Time for Kids Family Edition App for Android and iPad

Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.
Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.

I was invited to check out an issue of Time for Kids Family Edition on the iPad in March with my 9- and 11-year-old sons. With a free sample download on iTunes, anyone has a chance to see a free sample issue and see for themselves the timely articles, vivid photography, and interactive special features for themselves. We reviewed the iPad version, but you can also download individual issues and subscribe on Android devices through the Google Play store. I did not see an opportunity to download a sample issue via Google Play.

My oldest son reads a sample issue of Time for Kids on our iPad. He enjoyed the photography and we discussed the situation in the Ukraine. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.
My oldest son reads an article about, Sky, the winner of the Westminster Dog Show on the Time for Kids app on our iPad. He enjoyed the photography and we discussed the situation in the Ukraine. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Time magazine doesn’t need an introduction. The classic weekly news magazine has been around for over 90 years, and their digital version has been evolving with plenty of interactive features. In 1998 Time for Kids was launched in print version to help elementary-school-aged kids keep in tune with current events. These magazines are made readily available to teachers, and the articles are written in concert with Common Core education standards.

The digital issue cover parallels the print edition. I was hoping I could tap on one of the teaser titles on this cover and get to the story, but that wasn't possible. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.
The digital issue cover parallels the print edition. I was hoping I could tap on one of the teaser titles on this cover and get to the story, but that wasn’t possible. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.

As a child of the print magazine era, I’m still trying to wrap my head around using our iPad or Android tablets as our primary source for magazines. I still like to enjoy my print versions, even though every magazine I subscribe to offers iPad versions for our convenience.

However, for my sons, they wouldn’t have it any other way. My oldest son particularly enjoyed the sample issue; he read the entire thing cover-to-cover and it even prompted some discussions about the conflict in the Ukraine, which was the topic of one of the articles.

The “Family Edition” is separate from the other Time for Kids editions, which are available in formats for Grades K-1, 2, 3-4, and 5-6. The articles are tailored to each grade level and accommodate Common Core standards of reading and comprehension for each of those grade ranges. The Family Edition is a compilation of articles from each of the month’s four kids’ issues. If you have a younger, newer reader, some of the articles might be more advanced, but that’s a perfect opportunity for parents to sit with the kids and go over it together.

Conversely, a 5th grader might roll his/her eyes at the photos of baby monkeys in the Congo.

Like other digital magazines, browsing through the pages of Time for Kids was pretty straightforward. You swipe left and right to turn pages, swipe up and down to scroll through articles, and you will have plenty of opportunities to tap for bonus content, such as videos, sidebars, and “editor’s picks.” My sons had no problems doing any of this.

I wish the interface was available in landscape orientation. Also, in the sample issue we downloaded, the cover always starts out covered in snow and a hand brushes the snow away, revealing the cover. Each and every time we go back to the cover page, such as if we leave the app momentarily and then return, the hand brushing the snow returns, which takes about 10 seconds before you can do anything past the cover page.

If you are looking for a way to keep your kids informed on current events, a Time for Kids Family Edition subscription would make a great gift for your favorite elementary-school-aged child and his/her family. Download the free app through which you add on individual issues or annual subscriptions via the iTunes App Store for iOS devices or the Google Play store for Android/Kindle devices. Subscriptions are $1.99 per issue for a month-to-month subscription, $19.99 for a 12-month annual subscription, or $3.99 for a single issue with no subscription. New issues come out the first week of each month.

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Patricia Vollmer is the proud mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 12 & 14. She serves part time as a meteorologist with the Air Force Reserve and is currently assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's nomadic military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which for now is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, despite no one chasing her, sharing her love for Disney and Star Wars, and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.