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great for kids
December 3,2010
I couldn't believe this had only one review. My daughter is 5 and this magazine is really good. We read it cover to cover

Great magazine for kids who love to learn about nature.
August 23,2010
I have ordered several magazines for kids and this is one I'll stick with. There are interesting animal facts, stories, activities (i.e. cut out book, family fun suggestions), and great pictures. Best of all there are no advertisements! It is simple to read with your child and not overwhelming. I will definitely stay with the National Wildlife Federation series! I highly recommend this magazine for kids 3-7.

Sadly, Not As Good As Expected
January 31,2008
I had hoped Your Big Backyard would be like its sister mag for younger kids, Wild Animal Baby, which was captivating for both my son and daughter up to about age 3 to 3-1/2.

The two mags, both published by National Wildlife Federation, aim to educate kids about wildlife - but neither push the idea of man as a predator, nor do they position man as protector. The editorial goal seems to be purely to educate kids about wild animals - many of which they probably haven't seen, and may never see.

Unfortunately, Your Big Backyard is written for an older audience - meaning, it can't carry a four- or even a five year old's attention. There are a few puzzles and songs, but in my opinion, for a preschool audience (which this is designed for) those are not especially well done.

One good thing in Your Big Backyard, at least from my youngest's perspective, are that it offers the "find Bonnie" (a bird) game, like the "find the raccoon" game in Wild Animal Baby. That may help him transfer his affection from one mag to the other - but it hasn't happened in four issues! :(

My son also enjoyed one of the recent photo essays, '8 Reasons to Love an Octopus,' but I think he liked only the pictures - he didn't seem all that interested when I read to him how an octopus has a beak (I didn't know that!) to crush shellfish, or that some octopuses have stripes. (Again, I think it's the writing. The picture looked for all the world like a zebra; the writer said "candy cane.")

The photography is good, but not great, which is especially disappointing after my son has enjoyed the pics in Birds and Blooms magazine, for one example.

Complaints now registered, I'm not writing off the mag just yet. For one thing, the only way you can get it is via subscription, so it'll keep showing up in the mailbox for another seven months or so. Second, I have given it as a gift to three other boys, and I've heard from at least two of them that they love it. They are older than my son, though - one is seven - so perhaps it's a title he'll grow into. And third, Your Big Backyard has won the Association of Educational Publishers' Excellence in Children's Publishing award at least twice, in '05 & '07.

Still, I doubt my son will ever be quite as excited about this title as he was Wild Animal Baby, and that's too bad.

I should also mention that the competition (like the new National Graphic for *Little* Kids) isn't good enough to get me to subscribe at all. And I do like the idea of letting my son have a magazine of his own, especially one that opens up the greater world to his eager eyes. So, we'll keep reading.


Your Big Backyard Doesn't Have Animals Like This
August 10,2006
Your Big Backyard is a nature magazine aimed at kids in the vicinity of 4-8 years old. It's mostly but not entirely focused on animals (some small bits of some issues are about plants instead), usually animals your kids will only see at a zoo. More often than not they're African animals, things like hippos and zebras and snow leopards, but again this isn't a hard and fast rule. I know the magazine is trying to say the entire world is your extended backyard, but I think the concept is a bit too advanced for the target age group and some kids might be disappointed when they don't actually see the featured animals in their own backyards.

Each 32 page issue is themed, focused on either a specific animal or occasionally a family of related animals. However, only the first half of the issue is tied to the theme; the rest can cover anything within the realm of plants and animals. The themed section is mostly articles, or rather sets of photographs with paragraph-sized blurbs presenting individual facts about the animal. Often fun and quirky, they do collectively give a bit of a sense of what the animal is like, its habitat, its habits, and similar information. It's probably a reasonable starting point for a young child, but more inquisitive children or children toward the older end of the age range may find the content insufficient to satisfy their curiosity. The themed section also generally has one activity or puzzle near the rear, but it's main focus is definitely the photographs.

The rest of the magazine is much more focused on activities and more creative pursuits. This section always begins with My Little Book, a ten page cutout book containing drawings of different animals and a single blurb about each. The back of the magazine also always contains the Family Fun section, a group of several pages with content geared toward the entire family. Print is smaller here and the language geared more to adults or older children than really little ones. There's usually a handful of activities including some combination of a recipe, a craft, a book review, a song parody of a popular children's song, a puzzle, a game, or a science project. The very last page is Explore the Big Outdoors, a full page, single panel cartoonish drawing of a plant or animal with callouts pointing out its interesting features. Other than these three features, the content of the second half of the magazine varies greatly. About two thirds of the issues have a several-page long short story featuring some sort of animal. Most of the rest have a couple of animal-inspired poems; every so often an issue contains both a short story and some poems. While there's usually an article or two on some subject or another, much of the non-theme content not in the recurring sections consists of completely unrelated short activities, puzzles, and recipes. It's a real hodge-podge.

