If you’re the parent of a tween, then you know that it’s not the easiest time in a child’s life. Between the ages of 9 and 13, kids go through a tremendous amount of changes physically, mentally, and even socially. What with moving up from elementary to middle school, going through dramatic growth spurts, taking on more extra-curricular activities, getting more homework, and becoming more familiar with the internet, it’s no wonder tweens are known for having mood swings.
But the tween years are also an amazing time for kids to develop an authentic sense of self. It’s during these years that students begin to hone their interests and talents and try on new identities. An inspiring teacher or exciting project in school might even lead to an eventual college major or career path. It’s no surprise that tweens have voracious minds for media and want to learn as much about their favorite topics as possible. However, they are more likely to drift away from reading books and toward videos and online content.
Magazines are a perfect solution to encourage tween to read high-quality content. They can be stashed in the car for trips to soccer or ballet practice, or roll up easily to fit into a backpack without weighing down a spine already overloaded with textbooks. Articles only take a few minutes to read, so busy tweens don’t have to try to fit an uninterrupted hour of reading into their days. And the topics of magazines for tweens can be tailored to their interests, suiting a future scientist, historian, poet, or politician!
Here’s a selection of award-winning, ad-free magazines for tweens that will inspire their growing minds:
This time-tested literary magazine has been a favorite with tweens for 45 years. With breathtaking illustrations, an array of short stories in all possible genres, and a selection of interesting nonfiction, poetry, comics, and activities, there is something for everyone here. CRICKET is perfect for kids who are aspiring writers or artists themselves. Not only can they take inspiration from what they see on the pages, they can even submit their own work to the ‘Cricket League’ contests held in every issue. Tweens will take pride in seeing their poetry, stories, or pictures in print.
Regular features include:
- Letterbox, where tweens can submit their letters to the editors or their favorite bug characters
- Cricket Country/ Cricket and Ladybug, long-running comic strips featuring a colorful cast of bugs
- Ugly Bird’s Crossbird Puzzle
- Cricket League, a monthly art or writing contest
- Old Cricket Says, eclectic words of wisdom for young audiences. (Fun fact: for many years, this section was often written by famous author Lloyd Alexander.)
Do you know a young history buff who enjoys field trips to battlefields or is full of fun facts about Founding Fathers? That’s definitely a quality to nourish. COBBLESTONE magazine is an American history magazine for tweens that serves as a window to how Americans lived in the past. With famous photographs and drawings from the time, supplemented by modern-day cartoons by terrific artists, COBBLESTONE brings the past to life one fascinating topic at a time. Who knows? Maybe your young Civil War fanatic will find a new deep interest in Theodore Roosevelt or the history of the railroad in America!
Regular features in COBBLESTONE include:
- Did you Know?, eclectic fun facts relating to the theme of the issue
- In Other News, fun and newsworthy people or events associated with the issue’s theme
- Going Global, taking the themes of the issue and expanding them to worldwide events
- Say What?, exploring the origins of words and sayings
- Freeze Frame, a historic photo
- Your Letters, submissions from readers
- Spotlight On…, suggestions of historic sites that tweens can visit to learn more about the magazine topic
- Dr. D’s Mystery Hero, a short biography of a famous figure… without their name mentioned. (Kids who can’t guess the Mystery Hero’s identity can check at the back of the magazine)
- Just for Fun, a goofy caption contest
- A crossword puzzle
Tweens with a passion for STEM have more opportunities than ever before. With robotics and programming teams, it seems like it’s never been a better time for budding scientists. MUSE Magazine, though, shows a window into the work that real scientists around the world are doing, presenting cutting-edge news in a quirky, tween-friendly way. It’s not a dry scientific journal or textbook. Instead, it gets into the messy parts of science– all of the mistakes, the unexpected discoveries, the gross parts, the ‘back to the drawing board’ failures. You might even meet some professionals, like chefs and firefighters, who use science and math skills in surprising ways! This may be the first stepping stone to an amazing career in STEM for your Tween.
Regular MUSE features include:
- Muse Mail, featuring sometimes strange and hilarious letters from readers
- Parallel U: A comic strip featuring the adventures of a group of tweens in an alternate dimension
- Muse News, presenting weird stories from the headlines… and one fake article, which readers must guess
- Science@work, profiling real people who use science in their jobs
- Photo Op, showing off amazing photos
- Mini Myth, a comic strip retelling of a traditional myth related to the theme of the issue
- Your Tech, investigating how smartphones and other household devices can be used to make great discoveries
- Q&A, an interview with a real scientist
- Hands-On: Experiments that kids can do at home
- Do the Math, presenting a mathematical conundrum
- Art Space, where science and art intersect
- Contest: An opportunity for tweens to submit their own work
- Last Slice, a funny finale to each issue
Whether your family are world travelers or you’ve never left your home town, FACES is the perfect magazine for tweens who want to learn more about the world around them! FACES visits different countries, cultures, and people across the globe in each themed issue. Some feature specific countries (like Iceland or Costa Rica), some center around cultures (indigenous tribes, Basque people), and some journey around the world (rivers of the world, dogs, etc). You’ll find authentic recipes, beautiful photos, informative articles, folk tales, interviews with locals, projects, and games.
Regular features of FACES include:
- High 5, a summary of the top 5 interesting takeaways of that issue
- At a Glance, basic statistics about the places or people featured
- Critter Corner, featuring an animal that has something to do with the issue
- Where in the World? Guess the location of a picture taken with an issue of FACES
- Dear Kylie, a series of pen pal letters between a young girl named Kylie and people in other states and countries
- A Closer Look, fun facts about a specific place, activity, or topic
- Art Connection, an opportunity for tweens to create art inspired by the culture of that issue
- One Last Face/ Say What, a funny caption contest
- Your Turn, a craft activity or art template
- A crossword puzzle
- Fallen Quote, a word puzzle
- A monthly myth or legend