Magna Doodle Activities

5 ways to use your Magna Doodle as a learning tool!

Our original Magna-Doodle has been kicking around for about 13 years.  It’s dented and dinged, and the screen is permanently marked in some places, but it’s still one of my favourites among our toy collection, not only because of the  fun my boys had with it, but because I always enjoyed coming up with educational Magna Doodle activities that we could do together.

magnadoodle learning activities

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Over the years, we have spent countless hours of quality time, playing educational drawing games together.  Often, part of our bed-time routine would be to snuggle up with the Magna Doodle, and I would use it as a tool to help teach my sons their letters, numbers and basic drawing skills, and over the years, I’ve come up with a number of games to make the learning fun.

My boys are now tween/teenagers, but I still play these games today with my daycare hooligans.

I’ll start with the most basic of the games, which you can play with young toddlers, and work my way through to the most challenging, which are great for older children.

Basic Magna Doodle Activity:

This one is so basic I don’t even have a name for it, but it’s a the perfect game to get started with when your child is really young.   It’s great for hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills.

placing rocks on circles on the magna doodle

Fill your Magna-Doodle screen with circles, and give your child simple objects to place in the circles: pom poms, stones, blocks etc.  When your child is ready to move on to something a little more challenging, you can try this next game.

Shape Match:

Similar to our DIY Matching Game  which is played on paper, this activity helps with shape recognition.

matching game on the magnadoodle

magnadoodle matching game - 1 of five activities

When your child is capable of creating simple drawings, they’ll enjoy this next game:

Making Faces:

drawing faces on the magnadoodle

Draw a large, oval on your Magna Doodle, and add some hair and ears.  Hand the “pen” over to your child, and have them fill in the features.  If your child is just learning to draw, take some time to draw a few faces yourself, describing where to place the eyes, nose and mouth.  Your child may simply make scribbles at first, but that’s ok!  The more you play, the more his or her drawing skills will develop.

When your child is ready to make more complex drawings, this next activity is a lot of fun.

I Draw, You Draw:

I don’t know about your kids, but when mine were little, they were always asking how to draw such-and-such or would I draw a certain object for them to trace or copy, so I came up with this game, which I think I love as much as the kids do.

cat faces on the magnadoodleIMG_8604

Draw a line dividing your Magna Doodle screen in half; one half for you, and one for your child.  Draw a simple object: a flower, cat, carrot, rocket-ship… whatever you want, just keep it simple so your child can try to duplicate it on the other half of the board.  I just love this one!

And now for my hands-down, very best, all-time favourite Magna Doodle Activity:


What Doesn’t Belong:

We’ve probably played this one thousands of times over the years because as my children got older, I just kept making the game more and more challenging, so we ended up playing it until my boys were about 7 and 9.  It’s a favourite among the daycare kids too, and they ask for it often.
what doesn't belong - magnadoodle game

Divide your Magna Doodle screen into quarters by drawing one horizontal and one vertical line.

Now, think up and draw 3 items that have something in common.  For toddlers you’ll want to keep it simple, like 3 fruits and one animal, or 3 letters and 1 number etc.  For preschoolers, you can make it a little more difficult, for example: a tee shirt, a tie, a hat, and a foot.IMG_8597

Point to, and have your child name all of the objects, and then ask them which one doesn’t belong. We played this way beyond my boys’ preschool years, making it more and more difficult.  A car, a bus, a skateboard and an airplane.  The airplane might not belong because it’s the only vehicle that is airborne.  Or it could be the skateboard because it’s the only vehicle that isn’t powered by an engine.  You could draw a lemon, a banana, a sun and a leaf.  The leaf might not belong because it’s not yellow, or the sun might be the mis-fit because it doesn’t grow on a tree.  You get the picture.

When they answer correctly, strike a big X through the mis-fit, calling out “Sun, YOU DON’T BELONG!”

Swipe your slate clean and start again!

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  1. says

    You know something when my kids were little this was definitely one of their most favorite toys but I would never have thought of adding these games to it…too bad there were no blogs then

  2. says

    I happened onto this post from Pinterest. Our girls (4-year old twins) LOVE their magnadoodle…I definitely credit it with them learning to write so early. We play a lot of these games already, but it’s nice to see them echoed somewhere else. I’m now following you on FB and Pinterest. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. says

    What a great idea – I really love the ‘I draw, you draw’ activity!
    Thanks for joining in with Monday’s Parenting Pin-It Party! Following you on Pinterest

    • happyhooligans says

      Thanks, Sarah! I’ve just popped over to your blog. It’s beautiful!, and I’m following some of your boards on Pinterest now.

  4. says

    I’ve never seen or heard of anyone using a Magna Doodle in such innovative ways! You’ve inspired me …. my son’s handwriting and drawing skills are weak and I think he’d find these games very fun!

  5. momsquestions says

    My kids love our Magna Doodle and play with it often, but I never realized there were so many ways to extend its use. I love that I draw, you draw game. I’m going to play that one with my kids as soon as they wake up from their naps! :)

    • happyhooligans says

      Yay! So glad you liked these activities! I love them because *I* get to have fun on the Magna Doodle too! :)

    • happyhooligans says

      I hear you, Margarita. The blogosphere is such a blessing when it comes to my daycare, but it wasn’t around when my own boys were little. I sure wish it had been!

  6. Olivia says

    I have a 7 year old second grader. We still use the magnadoodle for practicing spelling words. He gets practice writing and seeing the words, and when they are wrong it’s easy to cross out or erase.

    • happyhooligans says

      Wonderful idea, Olivia! I love that there’s no waste with your suggestion, and that errors are so easy to erase and correct.

  7. says

    When I used to babysit, we’d play drawing games where we take turns putting some kind of scribble on the board and the other have to complete the drawing. It was really fun and it’s amazing what the kids see in a scribble =)

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