Other than the Family Fun section, most of the content seems age appropriate. Text is large and easy to read, vocabulary relatively simple. The puzzles and activities don't involve that many steps and generally either encourage you to cut up pages or write directly in the magazine or use fairly basic household items most folks will have on hand. I do worry that the odd format of holding to a theme for half of each issue then presenting random content for the rest might be a bit confusing. I also wish Your Big Backyard was more consistent about presenting the same type of content in each issue; kids who particularly like the stories or the poems or a particular type of activity might be upset when they discover their new issue doesn't contain that item.

I like Your Big Backyard and think most kids will too. I just think it would be even better if it kept to its theme throughout the entire issue and more consistently planned out the type of content presented in each issue. Still, it does a much better job of keeping to its target age than many children's magazines and it offers a glimpse of global wildlife that's otherwise only available at the zoo. If your early elementary age child enjoys visiting the zoo and learning about the animals found there, chances are he or she will also like Your Big Backyard. You might too.


Learn With Your Kids
April 26,2001
My son receives "Your Big Backyard" every month. He is so excited when his own magazine comes in the mail!!! This really is a terrific magazine.

Your Big Backyard is designed for kids ages 3 - 7. It is published by the National Wildlife Federation and comes in the mail monthly. It is about 30-32 pages.

There is so much good to this little magazine. The pictures of animals are really incredible. With every animal picture you will find a brief story describing the scene. This is a great way for kids to learn about nature.

There are cute games to play with your kids, little puzzles for them to solve and pictures for them to draw. My son especially loves the drawing section where they show you step by step how to draw an animal. There is a section each month for crafts to do with your child with pictures and directions.

There are counting games done with various animal photos that make learning fun. There is a story with "Bonnie and Chester" who are animal characters appearing each month. These stories are done with pictures that your kids can read along with you.

The back of the magazine has a section called "Backyard Buddies" where children send in pictures they have drawn. These pictures are from the "idea of the month" printed at the end of the magazine.

Overall, this kids magazine has a lot to offer your child. He/she will enjoy getting something special in the mail and you will enjoy reading the stories together and doing the crafts and puzzles. I recommend this magazine to anyone with a child between the ages of 3 to 7.


Your Big Backyard is a special magazine for the little ones.
February 25,2001
My grandson has been receiving Your Big Backyard every month for the past 2 years.
He wants this read to him the minute it arrives.

This magazine is great for young children because it isn't just filled with stories.
There are games to play which are not only fun to do but they teach as well.

For example there is a matching game where the child has to match objects according to sizes.
This helps a child to understand different shapes as well as getting them to think.

The picture of animals are photographed extremely well and they not only show the animal and sea life but also the environment in which the animal lives.

There is a craft that can be made each month and these crafts are very easy to do and my grandson has a made many of them.
They usually have something to do with the main theme of each magazine.

Bonnie Bluebird is one of the main characters of this and she usually guides you through each subject for that month.
Bonnie also has her own page with a story written in rebus and it is a lot of fun for my grandson to read along with me and try to figure out what each symbol represents.

Some of the games that he likes the best are Lets Explore which is a large picture of animals or sea life and these pictures are in the area where they live.
On the bottom are pictures of some of the animals and the idea is to find where they are in the big pictures.

There are trails to follow, mystery pages, what's the difference,stories, and many pictures.

Iv'e tried Lady Bug and Highlights for young children, but their games were too hard and they mostly contained more stories than games and didn't allow him to use his thinking powers as well as Big Backyard.
Activity magazines that are filled with games were also too hard for him.

I would recommend Your Big Backyard to anyone who wants their young child to have their own magazine with games to play and topics to learn about.
It will give a grownup a chance to interact with their child by reading to them and helping them solve the puzzles.


Your Big Backyard: Great First Magazine for Children
July 14,2000
Your Big Backyard is an absolutely charming first magazine for children who are ages 3 through 6.

The magazine is filled with pictures of all kinds of wildlife, both land and sea. Along the pictures are either short activities that can be done by the children along with the parents or a short reading selection.

