Inside: Doodling is just plain fun! And doodling for kids helps build the brain, increase creativity, retain information, grasp new concepts, and more. Check out these 9 doodle activities for grandkids & kids.
Doodling for Kids & Grandkids
You’ve heard the term, “doodle,” and more than likely, you’ve doodled with your kids or grandkids. So, what exactly is doodling? One definition is drawing, painting, or coloring random marks on paper that can end up as beautiful designs.
But did you know that doodling builds the brain and is considered a form of play?
In the book, Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul, author Stuart Brown says this about the importance of play, “…play is intensely pleasurable. It energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities…play lies at the core of creativity and innovation.”
Kid’s doodling and kids playing produce similar results. Both help children:
- increase brain development
- retain information
- grasp new concepts
- stay focused
- increase creativity, etc.
Why? Because it’s spontaneous!
So, grab your kids or grandkids and get doodling. Then sit back and watch their creative juices soar! In another blog, I talk about the science behind doodling and why it’s so important. Click here to access.
Because doodling for kids is so worthwhile, I created 9 doodling activities for our grandkids. It was fun to watch their little minds at work knowing that anything they put on the paper or made in the kitchen was a fun spontaneous activity. There were no guided drawings or structured play—I just supplied the kids with paper, pens, paint, glue, kitchen recipes and they created the rest.
Most of the activities were art-based—and to increase creativity, I had classical music playing in the background.
Try one of these fun doodle activities. They will help you to understand that doodling is more than scratching marks on a piece of paper.
#1 Doodling for Kids: Tie-Dye T-Shirts
Tie-dye was the rage when I was growing up—and as the saying goes, “what goes around comes around,” and now it’s the rage again.
However, I didn’t want to go through the messy, time-consuming process of actual tie-dye. My grandkids are little—ages 2,3,6, and 7 and I wanted the experience to be more “freestyle,” and include doodling.
So, borrowing an idea from Ana at Babble Dabble Do, we created these easy tie-dye t-shirts.
Not only was this project easy, but the grandkids were also able to scribble and doodle to their hearts’ content on fabric. They used permanent markers and doused their doodles in alcohol (the rubbing kind).
- White t-shirts (Hobby Lobby)
- Permanent Sharpie markers
- Rubbing alcohol, 70%
- Embroidery hoops—10”
- Retayne (colorfast the fabric)
- Attach an embroidery hoop around a section of the front of the t-shirt
- Using permanent markers, make colorful doodle marks on the t-shirt—filling the whole section with bright colors.
- Put a cookie sheet under the t-shirt and with an eyedropper, squirt alcohol on the design. Saturate it with the alcohol and watch the colors bleed and blend
- Use retayne to set the colors
#2 Doodling for Kids: Process Doodle Art
Doodling can be done using different mediums–paint, paper, buttons, pom-poms, etc. This project allows grandkids/kids to doodle while randomly painting and collaging.
Purchase neon paints from Ikea and have your grandkids/kids squeeze the paint onto a canvas and blend with a paintbrush. When dry, provide different shapes of paper, foam, and bright buttons and let them create a random doodle collage.
Don’t give specific directions—just lots of encouragement to use different art items to doodle and create. Our grandkids went wild with the buttons!
- Paint (we used IKEA neon colors)
- Colored paper cut into random shapes
- Foam cut into shapes
- Colorful buttons (Walmart)
- Paint the canvas with neon paints. Let dry
- Using paper, foam, buttons & glue, create a fun doodle design
#3 Doodling with Glue, Salt & Watercolors
Doodling with other mediums increases creativity and thinking skills.
The grandkids took bottles of glue and squirt them randomly over a sheet of cardstock paper. They “drew’ lines, circles, and squiggly shapes with the glue.
Then they poured salt overall. After they dried, they dumped off the excess salt. Now they were ready to paint.
Using watercolors, the grandkids dipped their brushes in and just pressed the paintbrush on the salt; watching it spread across the glue and salt design.
Anything goes when you’re doodling!
- White cardstock paper
- Give each child a bottle of glue and have them make a doodle design on the cardstock paper using the glue as their “pencil”
- Sprinkle salt over the entire design.
- Let dry. Shake off the excess salt.
