Monday 15 February 2016

Mess-Free writing fun with Doodle Dome

Kids and a doodle dome

Finding ways to get kids involved in writing can be a bit tricky.  At this time of year when it's still dark early, the kids are even less likely to be focused and more likely to bounce around the house at the weekends.  David got sent a Glow Crazy Doodle Dome for his birthday. I'd never seen one of these before, but I've found it ideal as it's basically a pop-up dark tent that kids go into and write on the walls.

Like many kids with autism, my sons need help with their motor skills and this includes writing.  Despite being nearly eight years old, Anthony still struggles with his writing. David recently started tracing over letters on street signs and in books.  Jane is three years old so she's at the point of forming shapes and letters too. 

The difficulty is that fun writing activities are often very messy.  We already have apparently washable ink permanently set into several wallpapered areas of the home.  I nearly stained our kitchen floor with poster paint and then there is the whole sensory issue. Some days the boys are desperate to make a huge mess and others the mess appears to be almost painful.

David's Doodle Dome turns out to be a great way of drawing shapes in a mess free way. It seems to be a good thing for this time of year when it still gets dark early as this makes the drawing inside show up even better.  It's also great when it's cold outside and you need a fun indoor activity.   

Autistic kids playing in the doodle dome

So what's it like?  It's a small black pop-up tent that comfortably fit my seven and three year old inside. This is nice as it doubles-up as a sensory hide-away too.  One of the walls inside is the 'writing wall' and you use the special light pen provided to write on it. The pen takes two AAA batteries. To get it to work you press a button on the pen which is positioned to encourage you to hold the pen in the classic three finger grip. Hold it to the right wall and draw what you like.

Jane has been pretending to be the Gruffalo's Child and drawing the 'Big Bad Mouse' on the 'cave walls'.  It's adorable. 

It's a bit like writing with a sparkler outside when I was a child. After a short while the your drawings fade. If you are in a darker room they last a bit longer. You can also wave the pen over lines to 're-glow' them but we didn't try this.  

We also didn't get the chance to try the stencils although I think they looked a bit difficult for my kids to follow especially in the dark.  

Once finished, the tent gets folded up and along with the pen goes back into a black bag quite easily. The only difficulty we found is that there is not zip to the bag so you need to remember to either put the pen somewhere safe, or put it inside the Doodle Dome before you fold it up.

It seems hard to find easy indoor activities that helps them practice writing skills and this Doodle Dome did the trick!  Thank's to David's uncle and auntie for sending it - you can find out more about it here.

What things have you found recently that I might also try over half term? 


  1. Oh I love the look of this what a great idea. My boys had an aqua doodle that is a mat with pens that you fill with water and draw with. I liked getting that out when we didn't have time for too much mess but they wanted to be creative. I'm going to look out for this one now. TY for linking up with #FamilyFun 🌸

    1. We've got Aqua doodle too, I just get water and paint brushes out!

  2. What a fun idea, I'd like to have a go in that myself! My toddler loves his little tent we bought him for Christmas and I'm sure he'd be thrilled to have one he could scribble on. Very impressed with this :)

    1. It takes a little coordination with holding the pen but once you've got it that's it. My autistic sons don't have good motor skills but manage to swirl or write in it.

  3. This is so so so awesome! When I worked as a nursery nurse we had a dark den but it didn't do this! What a great resource to have.

    1. Sometimes it can be really hard to find things that autistic kids engage in so this really is a find for us. Thanks for stopping by xx

  4. Grammatical errors and misspelled vocabulary are a reader's nightmare. best essay


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