Highlights Magazine: Fun with a Purpose

January 18, 2024

Highlights for Children has challenged and delighted children with joyful learning for more than 75 years. You can join in the fun with Hidden Pictures books, on sale now. Introduce kids to the irresistible, confidence-building experience of searching and finding hidden objects that has united generations of Highlights magazine readers 

How Highlights Started 

After a career in education and child development, Highlights founders Dr. Gary Myers and Caroline Clark Myers had become editors for Children’s Activities Magazine. But when they felt the publication had become too profit-oriented, at the detriment of educating young readers, they resigned and founded Highlights in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, in 1946. Highlights reflects the Myerses’ philosophy that children become their “best selves” by using their creativity and imagination; developing their reading, thinking and reasoning skills; and learning to treat others with respect, kindness and sensitivity. 

You Can’t Buy Just One

Magazines often rely on newsstand and store sales to stay in business but Highlights pioneered a subscription-only approach. About 95% of Highlights readers get the issues sent to their home, with the rest going to the waiting rooms of dentists and doctors.

Not-So-“Hidden” Treasures

Today it’s on page 7—an engaging graphic called “Hidden Pictures.” The image contains several other objects hidden within it that are fun for kids to spot. It’s been part of every single issue of Highlights since issue number one back in 1946. While Highlights didn’t invent the idea of hiding images within other images, they certainly perfected it. The most common object hidden in Highlights puzzles over the last eight decades is a pencil. 

From Thousands to Billions

The first issue of Highlights, offered to educators and parents, sold a modest 20,000 copies—driven almost entirely by the sterling reputation of its founders. In 2006, Highlights printed and mailed its one billionth copy. 

Kids Look Forward to Receiving Highlights in the Mail Each Month

In the 21st century, many print periodicals have shifted to digital and online methods of distribution. Highlights was among the first to make the transition, releasing material on CD-ROMs to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in 1996 and launching an app called Highlights Every Day in the 2010s. Nevertheless, Highlights maintains a print subscriber base of over two million—roughly the same number of readers as it had in 1986.

The classic Hidden Pictures activities are collected into two big books from Silver Dolphin. Highlights: Hidden Pictures: Fun on the Farm and Highlights: Hidden Pictures: Wild Adventures are on sale now.