Saturday, March 27, 2010

Highlights Kids

Highlights magazine is a well known US children's magazine. Their Highlights Kids website has heaps of great free activities where children can read and interact with elements from the magazine. In Goofus and Galllant story adventures, you can decide what happens next in the story. At Story Player, you can listen and read along with audio stories like Monster Me by Eileen Spinelli. There are also rebus stories, hidden picture puzzles and science experiments.


As well as stories to read online, their website has some nice activities to promote creative expression.


Picture Maker


The art work offered here is delightful - tiny pictures of characters that kids can drag and drop to the position they want on their chosen template. The really nice feature is that you can interact with the picture by not only stamping characters, but drawing, and changing colour. There is no save feature, but kids can print or take a screen grab.


Make a Robot


Click on a background, then scroll through parts available. Click on the robot parts, and click where you want to place them to assemble your robot. Controls let you flip, resize and move, as well as add colour, draw and erase.


This would make a great place to create pictures for a narrative set in a futuristic environment.


Finish the Creature


This follows the same formula as the two above. Choose a background template, then mix and match body parts to create a strange creature. Writing is encouraged too. Push a button and you get to name your creature and describe it, then you can print out your picture and words.


My favourite activity was Time Machine. Use the lever to choose "past", and you are shown not only a timeline of the magazine, but also a timeline to put the issues into a social context. Great to get a sense of a print magazine's place in history. There's also an index page that shows you every activity available. Even if you don't subscribe to the magazine, Highlights Kids.com is well worth a visit.


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(The Book Chook blog is undergoing renovations at the moment. Things will be back to normal soon. Well, as normal as they get around here.) 

8 comments:

  1. Comments are in transition. Thanks for your patience!

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  2. Highlights has excellent activities, my students constantly ask if they can go "play" on the Highlights site whenever they have a free min. Of course the answer is always "yes!"

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  3. Evil chicken chuckle here - little do they know they are actually learning at the same time. No wonder you say "yes"!

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  4. I have loved Highlights since I was a child! I now use it in my classroom and I have a subscription for my daughter. Love Highlights!

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  5. Ayn, another children's magazine that's worth looking into is Alphabet Soup. It's an Australian magazine and not only does it encourage literature, it also publishes children's own writing.

    I write a column on writing tips for kids in Alphabet Soup, so I know it well. If you're interested, you can find out more online http://www.alphabetsoup.net.au/

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  6. This is a great site with lots of potential, thanks for sharing!

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  7. Thanks for mentioning Alphabet Soup. I'm a big Highlights fan ever since childhood, and it's great to know of more worthwhile children's magazines that encourage literacy. I'll watch for your column!

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  8. Steph: Lots of fun too!

    Regina: Isn't it great to see a magazine that supports the needs of kids who love to read and write! The yearly subscription is very reasonable too.

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