gotta get app: toca boca

by mari

toca boca digital game play company - best iPhone iPad apps for kids

I can’t stop raving about my new favorite digital game play studio: Toca Boca. These guys are bringing true innovation to the world of digital play for kids. Particularly with this genre-bending concept: digital toys versus digital games. We all have examples of games and educational apps for kids (abcs, colors, etc.) But Toca Boca wants to give you digital toys – changing your iphones and ipads from educational “desktops” to take-along toys full of imagination, pretend play, and more real-time interaction than anything I’ve seen. There are five apps to choose from (one is iPad only), and we’ve already got all of them.

My standout favorites are Toca Doctor, Toca Tea Party, and Helicopter Taxi. Toca Doctor has totally captured Birdie’s interest (for 10 – 2o minutes, can you bellieve that?). For a two and half year old, that alone is high praise (it’s also good for older kids too). It’s a quirky combo of playing doctor and very short puzzles to solve (put 3 bones of the ear back together, help the Lego through the intestines, etc!) It’s quirky and fun without being gross, but also offers lots of moments to talk a little bit about the insides of our bodies. I really think this app is good for Birdie, I can see her problem-solving skills growing. Plus, it has the best graphics of the bunch, designer-love.

The true digital toy is definitely Helicopter Taxi. Turn your iphone into a roving helicopter – using the iPhone’s video camera to create the backdrop as you go. The app reminds you to stop and pick up passengers – which you do by laying the iPhone on it’s back, then your off again to take that helicopter – er, iPhone – vrooooming around the house. Love this idea. It’s super simple, but literally turns your phone into a toy. You may have a hard time getting it back?

If you have an iPad, you’ve got to fiddle with Toca Tea Party! Set the iPad down on the floor or tabel (or sofa, etc!) choose your tabelcloth, plates, drinks, sweet treats, and gather your pals (you’ll have 3 place settings!). Then turn on the little old radio, and drink and eat with your tea party guests. You can clean up your spills, pour more drinks – lots of interactive fun. When all your food is gone, the app pops up a sudsy sink of water, and everyone drags their dishes away. Wish it was that easy at home!

Also, check out the hilarious Toca Hair Salon – I love making their hair go crazy with the hair dryer. But you can cut, color, grow, comb, shave to your hearts’ content – and watch the “clients” react in horror. Hilarious fun!

And Paint My Wings may be the most traditional, but it’s still a beautiful app. Paint in the butterfly’s wings – it automatically mirrors every stroke onto each wing. The little giggles from the butterflies are adorable too.

Read more about Toca Boca on their website – they’ve got great things to say. They’ve launched these five apps since March – I’m hoping there are many more to come! And er, if you’re ever looking for another designer … I’ve got the design chops, you know, just sayin’. Wink Wink. Nudge.

Big big thanks to Lil’ Magoolie for sharing this – so happy I’ve found Toca Boca!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Courtney June 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Wow, neat-o! these are the first apps I’ve seen that make me want to get an iPad. Very fun graphics!


2 mari September 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Yes! So many kids apps are kind of ugly to look at.


3 am0oni September 2, 2011 at 11:43 am

its so cool


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@smallforbig – thanks!


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