Drawing on toys is usually a big no-no for kids, but that’s not the case with Doodle Bear. This classic ‘90s toy is back for a new generation of budding artists, with plenty of options to choose from (and an app, too). Designed for kids ages 3 and up, TOMY’s Original Doodle Bear line brings back the bear that kids can color, write, and draw on again and again.
The line includes a variety of plush animals in 14-inch, 6-inch, and smaller clip-on styles. The 14-inch option is most like the Doodle Bear of decades past, and it comes with three special, colored markers that kids can use to draw on any part of the bear. Then, once kids are ready to start over, an adult can wash the Doodle Bear plush in a washing machine to remove the design.
To make the Doodle Bear most effective, it is important to follow a few tips. To start, kids should only draw on the Doodle Bear with the included markers. Other markers, even washable ones, may not come out in the wash. (If kids are looking to expand their color options, there is also a marker expansion pack available that has six markers and some stencils.) Also, be sure to follow the washing instructions carefully so that the doodles will wash out completely and won’t get on anything else. Lastly, don’t let the doodles sit too long on the plush before washing them out. The longer they stay on the bear, the harder they are to remove completely.
One fun upgrade for this version is that the fabric features a pattern of line-drawn shapes, which kids can trace if they’re seeking design inspiration. The “Fashion” 14-inch bear also has a white space on her wrist (printed to look like a bracelet) where kids can write the bear’s name.
In addition to coloring and recoloring the bear, kids can now animate their Doodle Bear creations with the Original Doodle Bear app. In the app, kids select their Doodle Bear and take a photo of it within a bear-shaped outline. Then, kids can add stickers and other effects to the photo, make the bear dance, and save their design to the device’s camera roll.
The Doodle Bear certainly has plenty of screen-free play value without the app, but it is a way to add another layer of fun and remember each doodle masterpiece long after it has been washed away.