When CUBiC Magazine got in touch to see if we would like to review their kids magazine, I thought it would be a great way to keep the kids entertained on our recent road trip (more about our road trip coming soon - I promise).
CUBiC Magazine is aimed at children aged around 8 and over, and is A5 in size making it handy to take out and about with you.
We were sent three issues for the purposes of review. Each has the face of a cartoon Cubic kid on the front cover and is packed with questions to think about, sums to work out and prompts for creative writing.
I thought the magazines had a retro feel to them. The pages and tasks were clear and well spaced. Vintage/retro-style colour and pattern is used sensibly throughout without looking overwhelming.
Sometimes there are photographs and diagrams used to prompt questions. Some questions do not have a right or wrong answer but are there to encourage creative or critical thought. Where there is a specific answer to a question, the answers are available to find online at CUBiCmagazine.com
Although the iPad and Nintendo DS prove invaluable on journeys and when on holiday, I like to make sure that the kids have something to engage their minds other than gadgets. And for our recent holiday, CUBiC Magazine fitted the bill.
J engaged well with it and the type of questions in there acted as useful practice for him in preparation for his upcoming 11 plus examinations. J is 10 years old and pretty amazing academically so he whizzed through the questions. He tended to avoid the open ended ones or those needing creative writing, instead focusing on the maths and puzzles which have clear cut answers.
This is something we have noticed for a long time with J and we put it down largely to his Aspergers. Even when we homeschooled I would find that he would really need to be in the right mood when it came to story writing. He also struggled with reading comprehensions where your own opinion about the situation is asked rather than just seeking the correct piece of information from the text.
He is actually amazing when he does write stories and answer those questions that he initially finds tricky, but it is like he has such a huge fear of getting it wrong that he is not even willing to guess or try sometimes.
D struggled from the outset with CUBiC Magazine. He is 8 years old and whilst he is certainly not behind in any way when it comes to schoolwork (he's average or above average for all his school subjects), he doesn't have the same speed of understanding and answering questions that J does. So he grew frustrated and found he couldn't do it.
We took a look together again another day and this time, knowing I was on hand if he got stuck, he actually did really well tackling a couple of maths related questions getting most of them right.
These magazines would have made brilliant workbooks when we were homeschooling. My only issue with them is that they are more like workbooks than magazines.
Kids magazines would generally contain various articles, features, popular characters, perhaps some stories and comic strips as well as puzzles and user involvement pages. CUBiC Magazine is not like that. It certainly covers a range of topics and subjects but it has more of a workbook feel to it than a lighthearted magazine read.
There are sample pages available to view on the CUBiC Magazine website so you can get a good idea of what is contained inside the magazine. Each one certainly does contain loads in there too. My boys are still working through their copies. But they do see it as 'work'.
The plus side of this workbook style format is that they won't go out of date in a hurry, so if your kids love them you can get hold of back issues that will be just as relevant today as they were in their original month of publication because they don't have that topical / current nature that other kids magazines often have.
In summary, these proved to be a great little workbook to keep kids minds busy over the summer holidays which is often a time that kids could be at risk of switching off from academic learning all together.
Disclosure: We were sent three copies of CUBiC Magazine for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.