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Which water doodle drawing mat is best?

Coloring is a fun form of education where young kids learn colors, shapes, figures and spatial concepts. While coloring is a great educational activity that many kids enjoy, it can also become any parent’s worst nightmare very quickly. Depending on the medium, it can become messy and move to the walls. No one wants to spend hours scrubbing a wall full of crayon drawings. That’s where water drawing mats come in. 

With drawing mats, kids draw with “magic pens” on a plastic sheet. The magic part is that the drawings disappear when they dry, usually in a few minutes—no grueling clean-up required! While water doodling is a great activity for kids, it can be enjoyable for artists of all ages. If you want a large mat that can be hung on the wall with suction cups, take a look at the Obuby Water Magic 47” x 35” Doodle Draw Board.

What to know before you buy a water doodle drawing mat

Water doodling for artists

Water doodling is a method used by watercolor artists to loosen up, get creative and have fun making something new and unexpected. It is a way to loosen your art muscles and give a jump start to the creative side of your brain. Water doodlers start by adding random blobs of color to the page along with circles, lines and swooshes. The idea is to release your creative side and draw with complete freedom. 

Water doodling for kids

The idea behind water doodle drawing mats is to give kids a really large canvas to draw on. Drawing mats can be used on tables so kids can sit while doodling. Drawing mats also work well when mounted on a wall or on the floor so they can sprawl around. Water doodling is a great activity for kids to do alone, but it’s also fun for parents to do it with their kids.

Water pens

Of course, the magic pens aren’t really magic. You fill the magic pens with ordinary water and use them to draw on the soft, plastic mat. Within minutes, the images will disappear.

What to look for in a quality water doodle drawing mat

Water doodle drawing mats are great ways to cultivate a more intimate parent-child relationship by exploring and being creative together. Water drawing mats are also beneficial when kids draw with their friends and learn to share and cooperate.


When it comes to water doodling, the more the merrier. Creativity and spontaneity are marks of interactive play, as are sharing and cooperating. Most drawing mats are smaller than 3 feet by 4 feet.

Where you can use it

All water drawing mats are made for use on flat surfaces like tables, walls or the floor. What kind you get depends on if you (or your child) prefer to draw standing up or sitting down. 

What’s included

Drawing mats often include not only pens, but also shapes, outlines and templates. You can use these to give you ideas for drawing.

How much you can expect to spend on water doodle drawing mat

There is no clearly defined set of categories for water doodle drawing mats and they are all under $35. The main differences between drawing mats are their size, the number of water pens you get and how many extras like templates and shapes are included.

Water doodle drawing mat FAQ

What’s inside the pen?

A. Nothing is inside the pen but water — no ink, paint, toxins or pollutants. Manufacturers keep the “magic” aspect a secret.

How do I change the colors of the magic pens?

A. You don’t. Just like crayons and magic markers, it is one color to a pen.

What’s the best water doodle drawing mat to buy?

Top water doodle drawing mat 

Obuby Water Magic 47 x 35 Doodle Draw Board

Obuby Water Magic 47” x 35” Doodle Draw Board

What you need to know: This large waterproof plastic drawing mat can be hung on the wall with suction cups or used on the floor or at a table. 

What you’ll love: The colorful border of this magical aqua mat is decorated with whales, seahorses, crabs and turtles. The large central white space encourages shared play. This drawing mat comes with eight water markers, stamps and templates in a drawstring bag that puts everything away neatly. The pens are reverse-threaded so small kids can’t uncap them.

What you should consider: Replacement pens are in the manufacturer’s plans, but you can’t currently buy any.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top water doodle drawing mat for the money

Hollyhi Neon Water Drawing Mat

Hollyhi Neon Water Drawing Mat

What you need to know: This 60- by 40-inch drawing mat is big enough for four kids to use at one time.

What you’ll love: The colorful borders around the drawing surface include 26 alphabet blocks with pictures of animals to kick-start kids’ visual imagery. The drawing surface is made of soft polyester, and the back is made of water-resistant canvas. Along with the six magic pens, you get number and letter stencils, shapes, molds, a roller stamp and a drawing booklet.

What you should consider: Some buyers have said in reviews that it is too expensive for what you get in the package.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Aqua Magic Water Doodle Mat

Aqua Magic Water Doodle Mat

What you need to know: This smaller drawing mat is made of nontoxic, BPA-free polyester and is great for toddlers and preschoolers.

What you’ll love: This drawing mat comes with a drawing booklet and templates with numbers, letters and shapes. The water resistant nylon mat means you never have to worry about getting the floor wet. Included is a palm-sized sea world pattern jigsaw puzzle that improves color perception and hand-eye coordination. 

What you should consider: The border of this drawing mat takes up more of the drawing area than it does on most others.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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