Magna-doodle toys

There’s a lot to be said about the creative process: it’s engaging, stimulating, imaginative and messy. And it always seems that kids want to draw or paint when you’re about to run out the door, or you’ve just cleaned the house. If you find yourself reluctant to pull out the markers and finger paints at these inconvenient times, we don’t blame you! However, with the variety of modern Magna doodle toys, the options for creating mess-free art are endless.

Check out some of our favorites to encourage your little Picasso anywhere, any time!

9 Magna Doodle Toys: Imagine, Draw, Erase and Repeat

Etch-A-Sketch Classic
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VTech Write and Learn Creative Center
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Fisher-Price Clip-on Doodle Pro
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AquaDoodle Travel Doodle
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1. Etch-A-Sketch Classic

“Hours of fascinating fun for the entire family!” No Magna-doodle list would be complete without Etch-A-Sketch, the classic magnetic drawing board introduced in the ’60s. The simple vertical and horizontal lines created by spinning the knobs can be transformed into complex drawings with just a bit of practice. Artists have even used the toy to recreate classic works of art like the Mona Lisa (but you can get started with beginner favorites, like city skylines, stick figures, and flowers)!

Ages: 3+ years

Fun factor: Learning how to use the up-down and left-right knobs give kids an extra creative challenge—not to mention how much fun they’ll have shaking up their drawing to erase it when they want to start over.

What adults love: Parents and grandparents love giving the nostalgic Etch-A-Sketch toy as a gift, and teaching their young ones how to use it.

Pros & cons

  • Unlike many modern Magna doodle toys, the Etch-A-Sketch doesn’t have any additional parts, making it ideal for travel.
  • Some reviewers have found that the quality of the toy isn’t as high as they remember it.

2. VTech Stencil and Learn Studio

This Studio from VTech brings an educational twist to classic Magna doodle toys. An interactive tablet, it comes with alphabet stencils and can even recognize when your child writes a letter on the surface. Additionally, it encourages hand-eye coordination, and is loaded with more than fifty sounds and songs! (Don’t worry—when you’ve heard enough, your child can continue to draw with the music off.)

Ages: 3–6 years

Fun factor: In addition to a standard magnet and stylus attachments, the Stencil and Learn Studio includes 28 learning stencils and a drawing tool to make beautiful circular designs.

What adults love: This activity not only encourages creativity but promotes literacy and vocabulary-building—it’s a win-win!

Pros & cons

  • The multimedia system appeals to children with audio, visual and kinesthetic learning types.
  • May not be as easy to use for lefties.

3. TONOR Colorful Development Drawing Board

Cultivate creativity with this drawing board from TONOR. Kids will be delighted to discover the red, green, blue and yellow color zones while they create their masterpiece. The brightly colored board can be easily transported with a convenient travel handle and attached stylus.

Ages: 2+ years

Fun factor: 8 color zones allow children to create a beautiful rainbow composition.

What adults love: The large size of this drawing board means extended playtime for kids.

Pros & cons

  • The attached stylus won’t get lost!
  • Reviewers suggest that this board may be less durable than other designs.

4. AquaDoodle Drawing Mat

Make H2O a part of your work of art. The AquaDoodle mat is a unique alternative to Magna doodle toys and traditional craft supplies. Simply fill the included “markers” with water, and use them on the colorful surface to make temporary drawings. At 18″ x 13″, it’s easy for tots to collaborate on their next masterpiece! Not to mention, the oversized surface and chunky pens encourage both fine and gross motor skill development.

Ages: 2+ years

Fun factor: This oversized mat makes drawing larger-than-life, and the colorful alphabet border is sure to inspire.

What adults love: No more mess! These AquaDoodle pens work with water, so there’s no chance of walking back into a craft session to find that the walls, instead of the canvas, have been covered in marker.

Pros & cons

  • For extra-crafty kids, this drawing mat means you’ll have to invest in less paper (and less time for clean-up).
  • Markers are sometimes easy to open, leading to a water spill.

5. VTech Write and Learn Creative Center

The VTech Write and Learn is packed with literacy power! From the alphabet design to its digital interface, everything about this toy is designed to help your child learn to write while having fun. The various learning modes teach vocabulary, drawing, music, shapes, upper and lowercase letters, and letter stroke order. Your child can follow along with the activities, or create something from their imagination!

Ages: 3–6 years

Fun factor: The digital display and audio component will appeal to even the most tech-savvy tots.

What adults love: The Creative Learning center is educational and customizable; children can even learn how to write and spell their names.

