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.
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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.
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.
Similar to our DIY Matching Game which is played on paper, this activity helps with shape recognition.
When your child is capable of creating simple drawings, they’ll enjoy this next game:
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.
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.
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.
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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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.