December 17, 2017

My All Time Favorite Kids’ Toy: Ode to the Magna Doodle

I’d been scratching my head over what to get my 3-year-old for her birthday.  As the 4th child, she has plenty of toys already at her disposal.  We already have Candyland, dolls and tricycles just waiting for her use.


After some careful consideration, I decided to replace something that’s been an enduring toy in our household because it’s fun for all ages. Even though the $40 price tag stung a little (were they always this expensive?), I bought a new Magna Doodle.


As a child, the closest I had to it was the Etch-a-Sketch, the handy writing board with the knobs that drew charcoal colored straight lines. To erase we shook it heartily. Remember? Since then some genius improved on that idea and created the Magna Doodle.


It’s a writing board that has a magnetic pen, so the artiste can draw anything she wants, much better than simple, often uncontrollable, straight lines. A fancy Magna Doodle even comes with magnetic shapes. And with the simple horizontal slide of a lever, the canvas is smoothly cleared, ready for the next creation.


When my kids were toddlers I’d have them completely black out the screen by scribbling on it and then we erased it to clear in an instant. They always chuckled when I’d say, “Nighttime (when it was dark), Daytime (when we cleared it).”


Around 2 I practice shape and letter recognition with it. I write out the upper and then lower case ABCs and sing the Alphabet song as I point to each one. We practice letter sounds this way too.


My 3-year-old likes to draw funny faces on it. Never able to draw more than silly faces anyways, she loves when I show her different and amusing facial features. We practice writing 3 letter words like bug, rug, hug that she’s learned to spell and sound out.


My kindergartner and I like to play Hangman on it and I’m teaching her how to spell more complicated words like “knee, wrist, and laugh.”  It’s like a game when we use the Magna Doodle and she loves to learn with it.


My second grader likes to show me how excited he is to learn cursive next year.  We also play Hangman.


My fourth grader and I practice multiplication facts and I’m introducing him to long division.  I write out a few problems, pass the board to him, and he works it out on his own.


I like that the Magna Doodle saves paper and there is no mess. If only I could get them to carry it by the handle, and not by the pen that somehow has never popped off the obviously steely, attached string.


By the way, the lever pooped out on our old one, but that pen was miraculously functional and intact till the end.  We definitely got our money’s worth the first time around.  $40 was a steal for 8 years of learning and fun.  Time for a new one!

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  1. I feel that way about etch-a-sketch !!

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