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Apps by Toca Boca

Today I’m reviewing all (except the newest Birthday Party app) Toca Boca apps. Some of these apps we’ve gotten free (on sales), some we’ve bought (money well spent!) and 2 were generously given by Toca Boca for this review.

Check out our short interview with Toca Boca CEO Björn Jeffery on the blog.

Helicopter Taxi

The first app we discovered by Toca Boca was Helicopter Taxi. The kids had just gotten their iPod Touch and the 4 year old had yet to make any favorites. Helicopter Taxi is what changed that.

It’s a sort of augmented reality toy where you fly a virtual helicopter around the room using the devices camera. My 4 year old can spend 30 minutes running around the room with this toy, going around and around the table just like he does with his matchbox planes and helicopters.

While you’re playing, you get calls on ‘the radio’ saying you’re needed to rescue someone, or that you need to go home. It then animates the background and shows the helicopter getting ready to land. The helicopter waits until you put the device down and when you have, it animates the landing and a little scene, this all lasts about 10 seconds but is a great way to keep kids engaged.

We drew a Helipad on a piece of paper so when the 4 year old wants to do some flying, he always has a safe place to land.

This app has music in the beginning but not during game play. It’s $1.99 and works on all devices

Toca Doctor

 This is a fun role playing game where the kids play Dr. They fix all sorts of ailments from thorns in the hand to a broken bone and a tummy ache. Each body part has a different kind of puzzle the kids have to solve.

As with all Toca Boca apps, it is open ended play based (Toca Boca likes to call their apps Digital Toys rather than Games) so there are no levels or rewards, no instructions, just kids playing the old fashioned way but with very modern toys.

This could be a great app for children who are afraid of the Dr or Dentist or who might have to spend time in the hopsital themselves or with family.

This app has music in it, the music can be turned off in your main settings app (the grey Cog icon where you change your device settings) however that effectively mutes the whole app. We’d love to see Toca Boca add an option just to turn background music off and still have the sound effects. It’s $0.99 for the universal version and $1.99 for the HD iPad version.

Paint My Wings

 Toca Boca’s take on a coloring or drawing app. As the title suggests, you paint butterfly wings. It’s simple but the kids just love it. You paint one side and the other side paints itself symmetrically.

Although I love symmetry, probably my favorite feature is the color picker. It’s a series of fruit, you touch it and it bursts, changing your brush color.

You have several different brush shapes and sizes as well as several wing options. Each different kind of wing is attached to a different character (the butterfly him or herself) who interact with the kids verbally by commenting on their drawing and humming as they draw.

There is no music in this app, only nature sounds and the characters humming. It’s a universal app and costs $0.99.

Toca Tea Party

This has to be my favorite Toca Boca app! It’s a virtual tea party that you can play with 3 people. You choose your table cloth and cups and plates and get 2 friends (human or otherwise) and get tea-partying.

You have candles you can turn off and on. Spill your drink and there are tissues to clean it up. There is a 2 station radio but you can switch that off if you don’t want musical accompaniment.

This app was on our ‘Ramadan Apps List’ and we also recommended it to I Inspire for playing with the kids they visit in hospital. I have attended many a Toca Tea Party hosted by my 4 and 6 year olds.

This app is iPad only and costs $2.99, it’s worth it.

Toca Store

I don’t know about yours but my kids LOVE to play ‘Store’. Before we had the iPad they had a shoe box as a cash register, then they had a cash register app (which they still use to trade real toys). Then Toca Store came out and it consolidates the whole game into an app (not always as fun, but much tidier and more portable).

Toca Store is a 2 player game. There is a store owner who chooses the items they want to sell in their store from catalogues and receives payment. Then there is the customer who chooses the items, pays for them, and puts them in their basket.

This is one of the less used Toca Boca apps in our house, but still an amazing and fun app to play with. It has background music which can be muted much like Toca Doctor, by muting the app (including sound affects) from the main settings app. It’s a universal app and costs $1.99.

Toca Robot Lab

Last but by far not least. The most well loved Toca Boca app to have graces our iDevices yet.

My 4 year old is autistic. He has never really drawn more than a crude smiley face. These days though, he draws robots. I don’t know if Toca Robot Lab had anything to do with that, but he plays it – a lot! – and now he draws Robots. So I like to think it did.

You choose parts for your robot, built it, then you fly him/her around a little room and try to collect the stars. That’s all really, but in our house it has clocked hours and hours between the 2 kids of play time.

There is background music in this app that doesn’t appear to have a way to be turned off. If you can get past that it is WELL worth the $0.99 and it’s universal.

In Short

I can’t say enough good things about Toca Boca. They create well researched and extremely creative digital toys. Their apps are guaranteed favorites and they haven’t missed a beat yet.

All apps rated: 5/5
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Islamic Relief USA
Emma Apple is a Kiwi, Muslim, Designer & Illustrator. Emma is a published author, aspiring children's illustrator and the founder of Muslimas' Oasis. Liker of Picture books, comic art, Star Trek, Batman and Doctor Who.

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