Boys’ Life Magazine

Ages: 7 - 17Manufacturer: Boy Scouts of America is the online complement to the Boy Scouts of America’s century-old print magazine. Like the magazine, the website is designed for Boy Scouts, but there’s something here for practically anyone. And not just boys.

The content is free. You don’t even have to register. The advertising is mostly for Scouting-related products, contests and events.

Topping the homepage are dropdown content menus, including Games, Jokes, Outdoors & Gear, Hobbies & Projects, Scouts and Contests. These provide quick access to hundreds of features and activities, from comics and projects, to stories, reviews and how-to instructions. Learn how to wash your dog, how to take cold-weather photos, how to roast a turkey, and, of course, how to start a campfire without matches.

The newest content is also right up front. On a recent visit, carving model derby-car designs was the big story, followed by DIY snowshoes, mixing up invisible ink, and taking better photos in winter. Learn how to solve Rubik’s Cube, build a bat house, make a tie-die t-shirt, clean a dirty motor, write a joke. Identify animals from their poop?; the mesmerizing primer could help save your life if you’re lost in the wilds. The videogames are basic but fun, from great pinball and touchy air hockey to tense motorcycle racing and crazy miniature golf—none of them violent. Visual quizzes challenge you to identify birds or check off National Parks you visited; short stories (with audio option) are entertaining. There’s advice on camping gear and best wilderness practices, and the fishing tips are extensive. Of course, major sections cover all sorts of Scouting heroics, tales, information, projects, and events, many of them counting toward Scout merit badges.

Don Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice

A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of “The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion” (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Available here