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BellaOnline's Early Childhood Editor


Disney Family Fun Magazine Review

I recently read the first two magazines in my subscription to Disney Family Fun Magazine, and was frankly surprised by how much I enjoyed them. Family Fun targets families, essentially moms, with children under 12 and features crafts, cooking ideas, activities and strategies for family life. A one-year subscription is about $10 for 10 issues.

My mother-in-law selected this magazine as a gift for us during a magazine drive, and I was expecting a very mainstream, commercial magazine, but was surprised by the generally budget-friendly, eco-conscious and healthy approach. The crafts were cute and not terribly expensive, and didn't make me feel like I had to be Martha Stewart to attempt them. Many used found objects or nature. Several of the crafts pointed readers toward the website for free templates for the projects. Treats sometimes featured honey or healthier options and cooking offered ideas, such as scallion pancakes, that broadened the standard fare for children.

The family advice sections were focused on solutions and ideas that were both inclusive and respectful of children. Even the advertising, while featuring largely familiar national brands, did feature their healthy-variety foods (natural Jif peanut butter, for example), reflecting I would think an encouraging trend of mothers in the magazine's demographic to be interested in such products.

Family Fun was also surprisingly inclusive. The dumpling-making article included a vegetarian option and several recipes were simply vegetarian. The magazine did an excellent job in the December/January holiday issue of including craft examples that sometimes featured Hanukkah examples rather than just Christmas, and offered Hanukkah alternatives to Christmas designs (for example, instructions for making a homemade cake into a Christmas tree, or alternately, a driedel). There was certainly more ideas that featured Christmas designs, but as a Jewish family used to being ignored completely in such settings, it was a notable change.

In addition to the themed features of the issue, regular sections include everyday fun, creative solutions (to parenting challenges), my great idea (reader tips and tricks), family traditions, family getaways, healthy fun, family home, let's cook, our favorite things and treat of the month.
Unsurprisingly, the magazine also features a Disney Fun section each month and some of these "information" items were really more advertising than journalism, although some were quite interesting.

The advertising was the weakest part of the magazine by far. As I mentioned, some were for healthy products, but there is certainly no policy towards promoting healthy products. Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup is a well-known poor choice for kids and was prominently featured in the February issue along with other chemical cleaning products and processed foods. Each issue featured a large pull-out ad promoting Disney vacations, but that's to be expected (and as a regular visitor to Disneyland didn't really bother me personally, and one was focused on Disney's new promotion to volunteer for a day and earn a free day at a theme park).

Disney Family Fun magazine is a practical purchase or appropriate gift for parents who enjoy craft activities and cooking with or for kids. It would be an excellent choice for scout leaders, teachers or anyone who runs activities for children. I definitely plan to continue reading my subscription over the next year, and already have pages dog-eared to copy for my daughter's Brownie leaders and some crafty friends.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Nicki Heskin. All rights reserved.
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