Pros & cons

  • A screen-free alternative to an iPad with a similar “cool factor” for kids.
  • Topmost letter displays may be difficult/too dark to read.

6. Kidsthrill Doodle Magnetic Drawing Board

The Kidsthrill doodle board expands artistic possibilities with three shape magnet stampers (star, car, and circle). Not sure where to get started on your drawing? Add a couple of shapes for inspiration! The surface is easy to draw on with the attached stylus pen, and simple to erase with just one swish. Great for mindless doodles, a game of hangman, or even educational activities.

Ages: 3+ years

Fun factor: All of the features of a standard Magna doodle toy, with a colorful drawing surface and three fun magnets.

What adults love: The tablet is easy to use and provides entertainment during travel.

Pros & cons

  • This Kidsthrill toy comes with a 100%, 365-day satisfaction guarantee.
  • Stamp magnets are not entirely secure when placed in their base.

7. Crayola Touch Lights Activity Station

You can’t go wrong with Crayola products—and this mess-free doodle activity from the craft giant is no different. With a squishy gel surface and light-up technology, your child can use their fingers or the stylus to reveal their drawings in technicolor illumination. With one touch, they can change the color; each hue even has its own corresponding tune. Incorporate these doodle toys at a slumber party for glow-in-the-dark fun!

Ages: 2+ years

Fun factor: Music and drawing magic—each color have its own song that plays as children draw.

What adults love: Parents of children with special needs recommend this toy because of the multi-sensory experience.

Pros & cons

  • Mimics the sensation of finger painting without the mess.
  • Gel surface can create distorted images.

8. Fisher-Price Clip-on Doodle Pro

The Fisher-Price clip-on doodler is a portable, miniature way to encourage creativity. At just 9.6″ x 8″, the toy is an ideal stocking stuffer or gift basket addition. It’s small size also means it’s a discreet distraction for fidgety kids out in public! Never lose track of the Doodle PRO by clipping it onto your bag.

Ages: 3–7 years

Fun factor: Keep it close by! With the doodle boards unique clip, kids can attach their drawing toy to a backpack or belt loop to take it wherever they’d like.

What adults love: Trusted name and high-quality toy from Fisher-Price.

Pros & cons

  • It comes in three vibrant colors (green, pink and blue), so you can choose your child’s favorite.
  • May begin to show wear and tear on the screen after a few months of use.

9. AquaDoodle Travel Doodle

AquaDoodle is “the multicolored no mess toy that you can bring anywhere you go!” This travel mat is all about compact creativity. It works much like the larger version pictured above, with water pens and a drying doodle surface. The mat is just 11″ x 10.5″ and can be Velcro-ed closed for easy transportation. The best part is, you’ll never have to worry about dried out markers. Simply refill the AquaDoodle pen to keep on sketching!

Ages: 2+ years

Fun factor: The soft, portable drawing surface will certainly be like nothing your kids have experienced before!

What adults love: This travel toy is great for hours of on-the-go entertainment, great for keeping little ones busy in public places.

Pros & cons

  • Fun for both toddlers and young children.
  • Actual colors may be less vibrant than pictured.

How The Magnetic Doodle Board Works

The Magna doodle board is a clean drawing tool that fascinates kids, and happy parents don’t have to remove markings from walls and furniture. How does it work?

The power is in the magnetic tip of the pen that doodle draws on the outer translucent plastic sheet. Unlike crayons, the child doesn’t’ have to press hard. Light pressure on the pen tip penetrates to the inner parts of the board.

A honeycomb mesh separates the two outer plastic sheets, the magnetophoretic display screen, and the bottom sheet. The mesh is visible on the outside, and it creates uniform thickness between the two plastic sheets. These honeycomb cells are filled with a thick, opaque white liquid with black magnetic particles of iron oxide.

When the child doodles on the display screen, the magnetic field of the pen tip infiltrates the plastic sheet and reaches the liquid. The black magnetic iron oxide is drawn to the surface and becomes visible as the kid doodles. The magnetic particles and the milky white liquid have the same density, which means the black particles won’t sink and disappear into the liquid when brought to the surface.

The eraser slider is an extended board magnet. When the child slides the slider across the doodle board, it draws all the magnetic particles to the black plastic sheet leaving the opaque liquid at the top. The liquid covers the particles, and the magnetic board is ready for the next doodle drawing creation.

What do you think of our magnetic doodle boards list? Have we left out a crucial creation board? Feel free to share your masterpieces with us in the comments!


Feature image courtesy of Flickr, plindberg.

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