letter box. I’ve actually been hunting for a good kids magazine to subscribe to so that Ina can enjoy something arriving for her regularly, but they’re not easy to come by in Australia, apart from the branded ones like the Wiggles, Peppa Pig, etc, but I’m not really keen on the merchandising aspect of them. I think they have a few in the States, and we’ve been able to buy a couple of issues of the excellent Anorak magazine online (from the UK). I would LOVE to see a high quality, Australian, literary kids magazine! If anyone knows of any, please let me know!

  7. Kristy @ houseofprowse says:

    Lots of great ideas there and a good excuse for me to keep that pile of magazines growing! Thanks again!

  8. Seraphimsp says:

    LOVE this idea Christie. I have so many old magazines and I think Mr Small and I would have such a nice time. You know I’m not a crafty mama but the idea of weaving in the storytelling is irresistible!

  9. I just got my daughter a few subscriptions to magazines because she was showing a lot of interest in mine. So far, all we do is read through them, but I cannot wait to use them for projects in the future. I love the story books, making them with pictures from magazines is such a fun idea.

  10. Hi Christie, this is so lovely. While my toddler is not yet at a magazine reading stage, she does enjoy looking at the pictures and we use it for alphabet practice. I don’t get that many magazines now but we do get a lot of free mags and so I love the idea of using them for scissor practice too.Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Beck O'Neil says:

    My 4yr old son is Thomas the Tank Engine crazy and loves to make up his own stories. We then flip through some Thomas the Tank Engine Magazines and he cuts out the pictures to suit his story. Thomas the Tank has also helped him learn his numbers – he had no interest at all until we started asking him what number each engine was as we read his stories. Within 2 weeks of doing this he knew all his numbers. This is also how he learnt his colours as all the engines are different colours. I find the easiest way to teach a child is to use their own interests to motivate them into learning.

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