I am so impressed by the colorful photographs and the simplicity of this magazine. The magazine also is not very large, so you can go through all of this in just the same amount of time that you would spend reading a Little Golden Book.

In one of the issues, it contains the following types of material: A short paragraph about the hazards of fishing line with wildlife with illustrations, a "Did you know" activity about roosters and hens, pages with twin baby animals, a short story about finding different living things in the sandy beach, an activity about foods that grow underneath the ground, and an entire section for the parents describing what kinds of activities can be shared with the magazine to your child.

I really am very pleased that I found a group of these magazines at the thrift store last week. I bought every one of them and at 10 cents a copy, I couldn't go wrong there.

This magazine is going to be a great learning tool as I continue to teach my autistic son many things in life. He absolutely loves animals and by using this tool, I can help him with his reading, his logical thinking, matching and many more things that he needs to develop in his life.

With its colorful photographs and illustrations, this magazine is bound to be a treasure for years to come in my home and I do intend on subscribing to it after we finish the copies that we have currently in our home.

It's with great honor that I highly recommend this magazine for readers 3 to 6, and special needs children.


What's in Your Backyard?
July 14,2000
Your Big Backyard is one of the many magazines I used to read at as a kid. The magazine is great for kids just learning to read and write. I would recommend this type of magazine for kids of the ages 4 - 10.

The magazine is about animals and nature. Inside you will find activities such as coloring, crafts, funny stories and things like that to do when, well, theres nothing to do! The articles are about all types of animals with fun little board games and pull out posters, with excellent pictures. It also includes recipes for you and your child to try. The recipes are especially fun because they are not hard and don't take up lots of time and it's a great way to spend time with your child or children.

I feel this magazine will teach kids how to handle animals and teach them that animals have feelings just like you or me. Plus they will teach them not to pull your kitties tail! The photos in the magazine are just unbelievable, they show pictures of everything you can imagine from sea turtles and sharks, to horses and porcupines. I'm not sure how much they cost but I'm positive it isn't much. I like how there isn't one ad in the whole magazine from back to front


You've got mail
May 11,2000
Of course, getting mail is the first thing that a toddler LOVES about getting Your Big Backyard, but it certainly isn't the last thing either. Each of my kids has gotten a gift-subscription to the magazine for Christmas when they were about 2, and each of them loved each and every issue that came.
They loved the magazines - literally - to death. We would pour over the magazines together for story time that night, and the next, and the next... my son, now age 5, still gets his Your Big Backyard subscription, and we still read it for bedtime the day we get it. The best thing about this magazine is that his older sisters love it too. When we read the new issues together, I will end up surrounded by kids.
Each issue features pictures of animals with a particular similarity - all water animals, for instance, or all animals which can change colors - complete with remarkable photos. Each issue has stories, too, that teach about caring for the environment in a way that the little ones really understand. My son's favorite part of each issue, though, is looking at all the letters and pictures that other children have sent in to the magazine, and hearing all about the youngster who sent it in. Finally, each of my kids has had the "centerfolds" of animals hanging on all over their bedroom walls, too - again, it's not just the toddlers that enjoy the posters!
HOWEVER - especially since I end up reading it many times, I find the magazine and its stories very, well, childish. I personally much prefer reading Your Big Backyard's older brother, Ranger Rick. The stories ARE certainly age-appropriate for the intended audience, though. Just annoying for adults to read repeatedly.
So - pull up a chair, snuggle up with your favorite little one, and learn all about the wonders of nature that exist in Your Big Backyard.


Animal Adventures in your mailbox!
April 22,2000
I stumbled upon this wonderful magazine while looking through the school fundraiser flyer for my favorite babysitter and thought that I'd give it a try. I am so glad that I did. This magazine has become the favorite reading material for my 3 year old son and I. He loves to look at all the beautiful pictures and drawings that fill its pages! I like the fact that each issue has a pull out poster to hang up if you choose to. There are all sorts of activities included as well- dot to dot pictures, small and uncomplicated science experiments, a craft idea such as in the January 2000 issue there are directions for making a bird feeder out of a small soda or water bottle. The birds around our house loved that idea! There are sections of short stories. Parent's pages where there are suggestions for fun projects, a recommended book and software title and a few suggestions for things to do that month.
The only part of the magazine that I find to be lacking is that it doesn't have very many pages! However,the joy I see on my little one's face when it comes in the mail addressed to HIM makes up for that.
All that said I think my child's favorite part of this magazine is the back page that is devoted to photos of children who receive it and their drawings.