We had our new copy of Okido magazine through the post today. Always an exciting day for C. I wish I had discovered it when A was younger, as she quite likes it now, but is a little bit too grown up for it now, and she would have adored it.
Okido is the polar opposite of some of the terrible offerings that can be found on the magazine shelf at your average Tesco. Some of them are not too horrendous, and have some actual activities or interesting things to read in between the adverts for toys, and crappy plastic toys which fall apart after 10 minutes. The ones I will buy without grudging every single penny at the moment are Moshi Monsters magazine and A's Jacqueline Wilson mag. Both have too much advertising for my liking, but at least they have some content which is actually worth reading. When the kids were little I used to buy CBeebies magazine, and didn't begrudge that too much, although it was always a little heavy on the old stickers. The ones I really hate are called things like "Pink Princess" or "TOXIC BOYZ" and are basically three sentences of content, plastic crap, and adverts. Grrr.
Anyway, as I said, Okido is not like this. For a start, it smells like a proper book, and the paper is thick enough to not rip as children turn the pages (a problem with many kids' magazines). There are lots of interactive pages, and lots of nice stories for beginner readers. The magazine is aimed at children aged 2-7, and I think they've got it right. Obviously the adult would need to leave the activities with a 2-3 year old, whereas beginner readers and writers can manage it with minimal supervision.
There are, mercifully, no adverts. There are also no freebies, but this doesn't bother C in the least - it looks so different from a "normal" magazine, that he doesn't think it should come with a free gift. I think it helps that ours comes through the post, so it doesn't have to compete with Ben 10's retro-laser green plastic blaster, sellotaped to the front of the magazine next to it.
It costs £4 to buy or £20 for 6 issues via subscription, and is published every 3 months. Not much more expensive than TOXICBOYZ, or similar, and so much more worthwhile.