Magazines “For the World’s Most Important People…” The New Crop of Children’s Magazines. A Mr. Magazine™ Musing.November 10, 2014
The launch of the latest new children’s magazine: Peppa Pig started me thinking about the importance of creating second and third screens for children. It’s not a new idea; Sesame Street has done it for years by linking its television program on national public television together with many successful magazines and movies.
In a sweeping gesture of digital omnipotence; many seers in the kingdom of publishing have said that children aren’t reading print anymore; they’re spending all their time on tablets and other digital outlets, but it would seem the rebellious subjects over at Redan Publishing would beg to differ.
This year alone, they’ve launched Sophia the First, re-launched Disney Junior and Sesame Street magazines; continued publishing Thomas & Friends, Strawberry Shortcake, Disney Princess and many others.
I have two grandchildren; one almost seven and the other a three-year-old and both of them are avid television and tablet viewers and users like the rest of their digital native generation. So what caught my attention about Peppa Pig magazine was the intriguing invitation to parents that was between its covers:
Need more Peppa time but away from the TV? Need to keep your Peppa fan busy, entertained, and fuel that bubbling imagination? This magazine is for you! We’ve got great ‘together’ activities, stories, recipes, crafts and more.
In my mind, there was no doubt, this was a call-to-arms for parents; a plea to join forces with the creativity and imagination that only an ink on paper product can physically instill in your child, not to mention the parent/child bonding, where the only thing separating the small lap from the large lap is that tactile magazine. This is where we see the power of the printed word and the interactivity between grandparent, parent, child and magazine come alive. This is where the magazine industry as a whole can see the advantage and possibilities of magazines becoming a second or third screen in the land of children’s entertainment.
The time my grandchildren spend engaging with magazines and then relating that information with what’s on the tablet or on television is amazing. Peppa Pig is a standout for me because of what an avid watcher my almost three-year-old grandson is of the program. Throw in a book and now a magazine of his favorite pig? He’ll be in hog heaven. He will now be able to flip actual pages along with the program.
And it’s not just publishers in the United States; in the U.K., a company called Luma Works recently began publishing a monthly children’s magazine called Storytime. The magazine is jam-packed with famous fairytales, adventure and all kinds of talking animals and monsters. It’s an amazing and extremely interactive magazine that will have children and parents alike involved and captivated.
Highlights for Children has: Highlights Hello – a magazine “aimed strictly at babies and toddlers”, Highlights High Five (My grandchild’s favorite magazine so far) – for ages 2-6 and “designed to spark children’s natural curious and creative natures and” its traditional Highlights magazine for children 6-12.
Christine Cully – Highlights editor – believes that children are the most important facets of their audience and all of the magazines they publish are geared toward that belief. She always ends her emails with “…for children are the world’s most important people.” Indeed they are.
My suggestion is that anyone who questions the future of print takes a look at these children’s magazines. Whether they’re print-only, a second or third screen or even the hundredth screen, doesn’t matter, but what does is showing the children of this world that we do care about them and their wants and needs. I believe if we abandon print and that tactile relationship that provides our children with the different sizes, feels, different types of paper and typography and, provides interactivity at the same time; if we abandon that, we cannot expect the children to create that. And being able to experience all of those sensations can be vital to the wholeness of a child’s environment.
So, don’t give up hope…ever, and thanks to the folks at Bauer, Highlights, Redan and the many other children’s magazine publishers, for since the dawn of the digital age, they have added more print magazines in their stable aimed at children of every age.
And for those of you who may have thought reading material for the digital native generation had disappeared; do me a favor, go to the newsstands and pick up a copy of one of the magazines mentioned in this article and put it in front of your child and see what happens.
I would love to hear from you on their reaction…