Friday, 23 April 2021

Okido –The Arts & Science Magazine for Kids, review by Lynda Waterhouse


I stood in the newsagents staring blankly at endless rows of pink, glittery, superhero and Disney branded comics. Most of them had a plastic giveaway stuck to the front. The shiny paper and garish illustrations gave me instant sensory overload. Then, right on the bottom shelf, something different caught my eye: Okido – The Arts & Science Magazine for Kids aged 3-7.

 It was smaller and squarer than the other comics. The feel of a book or magazine is important to me and this felt good. Okido is made on FSC certified paper using biodegradable vegetable inks. It felt solid like a colouring or activity book should feel, built for some serious engagement. There was no free gift but rather the back two pages contained a cut out activity linked to the monthly theme, ‘Seeds’, so the cut out activity was to make a flying seed. Unlike my beloved Bunty cut out dolls (I am that old!), cutting this up would not destroy the magazine.

Okido’s philosophy is a beautifully simple one: every child is a creative scientist. The magazine’s founders are scientist, Dr Sophie Dauvois, and artist, Rachel Ortas, who created this independent magazine over their kitchen table in Brixton in 2007.

Each issue is themed making them fun to keep and collect. The magazine contains a series of themed adventures, activities, a delicious recipe, games, doodles, stories and a poem. Each page is beautifully illustrated. I particularly loved the Rachel Ortas illustrated story Mochi Seeds. It is described like so,

‘This is a two voices story. A story for an adult and a child to share and enjoy together. The adult reads the text and the child says the illustrated word. After a few goes, the child will remember the story and read it all!’

Another bonus is that there is the minimal advertising. The only advertising I could find in this issue was a discreet banner on the front page referencing the companies that screen the animated TV series, ‘Messy goes to Okido. ’

Okido helps children learn through play. It is full of stories, activities and games that stimulate creativity and inspire scientific interest. The fun and games are designed for all children and aims to be a stereotype-free zone. I loved it! A subscription would make the perfect gift.

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