Blossom magazine is a monthly publication aimed at girls between the ages of 4-6 years, trying to make the subject matter a little less ‘pink’ and a lot more rounded. It aims to support all seven areas of the Early Years Curriculum & covers everything from bugs to ballet, football to French, princesses to wolves and everything in between, as well as arts & crafts, aspirational stories and features, such as talking to their illustrator about what she does in a way the target age group can understand and aspire to – and, of course, a free gift. It is available in newsagents and supermarkets at a cost of £3.25
What is it?
We had a copy of the February edition to review, which contained sticker scenes and decorating, puzzles, writing and counting practice activities, colouring pages, a story & rhyming story, simple ballerina craft activity, pictures from readers, features linked to fairytales and a mini-interview with Blossom magazine’s illustrator, complete with a ‘how to’ on drawing a kitten.
World Book Day Competition for Readers
This month’s edition also launches an exciting competition to accompany World Book Day (Thursday 6th March), where readers can write their own story with pictures; the winning entry will see their story featured in the magazine illustrated by the magazine’s own artist, a keepsake storybook copy of their story and a visit to the child’s school from Princess Poppy author Janey Louise Jones and a book bundle for them and their school library from Random House Publishing. If that doesn’t inspire your budding authors, I don’t know what will! Stories should be a maximum of 500 words and feature the four Blossom characters; Lily, Rose, Daisy and Violet.
The competition is open from 5th February to 8th March 2014, full details can be found in Blossom Magazine issue 10
What did Mummy think? 7.5/10
The first thing Phoebe was keen to do was obviously the attached gift – paint and glitter your own fairy (sorry, fairy princess – a distinct difference, clearly ;-) ) – which went down extremely well and was taken in to school to show as soon as it was dry (nearly before). Stickers were also an immediate hit and the magazine was quickly scanned through to do those pages next.
In fact, by the time I sat down with her to have a proper look through, she’d already done some of the activities on her own, which meant she was really pleased with herself and felt very independent and grown up.
The puzzle activities were spot on the right level for my 4 1/2 year old, who started school in September. She loved that she was able to do the maze by herself and choosing answers to other puzzles when I or one of her big sisters read out the questions; she felt very grown up to have her own crossword, which I thought was nicely done and at a good level – as well as sections on the same page with simple facts and explanations about different forms of writing, languages, etc. and I was impressed by the inclusion of a Japanese symbol with space for them to copy it. She’s also keen to have a go at writing her own story for the competition and is excited to have a promise of help writing it out from her 11 year old sister.
The pages about the magazine’s illustrator were viewed with lots of interest and sparked an interesting discussion about different jobs. Phoebe loved that she could follow the simple steps showing her how to draw her very own cat – in fact that was one of the things she’d done by herself before I looked at the magazine with her and she was really pleased with and proud of herself and her drawing. I really liked this “I want to be…” page, it was perfectly aimed and I hope it’s a regular feature :-)
The craft activity was simple, effective and easily done (and pleased to see a warning to remember to read the next page before cutting out the patterns!) and there was a second activity of an easy cut out to make a pair of bunny ears, as well as instructions on very simple face paint and costume to complete the look.
Several pages with different activities based on fairytales tied in well with familiar stories and good to see the ‘Blossom Girls’ (the magazine’s characters) keen to dress up as pirates as well as princesses and mermaids – although I still felt there could have been a few fewer princess-based references, given the breadth of subject matter Blossom is intending to cover ;-)
There were also little purple tags on pages for parents to see the areas of learning covered (Maths, Literacy, Finding out, Communicating, etc.), which I thought was a good idea, as well as suggestions for further activities outside Blossom magazine for topic/learning continuation.
What did Phoebe think? 11/10
“Fantastic! I really liked the colouring and the stickers, but my favourite bit was learning how to draw the cat in different parts. I’d like to learn how to draw a horse, a unicorn and a dolphin in the next one.
I painted the fairy princess first and showed it to my teacher and all my class at school.
I’m going to write a story about a mermaid for the competition. I love writing. I go to school now and I’m learning lots of phonemes and digraphs. I do lots of home learning to practise my writing. I liked the crossword, that was fun :-)”
Overall score: 8-8.5/10
Phoebe, aged 4 years, loved it. She was excited and inspired by a number of the features and articles, as well as enjoying the rest. There was a good mix of things she could do on her own, some with the help of a big sister, others with Mummy or Daddy, and Daddy wasn’t completely over-princessed by it (which is something of a novelty having three daughters ;-) ). I still felt there was the opportunity for a little more breadth (it still covered princesses, ballerinas and mermaids in the one issue) and I would like to see less of the actual colours pink and lilac on the pages to truly give it less of the typical-girly-stereotype our children’s generation seem to have been duped into!
It’s perfectly aimed at ages 4-5 years and I imagine would still appeal to some 6 year olds, though I suspect some will have grown out of it by then.
Overall, I felt Blossom has made a good attempt to move away from an overwhelming wave of pink and frilly and, with just a little more tweaking, should prove a welcome encouragement for a better balance and wider range of interest for our little girls. Now I challenge them to do something similar for the boys! ;-)
Disclosure:We were provided this product for review, but all opinions are our own.