Make writing fun for your kids by getting them to create their own magazine!
Children who love to write will love this magazine project, and it's also perfect for reluctant writers, as it's far more fun than writing for school work.
They can choose a subject that really excites them and see a finished product at the end. If you have several children it can become a joint magazine project - you could even work on it with friends and family. If writing a magazine inspires your kids, they could start writing a diary or even have a go at writing a book!
1. Decide On A Subject
If your child has a particular interest, this is the ideal subject for a magazine. It could be all about Fortnite, scooting, dance, volcanoes, fashion, dinosaurs or football. If several children are contributing, it may have to be a more general magazine, incorporating features and columns on all their interests, to avoid any arguments!
They could include everything they have been doing during lockdown, or perhaps it could be about all the things they would like to do when we are allowed to travel again.
2. Think Of A Name
If it's a general magazine, it could be based on your family name, or be called something like Lockdown Times. If it's full of exciting stuff, it could have a one name title - how about Excite, Fun!, Wicked, or Awesome? Throw all the names into a hat and pull one out, or have a vote on a couple of name choices.
Once kids have decided on a name, they'll will need to work out how it will look on the front page - this is called the Masthead. Take a look at real-world magazines to get some ideas. It needs to be big and bold - kids could write it in bubble writing and get everyone to colour in a design on each letter. If you have older kids who are confident on a computer, they can use the free app Canva to create a magazine cover. Remember to write some cover lines describing the features inside the magazine.
3. Here's The News
What stories will they write about? How about a news page? Search online for news relevant to the subject - for instance if it is about dinosaurs you could find out what is happening at the Natural History Museum, or find a news story about a dinosaur that has been discovered recently. If they are writing about lockdown, they could write about what has been happening at home, what games they have played, special occasions such as birthdays and so on.
4. How-To Guides
Lots of magazines have how-to guides. A garden magazine might explain how to plant seeds, or a homes magazine will describe how to paint stencils on a wall. How-to guides might explain how to play a certain video game, how to play a card game, how to bake cakes, groom the dog or how to create a rainbow picture.
To make it neat, divide each page into six or eight same-size boxes, where you can write one step and include one picture. Don't tell them, but writing instructions is included in the English curriculum, so this is like doing school work but more fun!
5. Write A Story
Features are the long stories you read in magazines. They usually have some nice images included. You could cut pictures out of magazines, draw some or print some images from the internet.
If your children can't think of anything to write, they could interview someone - maybe they could contact a grandparent on Skype or Zoom and ask them about what school was like when they were young, or what their favourite toys were - or they could ask for stories about what their mum or dad was like as a child!
6. Ask The People
'Vox Pops' are very popular in magazines and newspapers. Kids have to think up a couple of questions and then ask several people to answer them. Your young journalists could also text or email questions to friends and family.
Get kids to write up the answers - maybe even draw a graph to show any patterns! Older kids could learn how to create a graph in Excel. The questions could be something fun, like which is your favourite biscuit for dunking, or which is your favourite dinosaur.
7. Celeb Spotting
If you have a fashionista in the house, they can cut out or print pictures of celebs and describe what they are wearing, like they do in the gossip magazines. Or if they want to go the whole hog, they could put together their own outfits, take photos and print them out and write about how and why the outfit goes together.
8. More Magazine Ideas
Some more ideas for features to include in the magazine are horoscopes, sports pages, film reviews, book reviews, recipes, jokes and problem pages. Can you see one of your children as an agony aunt? Film and book reviews are great practise for school work, as children are often asked to write book reviews, especially in KS2/3.
Little children can draw pictures to be included, or colour in a picture. Don't forget to include a contents page and maybe a letter from the editor!
9. Get The Whole Family Involved
If you have an older child or teen, you could appoint them editor. They will be responsible for bringing all the pictures and stories together and creating one magazine from them.
They could create page templates for younger children to fill in. If they are savvy on a computer, they can scan everything (you can download one of several free scanning apps for a smartphone) and put the PDFs together to create a digital magazine. Younger children can draw pictures to be included, or write very short stories.
10. Get Crafty
If you want the kids to get arty and crafty while making the magazine, why not get them to create a collage of photos for the front cover? They could be family photos that you have printed out, or pictures cut from magazines.
Or if you have younger children, maybe you could design a pattern of everyone's hand prints. You could use a simple bookbinding technique to bring all the pages together, or use a simple scrapbook and paste in the stories and pictures. The magazine cover doesn't just have to be made of paper - it can be embellished with stickers, sticky jewels, glitter and other craft materials.
11. Pop-Up A Picture
If you really want to get creative, make some pop-up pictures for the stories on each page - Kidadler Rosanna explains how to make a pop-up picture in this card-making blog!
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