One of the perks of having a niece and nephew is that my electronics are neither 100 percent mine nor 100 percent safe. I know it’s amazing. Thankfully both my niece and nephew have outgrown their throwing phase, so my phone is just a tiny bit safer in their hands.
Honestly I don’t mind sharing my phone (sharing is caring!). The only problem is that I feel like kids are loosing their imagination power to apps and mindless tapping. There is little need to play pretend when a game that will render flashy images and reward them with golden coins is literally at their fingertips.
Then I found the Toca Boca apps, the hero in this modern day story where the bad guys (a.k.a. game apps) are out to rob children of their imaginative playtime. I can’t remember how I came across them or which one I bought first (Helicopter Taxi or Paint my Wings?), all I know is that I instantly loved what they had to offer. And the kids love them too!
As of today there are 24 different apps produced by Toca Boca. All of them have a quirky, colorful, clean design that is seemingly glitchless. There are no in-app purchases, no tedious tutorials and no ads.
But it wasn’t their pretty looks or flawless interface that made me such a big fan; it is the way kids interact with the app that got me. There are no levels or rewards, wins or loses. Kids are just supposed to play, have fun, explore the safe world within the app and even create. Every Toca Boca game is more of a digital toy than a video game. In fact that’s how they describe their apps on their about page: “Toca Boca is a play studio that makes digital toys for kids.” Their apps are all about playing not winning.
It is also nice that the games encourage interactivity with the people and things around them. Toca Store is meant to be played by two: a shop owner and a customer. Toca Birthday Party and Toca Tea Party are made for up to four players. Other games make use of device’s camera and incorporates photos into the games.
The games are unisex and free of stereotypes. Which makes them fun for boys and girls. And there are so much attention to detail in these apps, that even I am curious to see what they’ve come up with.
It is nice knowing that there is no stress or violence involved when my niece and nephew are using any of the Toca Boca apps we own. Plus, it is so sweet to get a moment of peace and see them huddled together sharing the game.
The only downfall is that I have the hardest time saying no to their cute faces asking for another Toca Boca app while promising this is the last game they will want, ever. The struggle is real.
If you haven’t tried any of their apps yet start with the free Toca Kitchen Monsters, Toca Tailor Fairy Tales or Toca Doctor Lite.
*All screenshots were taken by me