Make learning fun with a Magna Doodle! Here are 5 Ways to use a Magna Doodle as a teaching tool with toddlers and preschoolers. Letter recognition, number recognition, matching skills, cognitive skills, critical thinking and more!
We’ve had our original Magna Doodle (affiliate link) for over 15 years. It’s dented and dinged, and the screen is permanently marked in some places, but it’s still one of my favourite toys for the boys and girls in my daycare. Not only because of the fun the kids have drawing on it, but because of the educational activities we do together on it.
Don’t have a Magna Doodle?
For those of you who don’t have a Magna-Doodle, they (or similar brands) can be found in most toy stores.
Over the years, we’ve spent countless hours of quality time, playing educational drawing games together. Often, at bed time, my boys and I would snuggle up together 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 own boys are now grown, 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 preschoolers.
Magna Doodle Matching Games:
Circle Matching Magna Doodle Activity
Toddlers and preschoolers love the challenge of a shape matching game. You can use your Magna Doodle to create simple shape matching activities for even the youngest toddlers. This activity is wonderful as a beginner matching game and great for hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills.
How to play it:
Draw circles all over 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.
Magna Doodle Shape Match Activity
Similar to the Homemade Matching Game I make for my toddlers and preschoolers on paper, this Magna Doodle shape matching activity helps kids with shape recognition and is great for cognitive development.
How to play it:
The great thing about this game is you can use just about any small toy or object that you have nearby. Simply trace around the object on the Magna Doodle, and put all of the objects in a pile. Your child can sort through the pile, matching the objects to the shape on the Magna Doodle screen. The best part? You can make it a new game every time by re-arranging where the shapes are drawn on the screen, or using new objects altogether every time you play.
When your child is capable of creating simple drawings, they’ll enjoy this next game:
Magna Doodle Drawing Activities for Preschoolers:
Drawing Faces Activity
This beginner drawing activity is fun for preschoolers. Similar to the drawings in our erasable drawing activity sheets, you’ll draw the outline and your child can fill in the missing pieces.
How to play it:
Draw a blank face on your Magna Doodle, and add some hair and ears. Hand the Magna Doodle pen to your child, and have them fill in the features of the face. 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” beginner drawing activity
When my kids were little, they often asked “Mom, can you draw a _______ for me?” I would draw whatever it was they were asking for, and they would sit and copy or trace it to learn how to draw it themselves. It inspired me to think up this fun “I Draw, You Draw” drawing activity for the Magna Doodle.
How to play it:
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?” elimination game for all ages
We’ve probably played this one thousands of times over the years because as my children got older, I 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.
This game encourages kid to think critically and to observe similarities and differences in different objects.
How to play it:
Draw a criss-cross to divide your Magna Doodle screen into 4 squares.
In 3 of the squares, draw items that have something in common. In the 4th square, draw something that is very different from the first 3 objects.
For toddlers, 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.
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 as they got older. 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!
Where to buy a Magna Doodle
Want to buy a Magna Doodle so you can play these fun learning games with your kids? You can choose from all kinds here with my affiliate link.
More drawing activities for toddlers and preschoolers:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.