Are you looking for a great project that will keep your kids busy, let them express their creativity, and learn a little bit in the process? Why not help them create a magazine?
Flickr creative commons image courtesy of Olivander.
Writing a magazine comes with many perks for your kids - learning to express themselves in writing; set and adhere to deadlines; accomplish goals and much more. Plus, a magazine lets your kids connect with others in a unique way.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help them publish their first periodical.
Time: As long as you want! A minimum would be about an hour.
Age: 5 and older
Level: Depending on the complexity and skill of the child, this project is easy to medium.
Pencil or pen
Art supplies (paints, markers, crayons, etc.)
Computer and printer (optional)
Internet access (optional)
Determine the overall theme of the magazine. What are your kids passionate about? Choose a theme that they enjoy and has ample writing opportunities—crafts, sports, etc.
Will this be a one-time-deal or are your kids interested in making it an ongoing project? If they’ll be creating more than one issue, how often will the magazine be published?
Start thinking of title ideas. As the experts at Priority One Magazines point out, most titles are limited to just one or two words-- National Geographic, Family Circle, and Sports Illustrated for example. Choose something that is memorable, yet explains what the publication is about.
If the publication is ongoing, will there be any special issues? For example, a prom issue in Teen magazine.
How will your kids publish the information? Answering this question will help both you and them during the information gathering and content writing process. Publication options include handwriting/drawing the content, using a generic computer software program like Microsoft Publisher, or using an online tool like ISSUU.
Help your youngster work out a deadline. You want something that is realistic and obtainable (you don’t want them to be discouraged or stress—this is supposed to be fun!). Keep in mind…if your child is planning a special issue, the theme might dictate the deadline. For example, they won’t want to publish a Christmas magazine after Christmas.
Flickr creative commons image courtesy of Alexandratx.
It’s finally time to start writing! Encourage your children to write about things they feel passionately about—or things they think other people should know. Some writing ideas include interviews, news articles, short stories (fiction or non-fiction), or poems. Your kids can also collaborate with other writers.
Flickr creative commons image courtesy of jeff, the rhino.
Once the content is written, start adding images to supplement it. Your kids can draw their own art work, take photographs, or search for Creative Commons images. If you decide to let your kids choose pictures from the internet, you might want to do a preliminary search. Some keywords can yield questionable results! Make sure it is safe before they proceed.
How will the articles be arranged in the magazine? Do your kids want to include a table of contents? If so, don’t forget the page numbers. And the magazine should have an even number of pages; otherwise, there will be a blank page at the end of the publication.
Finally, focus on the cover art. Choose something that fits with the overall theme of the issue. If there will be multiple issues, remind the children that the color of the title might change from issue to issue, but the font remains the same (this is a good opportunity to teach about branding). If your child write little blurbs to tease the inside articles, don’t let them give too much away!
Lastly, help your kids distribute their masterpiece. Will the magazine be shared with family members? Friends? Neighbors? Classmates? Your child could sell their magazine as a charity fundraiser. Or, maybe your child wants to start a blog to share the ongoing publication.
Publishing a magazine might not be the most conventional craft project, but it definitely is an entertaining and educational one. Writing is a great way for kids to express themselves. Finding a creative way to do it is an added bonus!