Reviewed by Alison & Grace
Toca Kitchen, a universal app from Toca Boca, features the opportunity for children feed four characters that range from a boy and a girl, to a cat and a cow. A variety of foods including: vegetables, meat, fish, fruit and even hay are available in the refrigerator to be chosen by the child. A vegetarian option is also available that removes meat from the refrigerator. The food is removed from the refrigerator, placed on plate in front of the character and then the preparation steps begin. These include using a food processor, cutting, boiling, frying or micro waving the food; the child can do one step or many. Characters react both based on the foods they are presented with, as well as the way it is prepared. If the character does not like the food, the player can simply go back to the refrigerator and choose another food and way of preparation. This app allows children to practice dramatic play, categorization of food and cooking and food vocabulary.
The food changes in color and form when it is prepared, which can be useful for teaching about the science of cooking. Children enjoy trying the different ways of preparing the food and seeing how the character likes it. This sparked several discussions as we tried to feed the hay to a little girl and she didn’t like it. As mom’s, we have been fed many play food items and this seems like a great extension of play in a virtual setting.
In the future, we would like to see the food move directly from the refrigerator to the preparation table, rather than having to take the intermediate step of placing it on the plate. In addition, activities like washing and peeling would provide fine motor activities for children to participate with during the app. We would also like to see the characters using their fork and other appropriate utensils. It would be great if there were a way to integrate the shopping at Toca Store into Toca Kitchen when choosing foods to prepare.
A video demo of the app is available here. We would encourage parents to read the parent’s section to learn more about the app.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
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