Smix has grown up playing Toca Boca game apps. Their creative play games are not only fun, but your child will be learning as they interact with the various locations or act out the jobs Toca Boca brings to life on screen.
The majority of the apps have no instructions, so if your little one can't read yet, they can still enjoy Toca apps. Game play involves tapping items on the screen to see what reaction they have.
For example in Toca Town, and now also in Toca Life: City, combining food items can reveal a surprise. Drag an image of say a prawn onto an image of some rice and poof! it transforms into a sushi roll. Select a sausage and a bread roll and they'll turn into a hot dog. In the lab game you experiment with different combinations of elements, and lab equipment.
The original Toca Kitchen was one of their earliest app releases. In it your child can cook for their character using various foods, and food preparation methods. Toca apps are a modern day version of playing house. It's fun but your child will be picking up little life skills along the way.
Another of the latest releases is Toca Life: School. We are yet to try it, but will do soon. I think the maximum price of any of the apps in the Apple AppStore is £2.49. A lot of the games are available on Android and Google Play too.
The app we are looking at today, Toca Life: City is £2.49 which I was happy to pay because of our previous experiences with Toca Boca apps, you are guaranteed that it's worth buying. Smix gets a lot of play out of them, and City is a great example of why. Each location on the map has different stores to explore.
You click on any of the items shown and some of them will react, for example lights turn on or off, the ATM dispenses money, but there are more impressive results than just those. If you enter the hairdresser location on the map, you'll find a whole working salon. You can place a character under a machine which scrolls through various hair styles, then you can transform your person's look. Then drag your character to the sink section and shelves of hair dye in a rainbow of colours, select one and your person's hair will change.
As with most Toca Boca apps there is no wrong way to play the game. It inspires investigation and creativity. With the AppStore version you can now record little stories from inside the game, with your characters and locations. That's a whole new way to play, your child can play out situations or stories and play them back for the family to see.
The Kindle App Store version which Smix is playing hasn't got that option yet, but here is his video taking a quick tour of Toca Life: City and showing you some of the interactions, but not all of them as that would spoil the surprise of your child discovering them by themselves.
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Here are the other Toca apps. Some are free on the AppStore right now and also available are multi-app bundles which are cheaper than buying each game separately.
Hair Salon is great fun and you can use it with your own images.
Toca Tailor is a fun fashion app. Toca Band is a unique choral game with different layers to add and remove until you have the ideal song. Toca Train is a straightforward enough app, and the countryside you travel through is gorgeous.
Kitchen Monsters is a version of the other Kitchen app. The difference is the monsters love all sorts of gross foods which you can chop, microwave, boil or fry. Serve it up and your Monster will tell you if they like it or not.
We also have Toca House which is fun, but if you're only getting one Toca app to try, I'd go for one of the newer ones, like Toca Town, or indeed the Toca City.
We haven't played the Birthday Party app but it seems to be another 'playing house' type of gameplay with cakes to cut and decorations to choose. It's free to download on AppStore right now, which is even better.
Toca Hair Salon Christmas Gift is a free version of the Hair Salon app. You can cut, dye or grow Santa's hair.
Toca Store is a two player game. One person takes the role of the shop keeper, the other is the buyer. The shopkeeper first chooses which products they want to sell, then the customer picks what they want, then pays the correct number of coins at the till. It's a super way to teach nursery or even pre-nursery children to count to five, as they count out the coins in their purse to match the total the shopkeeper has requested.
Toca Doctor is another simple role playing game, and IPad Tea Party is a lot like Birthday Party I imagine.
Toca Boca also have an online store. I'm a fan of their cute periodic table. They also sell t-shirts, paper crafts and even socks.