When Jim and I were racking our brains to find good gifts for our godchildren, we started talking about gifts we loved as children. And while the so-strongly-desired Pretty In Pink Barzbie and the Stroller Bowler both hold a place in our holiday memories, we both came up with the same absolute favorite gift: magazines.
We both had grandparents who subscribed us to magazines like Cricket, Ranger Rick, Highlights, and National Geographic World (the precursor to National Geographic Kids). Later on we received Smithsonian, Discover, and National Geographic. Our memories of enjoying these magazines and even the content of the articles lasted so much longer than almost all of the other gifts.
My friend Michael* reminded me of Contact Magazine (aka Contact Kids connected to the kids' science show 3-2-1 Contact; publication suspended in 2001) and its monthly BASIC programs. Oh, the warm geeky memories that brings back of my TI-99.
So far, we've stuck to the Cricket family of magazines as gifts. They're good reading with a variety of interest areas. Plus, they're listed by age group, which makes selection a lot easier. We've given Click (science), Ladybug (literary) and Ask (science). Cricket's Appleseed (themed issues with an in-depth look at a single topic) has growing allure as the kids get older.
If you want more than a little subscription notification card to give, you can buy a single copy of the magazine (preferably not one that will overlap with the subscription) and have something larger to wrap up. This gift may not get a huge response initially, but it will probably be a winner in the long run. Every kid loves getting mail!
So, if you want something lead free and curiosity-inspiring, you might want to browse the magazine aisle for some great gift ideas. Magazines also can be donated to a local library booksale, doctor's office waiting room, or school when your finished, or they can be shared with friends, so they can be low-clutter gifts (YAY!).
As for the grown-up magazine-loving geeks in our household, we recommend ReadyMade, American Heritage of Invention and Technology, WIRED, MIT's Tech Review, 2600, MAKE, and Parents.
What magazines do you recommend?
*Michael (who was chatting with me while I wrote this post) wrote some great suggestions for the 12+ crowd at his blog.
***This is the unsolicited, independent opinion of Baby Toolkit. (c) 2007