Whether you want to encourage your child to read, give them a fun quiet-time activity, or help them pursue an interest, children's magazines can be just the ticket. Buying magazines for your kids can add up quickly, so it's important to know what free options are available.
Free Print Magazines for Children
There aren't many free print magazines kids can get in the mail anymore, but there are a couple standouts. Kids love getting mail, so these magazines will bring joy twice - when they arrive and when they're read!
Kids' Guide to Helping Animals
The Kids' Guide to Helping Animals is a free, one-issue magazine from PETA Kids. It includes information about conservation, buying cruelty-free products, and animal-friendly field trips. Kids who are interested in cooking, nature, and animals will love the free stickers, fun facts, and recipes.
LEGO Life Magazine
Kids who love LEGOs, are creative, or just like popular shows, movies, and characters will love LEGO Life Magazine. You can sign up online to get four issues per year geared toward kids ages 5 to 9. Fun features include comic strips with your favorite LEGO characters like LEGO Ninjago, games and activities you can complete on the pages, and pictures of cool LEGO creations by kids from all around the world. Preview the magazine for free by clicking the link on the LEGO Life Magazine signup page.
Free Online Children's Magazines
As the world looks to reduce waste and protect the environment, many print magazines are switching to online-only, or digital issues. This means you can find tons more free online magazines than print magazines for kids.
Highlights Magazine Free Digital Download
Highlights Magazine is one of the most iconic magazines for kids ages 6 to 12. Head to the App Store to get one full free issue when you download the free app. This Highlights Digital Magazine welcome issue features all the same fun you're used to in their print magazines including stories and poems, crafts and recipes, and puzzles.
Kids Discover Online
Kids Discover Online is an excellent online resource where elementary and middle-school children can learn about all kinds of science and social studies topics, from rivers to butterflies or the American Revolution. The free version gives you access to 30 units with 200 topics, or articles. While you won't find all the fun features of their print magazines, Kids Discover Online includes much of the same material as the print magazine articles.
National Geographic Kids
The free online content from National Geographic Kids is extensive. There are educational articles on dozens of countries around the world, animals, and planets, all with fun photos. Aimed at kids ages 6 and older, this magazine is a great option for learning and fun. You can even access a Magazine Extras section where you'll find a few stories pulled right from the most recent National Geographic Kids print magazine issue.
Sports Illustrated Kids
If you have children ages 8 to 14 who are sports fans, look no further than the Sports Illustrated for Kids website. Kids can get an analysis of recent games, forecasts about next season, and fun sports trivia or games. It's all free, and your son or daughter will love getting caught up on the latest sports news. Check out the Kid Reporter section to find articles about sports written by kids.
Scholastic News Online
If you're interested in your children staying up to date on the latest news in an age-appropriate way, Scholastic News Online is a great resource. The online magazine covers politics, history, fun trivia, and the environment in a kid-friendly way. The website features one free magazine article for each grade from first through sixth. Teachers can also sign up to try one print issue for free with each student in their class by ordering enough for everyone then writing "cancel" on this invoice if they don't want to continue the subscription.
Scholastic We the People
Scholastic Magazines offers a free online magazine called We the People that focuses on all aspects of American government in kid-friendly terms. You can opt for the 4th through 6th grade version or the 7th through 10th grade version. Each story is set up in a digital magazine spread that looks like a print magazine. Timelines, fun graphics, stories about kids interacting with government, and even a quiz are some of the great features of this free, education online magazine for kids.
The Smithsonian is a network of incredible museums, and they also share knowledge with all ages online. Smithsonian Kids gives your children access to Animal Cams from the National Zoo, information about insects, articles about innovation, and much more. With games, activities, quizzes, and articles just like their print magazines, kids will never get bored Smithsonian Kids!
Spider Magazine Free Sample Issue
Kids ages 6 to 9 who love reading and literature can check out a free sample issue of Spider Magazine online. There are no ads in this magazine and it features stories, poems, activities, and vivid artwork created by professional children's authors and illustrators. Just click the "sample issue" link from the subscription page and you can browse one entire 40-page issue for free.
Girls of all ages who are homeschooled will love the free Back-to-Homeschool Back Issues Online. All the content is written by other homeschool girls and there are about 11 back issues you can read for free online. Features include recipes, games, serial stories, and educational articles. Each issue features 35 to 40 pages filled with fun and learning for girls, by girls.
Sample of Animal Wellness Magazine
Older kids ages eight and up who love animals might enjoy a free sample of Animal Wellness Magazine. You'll get one issue which may address everything from pet gift ideas and pet care to pet medical concerns. Child readers may learn how to train pets and how to keep them healthy. Each issue is full of great information, resources, tips, and adorable animal photos to keep your future veterinarian engaged.
More Places to Find Free Kids' Magazines
Each community has unique organizations and businesses that may offer free magazines to kids. Keep your eyes peeled when you're out in town to see if you can find any in your area or explore the many online resources now available to those with internet access.
- Local library: Libraries often have magazines that can be checked out and then returned or enjoyed on-site. You can also ask your librarian for last year's issues when they are clearing the shelves to make room for this year's issues.
- Family literacy centers: If there is a local family literacy center in your area, you may find that they have free magazines and other no-cost resources for family learning available.
- Magazine swap. You may already have a magazine swap in your area, but if you don't, you can start one! Simply implement a system to trade magazines with other families once your kids are finished with them. This is a definite win-win, as it helps save trees and money.
- The Internet Archive: The Internet Archive is a nonprofit that provides a free digital library to the general public. In their Kid's Magazines section you can access hundreds of out-of-print children's magazine issues like Totally Fox Kids or old issues of popular magazines like National Geographic Kids and Time for Kids.
Fun With Free Kids' Magazines
When you have free magazines handy, both in print and online, you can always have a budget-friendly boredom-buster. No-cost magazines allow kids to learn about a huge variety of topics, play games, work puzzles, and connect with their world. When they're done enjoying the magazine, kids can pass their issues on to other children or use them for arts and crafts projects.