Review by Alison
Toca Boca has a winner on their hands! The company based in Sweden creates digital toys and games for kids which focus on imagination. Their newest app, Toca Store for either the iPad or the iPhone, creates a virtual shop where children can choose from a catalog of virtual products to stock and how much to sell them for. It can either be played alone or with two or more players. One can be the storekeeper and ring up sales, while the other is the customer. This is a great app because it facilitates turn-taking skills as well as simple counting. I also really liked the ability to purchase the items, and the magical coin purse coming up with more money as necessary for specific items. It also required individuals to finish their turns by first putting the item on the conveyor, ringing it up, paying for it, and then bagging it up before allowing someone to proceed on to the next step.
I really liked that the app incorporated the ability for two different people to play different roles. One can play the shopkeeper and choose the items to be sold as well as the prices they are sold at, while the other is the shopper. The app was very easy to use and one that encouraged cooperation, negotiating, turn taking and basic counting/math skills. The app could also be used with older children to explain the concept of budgeting as you are only allowed to purchase a finite amount before the game is completed. I could see using this app to explain the concept of allowances. I also really liked the “For the Parent” section which provided information about the background on the game as well as things that the players could use the game for. This section, which appears in all Toca Boca apps provides insight into the thought behind the app as well as creative ways the app can be used.
I would like to see the ability for the app to label prices on each basket. This would be helpful for younger children as my little boy wondered how much things cost before putting them in his shopping basket. In addition, I’d like to see the specific items together in the catalog of choices, such as fruit or grocery store items versus toys. I’d also like to see the reciept staying on the screen for a little bit longer to use as a teaching tool. It comes up and disappears rather quickly, so it makes it difficult to explain what the money purchased.
Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 4.2 or later.
Code drop Dec 18 2013