Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Toca Boca App Review

Lately I've been playing around with Toca Boca.

Toca Boca is a collection of apps that are not games, but digital toys that rely on creative play with no points earned and no moving up a score chart.  There is no speech, no text, yet it’s easily understandable and totally intuitive.  The apps feature bright colors, well designed visuals while it does not contain any adware or analytics.
The Guardian says: “Toca Boca divides children's activities into five categories: active play (sport), make-believe, manipulative play (building stuff), creative play (drawing) and learning play (books and games).”
Toca Boca now has several apps, which are aimed primarily at children ages 4 and up. Most cost $3, but some are free and are available on Android devices and for Kindle Fire.
Some of these apps are:
Toca House, in which players perform chores like sweeping, gardening while playing. Learning chores CAN be FUN!

Toca Hair Salon 2, in which children wash, cut and style the hair of salon patrons or their own digital hair.  Just think of the many times a child gave themselves a real haircut!  This will take the mystery out.

Toca Lab is another app, in which children are introduced to the elements of the periodic table.  In this game they are able to perform the scientific things we actually do in real labs to elements, such as freeze, boil, shake, etc.  These elements, however, have little personalities, make sounds and behave in most adorable and sometimes destructive ways.  Again, science; cause and effect.
Toca Band is a new app that is less appealing.  It is repetitive and the music staggers too quickly.  The melody is too brief, yet fun to arrange. But all the apps can't be perfect.
In their review, New York Times focused on the noncompetitive environment of the game that keeps no score.
All in all, Toca Boca has many varieties of play learning and is easier to play than Minecraft and no monsters jump out.
Let me know what you think!

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