Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nature Friend Magazine

Looking for a "Christian" alternative to Ranger Rick? Enjoy beautiful photography, art instruction and essays? Nature Friend Magazine and Study guide has much to offer!
Nature Friend Magazine

Although my family couldn't afford to subscribe to children's magazines when I was a kid, I have fond memories of checking out my friends' copies of Ranger Rick and Cricket. I liked the cool photos and "kid submissions".

Now that I'm a parent, I'm more discriminating(and, I'm happy to say, so are my kids) about the material that we read. We've been sorely disappointed by gifted subscriptions of Ranger Rick and National Geographic Kids, with their evolutionary biases.

Enter Nature Friend, a publication that has been around since 1983. Although the magazine ownership has changed hands a few times, the commitment to "encourage children to believe in God as their Creator and to seek out, recognize, and appreciate His handiwork." has remained steadfast. The photography is every bit as stunning as any other you might see. The articles will enlighten and inspire your children as they consider God's creation, and there are fun activities in each issue, from a hidden picture search to the "You Can Draw A....." feature, a particular favorite of my 12 year old. There are actually two parts to this feature. Part 1 is the current month's instruction, and Part 2 is the page of reader submissions from past issue's instruction. Both are fun!

My children have greatly enjoyed reading the articles included in the August and September issues that the TOS Crew received to review. My 8 year-old particularly liked that it had so many puzzles to do. I was especially interested in the August articles on Owls (a personal favorite), and the stunning photographs.

You can also purchase an 8 page study guide that reinforces the articles and general information found in the magazine. These were included with the two monthly magazines that we were given, and my children enjoyed checking out the extra crosswords and acrostics. Mom (teacher!) appreciated the fill-in-the-blanks, "Writing lessons", "The Photo Critique"(which is great for the older children, and accompanying adults!), and more.

You may wish to click on one of the links I provided above, and check out some of the many free samples provided on the Nature Magazine Website, so that you can "Try before you buy".

I would highly recommend this for a Christmas or Birthday gift from grandparents, or friends looking for a "Family gift"! The quality of the paper, the photographs, and the content make this entirely "gift-worthy" in my book.

Now.. one reason that I recommend this as a gift subscription, is that it might be considered a little on the pricey side if you are pinching your pennies like we are. A one year subscription is regularly $36 ($3 an issue), or you can order a 2 year subscription for $68 ($2.83 an issue).
The Study guide is an extra $2/issue ($24/year) which would bring it up to $50 even for one year. Here is a link that explains a little more about the study guide, and adding it to a current subscription, if you have one... :)

BONUS: Until November 30th, the Shank's are offering a coupon for $3 off a new subscription. Use code BLOG93 when you subscribe. (It's like getting one month's issue free!)

It's actually a pretty good deal, when looking at it monthly... for the cost of one or two tall lattes you can educate and inspire your children for a whole month.... that's not bad! :) (However, if your budget has cut out those latte's, you might want to show this post to Grandma or Grandpa!)

Nature Friend Magazine also has available Back Issues for $5 each (Free shipping). You can click on each year, and each month for a list of the Table of Contents. So.. if you are studying, say, fossils and petrified wood, you might want to order the July 2006 Back Issue which has an article on the Petrified Forest National Park.

Another option (starting with the 2007 issues) would be to purchase a complete year's subscription,
in a Smyth-sewn bound volumes. These hard-covers have a sewn binding that enables the book to lay open flat at any page, and the 304 pages are bound with beautiful, glossy, laminated covers. These run $66, and I think they would rival any Nature book you could find at Barnes and Noble.

Oh, and a thought for those of you who are blessed with extra monetary resources.... Nature Friend Magazine has a program called Cheer the Children that you may be interested in contributing to. They would like to be able to offer a magazine to every child that has to endure a hospital stay, and you can help by purchasing a "Gift subscription". If this is something that interests you, please click here to read more.

I hope you check them out (and make good use of those free samples... there are a lot of them, and although they can't show you the quality of the paper the magazines are printed on, they DO show the quality of the content!), check out what the other TOS crew members had to say about their free issues, and let me know what YOU think! (Feel free to leave a comment!) :)


*Disclaimer~ This review was made possible by the free gift of two month's of Nature Friend Magazine and Study Guide, for the purpose of review.

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