Back to Basics

highlights.jpgFew things get Laurel’s attention like stories, brainteasers, and crafts, so it’s no wonder that she’s totally been digging Highlights High Five. From the folks who produce the well known Highlights magazine, High Five is geared towards the 2-6 year-old crowd, and I’m reviewing the publication today in conjunction with The Parent Bloggers Network. Read on for the review, as well as to learn how to win a subscription to Highlights or High Five via The Parent Bloggers Network.

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These days we enjoy the luxury of only needing to tote flat entertainment for Laurel (she’s good for hours with a coloring book and box of markers), and High Five offers another easily portable activity that will be particularly good for on-the-go amusement when Laurel starts reading independently. Meanwhile, these monthly magazines offer great cuddle and read fodder. Offering a variety of content throughout each issue’s 40 pages, Laurel gravitated instantly to the brainteasers (e.g., finding objects that are hidden or incongruous in a picture, identifying differences between two pictures that initially appear identical), then asked for the stories. Surprisingly, she hasn’t asked to do any of the craft or food projects (with the exception of the chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered pretzels…), but that may be because we spend a lot of time on art and kitchen projects otherwise.

When I first began exploring High Five with Laurel my impression was positive, and as we have continued to read and re-read, and identify all the incongruities and now not-so-hidden objects over and over again, my appreciation has continued to grow. Yes, the content is age appropriate, diverse walks of life are represented, and you and your kid can even pick up a little rudimentary Spanish along the way. Yes, they do a good job of offering across-issue feature and story character continuity that provides the predictability and structure that kids like, while also introducing novel elements. But what I really appreciate is the simplicity. Stories and activities are built around the everyday joys of childhood – playing with friends and family, observing nature, making art projects – the stuff that makes for happy, curious kids. Life should be this simple yet enriching for kids at this time of life; I’d venture to guess that High Five won’t be depicting the joyless – but now increasingly common – acts of kids sitting through intensive French or being dragged to violin lessons (I can say this, at least, as a former semi-professional violinist) any time soon. A little downtime with your kid goes a long way, and I’d highly recommend High Five as a medium for parents to connect (or reconnect) with their kids and get back to basics.

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For folks who have blogs, this Friday (March 7) the folks over at The Parent Bloggers Network will be running a blog blast, where you can win a free subscription to Highlights or High Five. Click here for more information.