- Using liquid watercolors, dip the paintbrush into the watercolor and gently press the brush on the salt design. Watch the watercolor spread through the design. Repeat this process using other watercolors until you’ve colored the entire design. Do not brush the salt with the paintbrush—just dip and press onto the salt.
#4 Doodling for Kids in the Kitchen
Yes, even a kitchen experience can be a form of doodling because instead of taking paint and markers to create something, you are taking flour, sugar, and other ingredients to create something edible.
I divided the grandkids into two teams of two each—younger and older. I want to start teaching the older two (ages 6 and 7) how to read a recipe and do more challenging things in the kitchen.
The older grandkids made Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes from Baker by Nature. And the two younger grandkids (ages 1 & 3) made M&M brownies from a mix.
Dividing your grandkids/kids into smaller groups will give you more time to teach them about fractions, measuring, zesting a lemon, alternating mixing dry and wet ingredients, cracking eggs, separating yolks, and more.
Younger grandkids/kids can measure, mix, crack eggs and dump M&M’s into a simple brownie mix—lots of fun for little hands!
#5 Scratch Doodle Art
As a child, I loved making scratch drawings. These creations have been around for years and allow a child to doodle using random marks.
The supplies are simple and the results are interesting. It’s all about coloring, doodling, and scratching with a tool.
Use crayons or oil pastels and doodle with lots of bright colors, covering a piece of cardstock paper. When finished, color the entire doodle with a black crayon or black oil pastel.
Here comes the fun part—now “scratch” over the black color and reveal the beautiful colors underneath. We used nickels to scratch our paper—but you can also use skewers or a nail.
The grandkids didn’t create anything specific—their final creations looked more like pieces of modern art with lots of delightful doodly-do scribbles.
- Crayons or oil pastels
- White cardstock paper
- Scratching device—nail, coin, skewer
- Using many different colors of crayons or oil pastels, color over the entire paper
- Take a black crayon or pastel and color over your entire paper
- Next, take a scratching device and scratch the paper revealing the colors below
Result: a random doodle design.
#6 Doodling for Kids: Coloring Books
There are hundreds of coloring books on the market—many are considered “mandalas,” which means “circle” symbolizing the universe which has no beginning or end and comes from the Buddhist and Hindu tradition.
Since our grandkids are young, I didn’t think they would have the patience to color an intricate mandala, so I purchased Cute and Playful Patterns Coloring Book that included tessellation patterns and fun drawings for kids.
If you do this with your grandkids/kids, supply different kinds of markers—fine and medium tips, crayons, gel markers, and even dot markers to color their designs. Turn on some soothing classical music and let everyone doodle away.
Prior to this activity, do some simple breathing exercises. Check out the book, Breathe Like a Bear for fun breathing exercises for kids.
- Crayons, markers in fine and medium points, gel markers, and dot markers
- Coloring books (see ideas below)
#7 Books About Doodling
There are literally hundreds of books that include doodling, drawing, or sketching. Here are a few…
- My Magical Unicorn Journal & Sketchbook by Creative Minds Press
- The Never Bored Kid Book by Jo Ellen Moore
- Blank Comic Books: Draw Your Own Comics by Happy Toddlerz
- Cute and Playful Patterns Coloring Book by Young Dreamers Press
- The Girls Doodle Book by Andrew Pinder
- The Boys Doodle Book by Andrew Pinder
#8 Music for Doodling with Kids
When choosing music to doodle by—I’d suggest quiet, soothing music—the kind to invoke creativity and mindfulness. Here are some favorites:
- The Pachelbel Canon with Ocean Sounds
- Listen, Learn and Grow Lullabies
- Timeless: The Most Relaxing Classical Music Ever (Laura Sullivan, artist)
- The Most Relaxing Classical Music in the Universe (various composers)
#9 Doodle Games
Doodling is both random and spontaneous—and certain games can also be random. Here are some games we played to complement our doodle activities:
- Pillow Fight—give each grandkid/kid a soft pillow and let them throw pillows at each other. Adults–join in the fun!
- Fly kites—random fun activity—doodle a picture about it afterward
- Watch a movie while doodling on paper—name your doodles, “My Doodle Creations While Watching and Being Inspired by_________ Movie”
What are some of your favorite doodle activities? Please comment in the section below
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