Magazines for preschoolers?
Skip the magazine and buy early montessori early reading material. Starting at age two and a half children are beginning to develop the capacity to learn letter sounds, that will later lead them to decoding. My two year old loves to do the sounds of the letters. Sandpaper letters, picture matching cards, rhyming, all things that help. there is a webinar called Learning to Read is Child's Play. It has some great ideas. here is the link http://ageofmontessori.org/resources/webinar-replays/
Reading is important to our family too and I notice that my son is nearing the "me do it" stage. He wants to know just how I get those stories out of the books!
National Geographic Little Kids -- complete with tear-out animal cards in every issue-- tops our list. Inside is also a fun science activity (that's where we learned about dancing raisins), It is simple, has zero ads or commercial tie-ins like its big kid version.
It's been a while, but I think I can come up with more.
Both are animal magazines.
Baby Bug--by the folks that publish Spider and Cricket. This glossy, durable little magazine was a favorite in our house through the age of 5, when they started discovering other magazines.
Ladybug-- the next age group up by the same publisher, and if he's a precocious reader, might be on his level, but otherwise has a lot of engaging poems and stories you can read together.
I would hightail it to your area libraries, and check out their offerings before committing to a subscription. However, that little Nat'l Geo is a sure pleaser, I think, and inexpensive. I vaguely remember a couple more. I'll post if I remember them.
For that age we liked giving subscriptions to Wild Animal Baby from the National Wildlife Foundation, but I just looked and saw that NWF has replaced Wild Animal Baby and My Big Backyard with Ranger Rick, Jr., which I'm not familiar with.
Babybug and High Five are the favorites around here. The covers always seem to fall off of Ladybug, which annoys my DD. She barely glanced at her Zootles, but she is not super-interested in animals. I thought it was a nice magazine.
A good thing to remember with any magazine subscription is that it typically takes a long time to start, so as soon as you decide on one you might want to order it. My DD got a subscription for her birthday in mid-December to Click and we are still waiting for our first issue. We have had friends wait as long as 2 or 3 months to start getting theirs.