A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Toca Birthday Party is an open-ended app meant to inspire and facilitate creative play. Though kids could play alone, the idea is that kids invite real or imagined friends to be "guests" at a birthday party. Kids lead the way as they interact with their guests and carry out hosting duties. This app actually works best when parents play with their kids and supports multiple languages including English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish, among others.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
It's TOCA BIRTHDAY PARTY and you're hosting! Choose from three cakes, set out plates, then arrange your guests around the on-screen table. Serve and eat cake, pour and drink juice, pop confetti streamers, and open a present. When the cake is all eaten, put everything in a tub of soapy water to be washed -- and start again. A letter from the developer offers some hints for how to use TOCA BIRTHDAY PARTY as a launching pad for creative play.
Is it any good?
Like many Toca Boca apps, Toca Birthday Party gets high marks for being well made with appealing graphics and a no-rules approach. This is a fun app, even if it doesn't have that many interactive features. In fact, as with many Toca Boca apps, there's very little that this app actually does. So, while Toca Birthday Party as a way to facilitate pretend play with friends is cute, there's no good reason to need a screen for pretend play -- and several reasons why you shouldn't use one. For instance, interactions are limited to what someone else programmed the app to do. Kids are better off breaking out the toy cups, some toy food (or draw some on paper), a few of their best stuffed animal friends, and being in complete control of their own make-believe birthday party.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it means to host a party. What qualities or manners make a great host? What qualities or manners make a great guest?
Encourage non-digital pretend play. Toy props like wooden or plastic food, little plates, etc., help, but are certainly not necessary. Kids can even do amazing things with just a cardboard box, some paper, or a few sticks!
Enter your kid's world and let them try out different roles. Sometimes they're the parent and you're the kid, other times they're a kid, and you're a dog, or you're both astronauts having tea in outer space…let them lead the way!
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