Synopsis of Toy
“Draw like magic, erase like magic!”
Except for allergy doctors and the occasional neat freak who likes to dervish through the house with feathery contraption in hand, there aren’t a whole lot of people who like dust. It figures then, that inventors and toy creators have long sought after dust-free chalk. In the mid 1970’s, a handful of engineers in Japan were trying to hatch a design for a dustless chalkboard, and what they came up with eventually became the Magna Doodle. This toy’s magnetic dust was akin to the Etch A Sketch’s, but instead of knobs to turn, there was actually a plastic pen that came with the Magna Doodle, making this toy the perfect little erasable slate.
Since its invention, the Magna Doodle has purportedly used by athletic coaches (trying perhaps to subvert their intimidating macho personas), and hospital patients who can’t speak (trying perhaps to communicate that hospital meatloaf for dinner again would actually be a detriment to timely convalescence). It’s also a well-known antidote to restlessness on long car trips. Oh, the sunny and sundry uses of a Magna Doodle.
The classic model has an 11 by 8” inch screen, and on the sides of that, a ‘drawing pen’ and several magnetic ‘stampers’—differently shaped pieces of plastic that the Doodler can press down onto the screen (circles, stars, etc.) and then lift off for incorporation into your masterpiece. When you grow tired of your artwork, just tug the eraser bar across the slate to wipe it clean. But there’s a whole world of Magna Doodles out there, champ. Just let us give you a walking tour through some of them:
With the Handy Dandy Blue’s Clues Notebook, the attached pen is bright green and striped, and the instead of an eraser bar, there is a little plastic dog named Blue that you push back and forth across the screen to erase.
The Magna Doodle Learning Bus is shaped like…well, you know, like a big yellow bus. And with an eye toward educational playtime, this version comes with ten Magic Learning Cards—just place these on the screen, run your pen through the slots, pull the card off and have a look at the numbers, letters and words you’ve just created all by yourself!
The Fisher-Price Talking Magna Doodle offers the same drawing possibilities, but also utters eight phrases—you can be regaled verbally, while the screen is regaled artistically. That’s just a whole lot of regaling going on.
Deluxe Magna Doodle, the last stop on our walking tour, comes with four face-maker stencils and a spiral design tool—for when you’ve drawn all the trees and houses you care to draw and you’re ready to pull out the big guns.
Over forty million of these doo-dads have been sold since their debut in 1980, and surely, the marketing claim that they’re “America’s favorite way to doodle” must be accurate. Doodling on the walls gets a kid in trouble nearly every time, and doodling on paper isn’t so easily erasable. You should take advantage, and let the Doodle-fest begin.